Democratizing Decentralization: Local Initiatives from Indonesia

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"This essay chronicles three examples of advocacy work currently being undertaken by local NGOs and communities in different parts of Indonesia since the fall of the authoritarian regime, from the viewpoint of the implementing organizations themselves. Taking advantage of what can be called the 'framework of opportunities' created as the result of changes in the national political system, NGOs and communities are now able to work directly to influence policy outcomes. This is largely due to the policy of decentralization and regional autonomy initiated during the brief presidency of Ir. B.J. Habibie, and the incipient democratization agenda that has been gaining momentum since the collapse of General Suhartos authoritarian New Order regime during the first quarter of 1998. "After a brief introduction, the paper addresses the following topics: (i) the origins and essence of Indonesias decentralization/regional autonomy policy; (ii) tensions (and opportunities) that have arisen as a result of the implementation of this policy; (iii) initiatives undertaken by the Implementing Agency of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (BP-KPA) together with a few of its local partner organizations to develop a training curriculum and program for local par-liaments (DPRD) in three Kabupaten (districts); (iv) the post-training dynamic and transfor-mative processes in these three districts; and (v) a review of experiences and lessons learned from these NGOs interventions in local communities efforts to influence policy within the context of decentralization/regional autonomy."



IASC, common pool resources, NGOs, democratization, decentralization, governance and politics, political change, advocacy