Covering 52 million hectares of forest lands, forest licenses in Indonesia can play a role to regulate high forestry and land sector emissions and be a key element in strengthening forest governance for REDD+. The existing online licensing system at the central level has been a first step, yet concerns about its effectiveness and transparency have led to the need for an in-depth evaluation. The study was conducted at the request and under the guidance of the Ministry of Forestry as a recommendation from Indonesia’s first Participatory Governance Assessment/Forest Governance Index, with the goal to identify and mitigate inefficiencies and corrupt practices in the process to apply and obtain forest licenses. The evaluation is based on quantitative and qualitative information gathered from 116 service users and 44 service providers.
It examines 11 governance indicators and reveals that areas for needed improvement include 1) timeliness of the service 2) unofficial fees that service users have to pay 3) access to online information; 4) independence of service providers from their supervisors and 5) favorable treatments for better-connected large scale companies.
Conversely, service users are more satisfied about the overall convenience of the facilities and the availability of a complaints mechanism, with reservations however on diligence in follow-up on complaints.
Practical recommendations to improve these issues are then proposed.