Negotiating Livelihoods Access to Coastal Resources: Environmental Citizenship by NGOs in Indonesia

  • Henri Sitorus


This chapter argues that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been engaged in social capital revitalization, linking communities to environmental policymaking and policy advocacy for enhancing livelihood access by the poor to natural resources. In Indonesia, poverty is still pervasive in coastal areas. Livelihoods of artisanal fishermen and small farmers that directly rely on natural resources are threatened by environmental degradation, resulting in further exclusion of the poor from accessing natural resources for their livelihoods. Exclusions take place because of centralization of resources management, uncontrolled commodification of resources and criminalization of local livelihoods in the state-claimed resources.

In the context of continuing coastal resources depletion and deterioration of access by the poor to resources for livelihoods due to resources grabbing, NGOs defend the livelihoods of artisanal fishermen and smallholder farmers. With case studies from North Sumatera and Lampung in Indonesia, the chapter argues that NGOs build local community capabilities through enhancing and building local associations that strengthen social cohesion, collective action and political capital for livelihoods resources access. The key finding of the study is that linkages, networks and alliances of civil society actors help to enhance political capital which can be mobilized to achieve improved representation and articulation of the interests of local communities in the struggle for resources rights. Collective actions to demand spaces in the policy process to reclaim resources have become the pattern of environmental citizenship in Sumatra.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henri Sitorus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of North SumatraMedanIndonesia

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