Capacity-building for multi-level governance of ASM in Indonesia



Focus Area

Environment and Climate Change





sustainable development goals


$179,670 CAD


Global Affairs Canada

Who Benefits


Indonesian governments (district, provincial, national)

Indonesian people

Delivery Partners

University of Edinburgh

Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta (YTS)

University of Palangkaraya

Central Kalimantan Provincial Government

Association for Community Miners Indonesia (APRI)

Blacksmith Institute

The Challenge

The official estimates indicate that 500,000 people are directly involved in artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) in Indonesia, with 3 million people dependent on income generated by ASM activities. While ASM can be a source of poverty alleviation, the sector is frequently associated with significant environmental impacts including mercury pollution and deforestation. ASM activities in Indonesia operate mostly outside of a formal regulated framework. Following a three-year initial phase of the UN-REDD program in 2012, the Government of Indonesia passed several decrees to curb deforestation, including from ASM activities. In 2013, the Government of Indonesia signed the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a treaty that calls for new measures to formalize and regulate ASM. The government has also indicated the need to increase its understanding of the sector in order to develop appropriate policies and legislation to implement the treaties.

CIRDI's Approach

Led by Dr. Sam Spiegel from the University of Edinburgh, in partnership with a local NGO Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta (YTS), this project provided technical assistance to the Indonesian government at the district, provincial and national levels to improve the design and implementation of environmental policies for the ASM sector. The program advanced several objectives and capacity-building activities to promote sustainability, gender equity in development, and strengthened capacities for multi-level governance in rural Indonesia. In particular, the project supported government planning, training, and policy development as well as community initiatives using participatory methods to strengthen approaches toward land use and resource management in artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) areas.

Project Components

The three principal components of the project included:

  1. Strengthening provincial and district government capacities to identify, better understand and pursue key opportunities for addressing land use and resource management, in particular, ASGM regions in Central Kalimantan – a province experiencing some of the most severe deforestation in Borneo. In three districts – Gunung Mas District, Katingan District, and Murung Raya District – the project’s participatory methodologies enabled community members to lead knowledge production processes through storytelling that explored interrelating challenges, gender issues, and policy.
  1. Facilitating collaborative strategy building and policy development with federal and municipal-level decision-makers for addressing local ASM challenges via Minamata implementation and REDD+ compliance.
  1. Technical capacity building for miners and regulators.

Cross-cutting themes


  • The project ensured that women were well represented in all methods of engagement.


  • Investigation of environmental risks and land use dimensions included analysis of maps and their limits in showing ASGM activity, deforestation, and forest degradation.


  • Stakeholder consultations illuminated governance experiences and challenges associated with ASGM. Data sharing with local and national government informed policy improvements and improved capacity to regulate ASGM.

Project Activities

  1. The team has reviewed the implementation of environmental policies affecting artisanal and small-scale miners in two districts in Central Kalimantan: Gunung Maas, Murung Raya. The researchers consulted with government officials at the national, provincial, and district levels, as well as with small-scale miner associations, specifically assessing chemicals management and forest protection measures.
  2. Four women received training in low-impact gold processing techniques over a four-month period, resulting in a change in behavior that will increase the participants’ gold recovery and decrease their exposure to dangerous chemicals.
  3. A photo exhibition in Katingan Province brought together 50 people and included community members and local/regional government representatives. The event facilitated dialogue between different stakeholders, resulting in increased communication between the village and sub-district government, which was previously nonexistent. An additional photovoice exhibition was held in Murung Raya District in October 2018.
  4. A community-led analysis and planning (CLAP) workshop was convened in Twang Pajangan. This workshop led to the creation of a community action plan for 2019 that was co-developed by participants that included village government, community leaders, local women’s groups, and community members/miners. The CLAP workshop was an exercise in stakeholder-led inclusive governance of natural resources and will increase the benefits of mining for the local community. The workshop was informed by project research and increased knowledge among participants on the impacts of ASGM. The Plan integrates activities to mitigate damage to and restore the community’s natural resources.
  5. The final project activity was a provincial forum on ASM policy that was held in Central Kalimantan in January 2019. 42 representatives from communities, government, NGOs, and the private sector participated in this forum and mapped out future strategies for contributing to positive changes to support access to services, livelihood assistance, and support.


Project Impact

The dissemination of the project findings informed national authorities and the international community of policy and legislative challenges related to ASM in Indonesia. Through increased knowledge, local and national officials were equipped to work together towards a sustainable development plan that alleviates poverty. The project also benefited miners by increasing their capacity to engage with the government and facilitating access to project data to inform the discussion.

project team


updates and news

Leveraging Visual Storytelling for Women’s Empowerment in Indonesian ASM Communities

February 5, 2019 – Yayasan Tambuhak Sinta (YTS), in collaboration with Dr. Samuel Spiegel of the University of Edinburgh and supported by the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI), recently held a […]

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Community-Led Analysis and Planning in an Artisanal Mining Village in Indonesia

  By Dr. Sam Spiegel, University of Edinburgh. In this blog, Sam writes about his research for the CIRDI project Capacity-Building for Multi-Level Governance of ASM in Indonesia. Sam is […]

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