Private Certification and the Response of Southern Governments
Atika Wijaya with Pieter Glasbergen, Purwo Santoso and Pieter Leroy
Paper 1: the responses of the Indonesian government to private certification schemes
Private certification is a new emerging phenomenon challenging governments to determine their response and involvement. Most research solely focuses on Northern governments. This research focuses on possible responses of Southern governments to private certification of agricultural products. Based on literature research, Atika assumes that governments play a strategic role in private certification, which may differ for different stages of certification (initiation, implementation and monitoring) and different agricultural products.
The central research question is: How does the Indonesian government respond to global private certification of different agricultural commodities and how can this be explained?
The case study of Indonesia is considered to be highly interesting as Indonesia developed its own public standards (SNI- also applicable to agricultural products). Besides, there are many kinds of private certification for different agricultural products and a public certification scheme for Palm Oil (ISPO). In her first fieldwork, Atika will interview stakeholders from different ministries to understand the different roles southern governments may play. She will focus on three main roles: leaving certification to the market (adopting no public responsibility with no involvement); accepting private certification and sustaining it (balancing public and private responsibilities with high governmental involvement) and blocking private certification and/or forming own standards (high public responsibility with no involvement in the private certification).
Wijaya, A. & P. Glasbergen (2016). Toward a new scenario in agricultural sustainability certification? The response of the Indonesian National Government to private certification. Journal of Environment and Development. doi: 10.1177/1070496516640857 For readers with access to SAGE publications, the article can be downloaded from: http://jed.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/04/06/1070496516640857.full.pdf+html
Paper 2: on multi-stakeholder projects
This paper investigates multi-stakeholder arrangements initiated by businesses and NGOs from the North that aim to enhance a more sustainable agricultural production at specific localities in Southern countries. Atika aims to better understand the search for concerted action in multi-actor arrangements. Therefore, this paper presents a diagnostic framework with three strategic challenges the partnership projects are facing: linking global economic objectives to local needs, values and interests; bridging public and private interests and responsibilities; and seeking trade-offs between social, environmental and economic values. Starting from the partnerships’ Theory of Change, this diagnostic framework is applied to comparative case studies of partnership projects in the cocoa sector in Indonesia, which are part of a Northern-based public–private partnership to improve farmers’ prospective.
It is concluded that the economic reality faced by the farmers differs from that of the Northern actors; collaboration with governments is difficult because of different organizational cultures; and the partnership projects underestimate the strength of vested social relations the smallholders are part of. Overall, the initiators of the partnerships seem to work with a too restricted economic interpretation of the local reality.
Wijaya, A., Glasbergen, P., Leroy, P., Darmastuti, A. (2016) Governance challenges of cocoa partnership projects in Indonesia: seeking synergy in multi-stakeholder arrangements for sustainable agriculture. Environment, Development and Sustainability. DOI 10.1007/s10668-016-9874-8
Paper 3: The Mediated Partnership Model for a more sustainable coffee production in Indonesia
Besides projects from the governments, there are also initiatives from local actors that seem less known among international development programs. In het third paper, Atika will analyze such a local initiative, Motramed (In English: Mediated Partnership Model), that is different from the former initiatives on coffee production, as it is not an external initiative. This local initiative introduces a development model with similar objectives as external initiatives. However, it develops without collective funding from donor organizations.
Motramed was initiated by the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI) in 2001. Its objective is to increase farmers’ income by improving the coffee quality and coffee marketing. This objective should be realized through a partnership arrangement between farmers, exporters, and other actors in the coffee production.
This paper aims to contribute to our knowledge on the intricacies of such a bottom-up development initiative to induce a more sustainable production at the local level. We are particularly interested in the factors that are conducive and constraining to change, and we expect this paper to be published in 2017.