When the founders of the World Resources Institute (WRI) created the organization in 1982, they were responding to an urgent demand. Environmental concerns that emerged forcefully in the 1960s and 1970s—deforestation, desertification, and climate change—were not being sufficiently addressed. These complex, global issues posed unprecedented policy and political challenges. WRI’s founders saw a clear need for an organization that could address the interdependent interests of humans and nature.
To address these issues, WRI’s founders avoided the prevailing activist model in favor of a science and evidence-based organization. The institute would carry out rigorous policy research and analysis on global environmental and resource issues and their relationship to human societies and development. That research and analysis had to be both scientifically sound and practical to create real change on the ground. It had to command the respect of the scientific community and the attention of key decision-makers in both the public and private sectors. Equally importantly, the institute would lead the way in trying to build the constituencies required to act on its analyses and recommendations.
In Indonesia, WRI’s activities commenced through in-country partners—largely on forestry issues—since the 1990s, and is well known to Indonesia’s stakeholders as a reputable global organization that produces high-quality research materials based on facts and data. WRI had been active in Indonesia for over 10 years, running programs such as Governance of Forest Initiative, Forest and Landscape in Indonesia (formerly known as POTICO), Global Forest Watch, as well as other projects across the country with key partners. Several publications on Indonesia have also been published since late 1990s to date, including on combatting illegal logging, tree cover change, the state of Indonesia’s forest, forest fires, legal land use classifications, and identification of degraded land for sustainable palm oil.
Since 2011 in particular, WRI has been working with partners and in-country staff to assist the government in implementing the National GHG Reduction Plan in relations to land-based sector, particularly to help Indonesia develop its oil palm industry in a more sustainable way. This work also expands the stakeholder’s base of WRI to include major private sector players in the region as well as multistakeholder forums on sustainable commodity production such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, Consumer Goods Forum, and Tropical Forests Alliance.
The decision to establish WRI Indonesia was taken in 2013, as a solid way to enable more robust and formal presence. WRI Indonesia was established in late 2014 as a legal entity (“yayasan”) to ensure the continuation of work that WRI has been doing for the last decade in Indonesia and to deepen the partnership with key stakeholders—including key government agencies, major companies, and leading research institutions. The establishment of WRI Indonesia is instrumental to help Indonesia and the region move to a more sustainable and equitable economic pathway.
Today, WRI has remained true to its founding mission, approach, and goals. The Institute has a rich history of transforming ideas into action, with clear impact to people and the planet. It continually evolves to sustain the excellence of its research, and to ensure that its analysis and recommendations create meaningful change on the ground. It aims to continue building on decades of experience to achieve a sustainable world with ample natural resources for future generations.