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Involving the Public in Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) Measures

The effort in conserving and restoring peatland area needs a good plan of monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV). In the age of the internet, we should be able to leverage the use of many platforms that can help the informants to get involved. NoLimit ID, a company with the focus on online media monitoring and big data solution, uses an internet algorithm that crawls among digital channels to gather the trend of discussion. The collected data will then be categorized into positive, negative, or neutral sentiments through multilayer perceptron (MLP) learning. In cities, the conversation about peatland might be very sparse, yet the result still can be mapped and used for peatland campaign. Public involvement in MRV efforts can also be accommodated using the means of satellite images. Global Forest Watch provides composite maps of near-real-time satellite images where its website visitors could delineate a specific area they want to monitor. The visitors can request to be alerted if there is a finding within the area so that they can inform the authority to conduct a follow-up. This approach allows people from all levels of society, inside and outside peat regions, to access information relevant to peatland.

 

While the input from the insiders is very valuable for implementing the MRV measures, there are more obstacles to gather the information on this non-urban area. There might be less digital infrastructure and less human capacity to utilize technology. To assist the utilization of local resource, initiatives such as Simpul Jaringan Pantau Gambut and Global Forest Watch have worked together with local people living in peatland regions to utilize their smartphones for MRV measures. Any finding such as fire, flooding, drought, or canal problem can be reported in pictures and videos to the local team who will do the verification measure. After properly verified, serious findings can be forwarded to the local enforcement for follow-up actions. Sending the verified report to mass media platforms can be used to supervise the follow-up process since media has the ability to give pressure to the authority.

© Perhimpunan Pengembangan Media Nusantara

Convenient technology, such as the presence of phone and internet, plays an important role in empowering local people to do more of the independent MRV actions. In the limited presence of internet network, Bluetooth can be used to circulate information locally. Even media like Tempo accepts short message service (SMS) to be published as an article in Tempo SMS channel. There are also innovations to establish internet infrastructure in remote peat area, besides the conventional and commercial ways. Project Loon by Google is a high-altitude balloon that creates an aerial wireless network while Internet in a Box by Digital Empowerment Foundation is a box of devices for measuring line of site, modems, accessories and toolkit to enable the use of unlicensed spectrum. In existing internet network, a signal booster that cost Rp300-400 million can be used to amplify the coverage. With such almost constant internet connection at hand, the tech-savvy local youth has the potential to lead the MRV efforts. Some institutions have conducted citizen journalism training to these youth so that they can improve the quality of produced article and video to be circulated as their voice in mainstream media.

 

Source: Presentation of Aqsath Rasyid (NoLimit ID), Feri Irawan (Simpul Jaringan Pantau Gambut), and Harry Surjadi (Global Forest Watch) during Innovation and Collaboration Day Pantau Gambut #PeatlandisnotWasteland, 13 December 2018

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