Jakarta, IO – Delima Silalahi, an environmental activist from Sumatra, was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize 2023 — dubbed the “Green Nobel” — in San Francisco, USA, at end of March.
This prestigious award was given to Delima and the Community Initiative Development and Study Group (KSPPM) for their efforts in fighting for the preservation of customary forests, reported VoA Indonesia, Monday (8/5).
“For us, land is part of our identity. This struggle aims to maintain our identity as Batak people,” Delima said when presented the award.
The 46-year-old woman, who hails from North Tapanuli, is the only activist from Indonesia to win the Goldman award (in the category of island and archipelagic countries) this year. Delima started her activism while she was in college. She was emboldened by Constitutional Court (MK) decision in 2013 which stipulated that customary forests are not state forests.
The ruling gave KSPPM impetus to protect and reclaim indigenous peoples’ rights to their land which was confiscated on a large scale to build the pulp and paper industry. Delima has been educating the community about the decision and advocating for their rights.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is an award given to environmental activists who work at the grassroots level. The award which was initiated in 1989 and has been awarded 219 winners, including 98 women in 95 countries. (un)