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Sungai Utik is a Dayak Iban Group in Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Dayak Iban Sungai Utik continue to practice their customary systems, including the Rumah Betang (traditional longhouse) culture, which accommodates more than 300 people. Their cultural practices of cooperation, reciprocity with nature, and sustainable use and management of resources make them an exemplary model and icon among other indigenous peoples. Many indigenous leaders and others visit the community to learn how the Dayak Iban Sungai Utik maintain and preserve their culture, traditional knowledge and protect their customary forest while maintaining strong community unity and cohesion.
From their 214-meter longhouse, the Dayak Iban Sungai Utik have protected their 9,504-hectare customary forest against corporate interests and illegal loggers. For decades, the Dayak Iban Sungai Utik have demonstrated their collective commitment and unity to defend their ancestral territories while practicing local management traditions. The Dayak Iban Sungai Utik have a customary spatial system of resource conservation and management guided by strict customary rules. These have been proven effective in maintaining the sustainability of the ecosystems in their territory, including forests, wetlands, and the Sungai Otik river.
In 2008, the Dayak Iban Sungai Utik obtained a Certificate of Sustainable Forest Management from the Lembaga Ecolabel Indonesia—a credible and independent certification body. In 2019, they received the Kalpataru award (as an environmental conservation group) from the Vice President and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia. Globally, and in that same year, the Dayak Iban Sungai was one of the selected communities that received the UN Development Program’s Equator Prize. The Equator Prize is a recognition of outstanding community initiatives that are advancing nature-based solutions for climate change and local sustainable development.