Policy research and engagement

Government policies and regulations make up a key part of the broader enabling environment for effective natural resource stewardship. At the program level, environmental initiatives must comply with, and nest appropriately within a broad and sometimes confusing array of policies and regulatory requirements. At a broader level, governmental planning, laws, and regulations must be carefully constructed to engender effective and sustainable management of national resources.

Starling Resources has developed a level of expertise uncommon in the field regarding the regulatory environment in which environmental initiatives must operate, and we frequently lead the development of regulations that set forth environmental management policies and related institutions and processes. This work accommodates a wide variety of approaches, including government, NGO, and private sector-led environmental management initiatives.

At the same time, Starling Resources develops robust policy analyses, helping to understand and interpret the legal environment and how it enables or hinders effective natural resource management. Where appropriate we develop evidence-based recommendations for policy changes that can improve natural resource conservation and management. This work spans our fisheries and conservation work and our land use and terrestrial engagements, ranging from the institutional arrangements required for effective fisheries management to the adequacy of land use licensing schemes for ecosystem restoration.

Selected Projects

Blue Swimming Crab Sustainable Fishery Initiative

Project summary

Blue swimming crab is the nation’s third most valuable export fishery and supports livelihoods for thousands of Indonesians. However, data and anecdotal evidence point to declining stocks and value. Fisheries management is critical to ensuring fishery sustainability. However, while Indonesia has embraced best practices in fisheries management, in practice there few examples exist of well managed fisheries in Indonesia.

The BSC-SFI is an initiative to implement participatory, science-based management at an appropriate scale with explicit consideration to the cross-sectoral nature of fisheries systems. The initiative brings together relevant stakeholders from across sectors to collaboratively develop and implement fisheries management plans. The methods and approaches tested through this initiative will be a model for other fisheries and point the way toward improving fisheries management in Indonesia. The fisheries management plan developed through this effort will also support national BSC fishery management planning (RPP) and Indonesia’s commitment to the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM).

Our services

In 2015, Starling Resources with support from other partners, designed and hosted a national workshop for BSC stakeholders to identify challenges and opportunities regarding BSC sustainability in Indonesia. Participants identified opportunities to improve BSC sustainability and prioritized the development of a pilot project to test best practice approaches to BSC management. Starling Resources has since worked under the leadership of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, local governments, and the Indonesian BSC Processors Association (APRI), and in close partnership with EDF and many other organizations, to design and implement the BSC-SFI.   Phases and milestones completed to date include:

  • Systematic and collaborative pilot site selection
  • Socialization and characterization of the pilot site (Lampung)
  • Launching of the Lampung multi-stakeholder management planning team
  • Completion of the fishery management planning process including collaborative decision-making, broad consultations, and capacity development to accommodate each step in the planning process
  • Launching of the Lampung BSC management “action plan” including a science-based adaptive management cycle
  • Launching of the Lampung BSC management implementation committee

Project term

2016 – 2020

Clients and Partners

The David and Lucille Packard Foundation (Client)

The Walton Family Foundation (Client)

The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (Partner)

Asosiasi Pengelolaan Rajungan Indonesia (APRI) (Partner)

Environmental Defense Fund – Yayasan Bina Usaha Lingkungan (Partner)

Project summary

The Bird’s Head Seascape (BHS) in West Papua is one of the most bio diverse marine environments in the world and provides critical support for more than 700,000 people. However, these vital resources are under threat from poorly planned development, destructive and intensive fishing, climate change and other factors. Since 2005, a collaboration between local governments, Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and others has successfully established more than 3.5 million ha of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across Raja Ampat, Kaimana, Tambrauw and Cenderawasih Bay.

After providing financial and operational analysis and advisory to the early planning and development stages of the BHS initiative, Starling Resources in 2012 began to develop and implement a comprehensive sustainability strategy for the MPAs to correspond with the eventual drawdown in donor funding and NGO presence. 

Our services

Working closely with local governments, NGO partners, and local CSOs, Starling Resources designed and implemented a comprehensive sustainability strategy for the BHS protected areas focusing on developing the following:

Sustainable financing

  • Maximizing government budget allocations by supporting medium-term development planning (RPJMD), annual strategic planning (Renstra), and annual budgeting processes (RBA)
  • Increasing independent revenue streams by redeveloping an ecosystem services tourism fee that now generates over $700,000 annually; and the deployment of the first public service agency (BLU) for conservation in Indonesia
  • Designing a multi-million-dollar conservation trust fund to fill financing gaps, including financial projections, fund structure and design, and other details

Capable MPA management

  • Developing regulatory and political support for the MPA management body
  • Strengthening the MPA management body through the development of organizational structure and staffing, management plans, and operational procedures and systems
  • Providing individual capacity development and mentoring including the delivery of numerous management-related curricula and the seconding of a full-time mentor

Constituencies of support

  • Working with our partner, SeventyThree, to identify and position local beneficiaries as strong advocates for the MPAs

Project term


2011 – present

Clients and Partners

Walton Family Foundation (Client)

David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Client)

Trust for Conservation Innovation (Partner)

Conservation International (Partner/Client)

The Nature Conservancy (Partner)

World Wide Fund for Nature (Partner)

73 (Partner)

Project documents and reports