Fixing legal loopholes in Indonesia’s forest and land use governance

January 27th, 2011

Published on East Asia Forum, Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU

As a country with one of the largest areas of rainforest in the world, it is not surprising that Indonesia is also considered a pioneer in the development of REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

In early 2007, the Ministry of Forestry (MoF) formed the Indonesia Forest Climate Alliance (IFCA) with the help of various government departments, donor agencies, research institutions and NGOs to initiate the development of REDD+ policies. Later that year, IFCA managed to outline key elements of REDD+, including methodologies, land-use policies, institutional arrangement and benefit distribution mechanisms.

Following the work of IFCA, the MoF has issued a number of ministerial decrees, which aim at governing REDD+ demonstration activities and providing an umbrella for benefit distribution mechanisms.

Last year in Oslo, on the same occasion as the signing of a letter of intent between the Indonesian and Norwegian governments, to signal his support for REDD+, the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced his commitment to halt all new concessions for conversion of peat and natural forests in two years, supposed to start in January 2011.

To realise this, the Indonesian government has to produce a clear strategy and legal framework which guides the moratorium of forest conversion and the overall REDD+. However, these existing and potential future regulations may not be sufficient to provide firm legal direction in developing and exercising REDD+.

A number of organisations argue that to have successful REDD+ the country has to reform its forest and land use governance, starting from the regulations that have shaped this governance system.

The latest institution to speak out about this issue is Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). When releasing its study on forestry late last year, the KPK emphasised that unclear definitions of forest areas in Law No. 41 of 1999 on Forestry and other relevant regulations (i.e., Government Regulation No. 44 of 2004, and MoF’s Decree No. 32 of 2001 and 50 of 2009) can be considered as one of the indirect causes of deforestation.

According to the KPK, this unclear definition and boundary of forest areas, coupled with the lack of applied fair procedure in designating forest areas, has weakened the legitimacy of 88.2 per cent of forest areas (more than 105.8 million hectares).

To make things worse, the KPK found that not all of these forest areas have been gazetted in law.

A study carried out by the MoF in 2009 concurs with this argument by stating that one of the indirect causes of deforestation is the difficulty of controlling the boundaries of production and protected forests, leaving them vulnerable to illegal logging.

This situation, according to the commission, has created a legal loophole for illegal loggers and illegal miners to continue their actions and avoid legal implications.

Another revelation by the KPK is that the division of authorities, roles and responsibilities among different layers of governments remains unclear and problematic, especially in determining forest areas in the spatial planning process.

In its study, the KPK found that an agreed synchronised map of forest areas which can be used by stakeholders does not as yet exist. Instead, there are at least four different versions which, utilising various scales, are not compatible with each other.

It is of course very challenging to resolve this given the variety of sectors that have interests in forest and land use — sectors which, furthermore, are regulated under different ministries and layers of government. These institutions are known to have issued overlapping policies on land use and land use changes, and influenced the issuance of different documents and maps of forest and land use.

For example, based on Law No. 41 of 1999, the authority to manage state forest is under the national-level MoF. The ministry has control over almost every activity in state forest and this law has repealed much of the authority decentralised under Law No. 22 of 1999 on Regional Governance.

This arrangement appears to be centralistic and contradict with the authority of local governments in their spatial planning under the decentralised system. As a result, there are often cases in which spatial planning which allocates forest areas at district level is contradictory with the planning at the higher ruling.

With de facto decentralisation processes, particularly in the forestry and land use sectors, occurring more quickly than de jure ones it is therefore imperative to deal with this issue seriously. The KPK has recommended the MoF to patch these legal loopholes, at the latest, by the end of this year. And, if REDD+ is to be actively and effectively carried out, it is urgent this advice is heeded.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is advisor to WWF Indonesia on climate and energy, a PhD candidate at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University and a recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

Original link: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/01/27/fixing-legal-loopholes-in-indonesia%E2%80%99s-forest-and-land-use-governance/

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Mencermati Nasib Hutan Indonesia Pada 2011

Dipublikasikan di ANTARA, Karkhas, 09 Jan 2011 21:55:19

Oleh Fitrian Ardiansyah*

Dalam pergantian tahun banyak yang berharap bahwa Indonesia akan menjadi lebih baik dari sebelumnya, termasuk tentunya keberadaan hutan yang menjadi lebih lestari dan terjaga.

Hutan di Indonesia merupakan salah satu yang terluas di dunia. Selama bertahun-tahun hutan kerap berfungsi sebagai salah satu mesin pertumbuhan ekonomi nasional dan daerah, serta bertindak sebagai penyokong kehidupan masyarakat setempat dan adat.

Pada tahun 90-an, Indonesia dikenal sebagai pengekspor utama produk kayu lapis di dunia. Selain itu, negara ini juga mengekspor produk sektor kehutanan lainnya secara signifikan.

Tahun 1985, devisa yang dihasilkan dari ekspor produk sektor kehutanan mencapai 1,2 miliar dollar AS. Nilai ekspor ini kemudian naik pada 2003 menjadi sekitar 6,6 miliar dollar AS, atau sekitar 13,7 persen dari total ekspor non-migas Indonesia.

Meski pada 2009 dan 2010 penerimaan dari sektor industri kehutanan nasional turun, nilai ekspornya masih cukup besar yaitu mencapai 6,7 miliar dolar AS.

Hanya saja, keuntungan ekonomi yang diraup dalam bentuk nilai ekspor ini sering kali tidak tercermin ke dalam bentuk peningkatan kesejahteraan masyarakat yang hidup di sekitar hutan dan dampak lingkungan yang terjadi karena kerusakan dan kehilangan hutan.

Secara nasional, berdasarkan data Kementerian Negara Pembangunan Daerah Tertinggal (PDT), jumlah penduduk yang tinggal di desa hutan itu mencapai 33,5 juta jiwa dan diperkirakan hampir setengahnya masuk dalam kategori keluarga miskin.

Kehilangan dan kerusakan hutan yang berkontribusi terhadap bencana lingkungan, semisal banjir, kebakaran hutan dan lahan, kekeringan serta tanah longsor, mempunyai laju yang mengkhawatirkan.

Dari data Kementerian Kehutanan (Kemenhut) sendiri dan analisis akademis, tercatat bahwa laju kehilangan hutan di tahun 90-an merupakan yang tertinggi yaitu sekitar 1,87 juta hektare per tahunnya.

Data terbaru dari Kemenhut menunjukkan bahwa walaupun berkurang, laju kehilangan hutan masih mencapai 0,8 juta hektare per tahunnya, dari tahun 2006 ke 2008. Sedangkan hutan yang rusak terhitung seluas 59,7 juta hektare sampai tahun 2002.

Lalu, apakah harapan akan perbaikan pengelolaan hutan untuk lebih lestari hanya akan menjadi harapan kosong? Seharusnya tidak.

Presiden Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pada 2010 berkomitmen menyelamatkan hutan alam yang masih tersisa di bawah naungan inisiatif REDD (pengurangan emisi gas rumah kaca dari pencegahan kehilangan dan kerusakan hutan).

Komitmen ini di sampaikan dalam bentuk janji presiden untuk menghentikan izin baru bagi aktivitas yang akan membuka hutan alam dan gambut sejak Januari tahun ini, seiring penandatangangan perjanjian bilateral antara Indonesia dan Norwegia untuk mendukung inisiatif REDD.

Januari 2011 sudah tiba dan kita memasuki Tahun Hutan Internasional yang dicetuskan PBB.

Satu tahun juga hampir terlampaui sejak penandatangan perjanjian bilateral REDD dan disampaikannya janji presiden tersebut.

Tahun ini, karenanya, adalah saat yang tepat untuk melihat apakah janji tersebut diwujudkan ke dalam produk hukum yang jelas dan tegas, mekanisme keuangan yang adil, dan program pembangunan yang menjamin terselamatkannya hutan alam dan gambut yang masih tersisa di bumi Nusantara.

Produk hukum yang jelas dan tegas ini sangat dibutuhkan, karena menurut hasil penelitian Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) yang dipublikasikan awal Desember tahun lalu, salah satu hal yang penting yang mendorong terjadinya korupsi dan kejahatan kehutanan adalah adanya ketidakjelasan dalam aspek hukum kehutanan.

KPK menemukan ketidakpastian definisi kawasan hutan dalam UU no. 41 tahun 2009, PP no. 44 tahun 2004, SK Menhut no. 32 tahun 2001, dan Permenhut no. 50 tahun 2009.

Situasi seperti ini memungkinkan terjadinya perlakuan memihak yang dapat dimanfaatkan untuk meloloskan pelaku pembalakan liar (illegal logging) dan penambangan ilegal dari jeratan hukum.

Selain itu, ketidakpastian ini juga menimbulkan tumpang tindih kewenangan dalam menentukan kawasan hutan antara pusat dan daerah terkait Rencana Tata Ruang Wilayah.

Temuan KPK lainnya menunjukkan lemahnya legalitas dan legitimasi penunjukan 88,2 persen kawasan hutan (lebih dari 105,8 juta ha) yang sampai saat ini pun sebenarnya belum seluruhnya selesai ditetapkan.

Keadaan semacam ini mengakibatkan pengelolaan ruang dan hutan di Indonesia rentan korupsi dan konflik yang pada gilirannya berujung kepada ketidakpastian hak dan ruang investasi serta tidak jelasnya pengelolaan kawasan hutan di lapangan.

Padahal agar tercapai pemanfaatan ruang yang optimal sekaligus menjaga hutan dan ekosistem penting yang masih tersisa, kepastian hukum menjadi syarat mutlak.

Karena tanpa kepastian hukum dengan didukung penegakannya yang sungguh-sungguh, investasi yang serius untuk membenahi pengelolaan hutan secara lestari dan pengelolaan ruang yang merangkum pihak swasta sekaligus masyarakat setempat dan adat sulit terwujud.

Kepastian hukum ini tentunya harus pula didukung oleh mekanisme keuangan yang adil dan program ekonomi yang secara kreatif meningkatkan nilai tambah bagi produk hutan.

Program ekonomi yang bukan saja berorientasi kepada devisa dari hasil ekspor produk kayu, tetapi juga kepada produk non-kayu dan jasa lingkungan sehingga menaikkan kesejahteraan ekonomi masyarakat setempat dan adat, sekaligus menjaga kelestarian hutan serta menekan bencana lingkungan.

Banyak yang menanti apakah janji yang diucapkan untuk penyelamatan hutan Indonesia terwujud mulai tahun ini?

*Fitrian adalah Penerima Australian Leadership Award dan Allison Sudradjat Award, Penasihat Program Perubahan Iklim dan Energi, WWF-Indonesia, dan Kandidat Doktor di Australian National University

Original link: http://www.antarajatim.com/lihat/berita/52788/mencermati-nasib-hutan-indonesia-pada-2011

Clearing up the region’s hazy future

Fitrian Ardiansyah, Climate Solutions Column, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 10/26/2010 10:58 AM | Environment

Forest and land fires break out again. Last week, Singaporean and Malaysian governments contacted the Indonesian government to “register their concerns” over the recurring haze problem.

According to news in the region, a number of schools in Malaysia were advised to temporarily close because the haze reached a “hazardous” level and the air pollution index in Singapore also reached unhealthy levels with cases of respiratory problems including asthma increasing significantly.

Fires and the associated haze have not only affected Singapore and Malaysia. Dumai airport in Riau province, in the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, was closed last Wednesday due to limited visibility.

The residents of Pekanbaru, the capital city of Riau, as reported by this paper, have complained about a thick haze blanketing the city as it has caused a number of health problems, ranging from eye irritations to respiratory infections.

Some Indonesian officials suggested traditional farmers practicing slash-and-burn agriculture were the major culprits of this year’s forest and land fires.

However, as detected by the Modis Terra Aqua satellite, 172 hotspots which were found in Riau during the period between Oct. 18-21 occurred mainly on pulpwood concessions and oil palm oil plantations. Only a small number of hotspots were found in forest and other land.

Forest and land fires occur in many countries around the world such as in the US (in California), Australia, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Greece and countries in Southeast Asia.

When discussing Southeast Asian fires, especially in Sumatra and Borneo, nevertheless, most studies and peer-reviewed journal articles agree that these fires were human induced.

These studies conclude that a combination of plantation and timber companies, unresolved land tenure disputes as well as land clearing by a massive number of individuals are believed to be the main causes of the fires.

Fires and the associated smog are not a new issue in Southeast Asia. Serious fires and haze seasons have recurred, mainly on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, in 1982-1983, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1997-1998, 2005 and 2006-2007.

At the peak of massive forest and land fires, the amount of hotspots could reach 25,000 to 35,000 in a month. The highest occurred in August 1997 when 37,938 were counted.

This year’s hotspots may be nowhere near the amount of those in 1997-1998, 2005 or 2006-2007, but the manner in which the Indonesian government tackles this problem would indicate its willingness, power, assertiveness and capacity in dealing with bigger challenges of deforestation and peat land conversion.

“Extinguishing” fires in Indonesia is not a simple matter. Conventional suppression approaches — extinguishing fires after they occur — have been proven inadequate.

There is a pressing need for more comprehensive solutions and to address a wider range of concerns that cut to the heart of political-economy and administrative reforms in the country.

The first critical approach is prevention measures that can minimize the risks of destructive fires, which include a moratorium — i.e. the government stops granting licenses for land clearing on forest and peat lands — and a zero burning policy.

Since deforestation and peat lands clearing and drainage — for logging or to establish plantations and other land uses — very often give way to fires during the dry months, the moratorium is perceived to be an urgent solution to tackle deforestation and fires.

Following the agreement between Norway and Indonesia on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus (REDD+), the Indonesian government appears to be seriously preparing a moratorium on clearing forest and peat lands for two years starting next January.

However, with this year’s fires, the government is required to speed up this process so that the country can have clear regulations, an incentives mechanism, operational guidelines and technical guidance to implement, monitor and enforce the moratorium.

This clarity is needed because policy on a moratorium ought to be translated by different ministries — especially those influential in land use — at the national level and different layers of governments at the provincial or district level.

Some people may take advantage of unclear translation of policies and division of authorities on a moratorium among ministries and different layers of governments. If this is the case, deforestation, peat lands conversion and drainage, and forest and land fires are likely to continue to occur.

This pressure would be alleviated if investors and the private sector could work with the Indonesian authorities and other stakeholders to ensure sustainable practices such as by increasing productivity on existing plantations and developing non-forested land and non-peat land for timber and oil palm plantation expansion.

Timber concessions and oil palm plantations (owned not only by Indonesians but also Malaysians and Singaporeans) can further promote, adopt and implement zero-burning practices and help smallholders to follow suit.

Financial institutions, for instance, could develop robust investment screening policies to discourage high-risk investment patterns leading to deforestation or forest and land fires.

The consumer market can also help by favoring goods which are produced through guaranteed sustainable operations.

Jakarta will host the eighth Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) next month. The RSPO has incorporated the above important interventions in its principles and criteria (P&C) on sustainable palm oil.

RSPO and its members have, therefore, a momentous opportunity to demonstrate: that their P&C, when effectively implemented, can indeed help alleviate the problems of deforestation and fires on the ground.

Finally, the Indonesian government needs to lead swift actions on forest and land fires. However, Indonesia cannot and should not be expected to solve this problem alone.

Collaborative efforts between key countries, partners and players is the key to putting an end to the region’s widespread and recurring haze problems, and keeping its sky clear in the future.


The writer is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University, recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award and advisor to WWF-Indonesia on climate and energy. He can be reached at fitrian.ardiansyah@anu.edu.au.

Original link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/10/26/climate-solutions-clearing-region%E2%80%99s-hazy-future.html

 

Untangling the web of REDD governance

Fitrian Ardiansyah, Climate Solutions Column, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 08/03/2010 8:08 AM | Environment

Following the signing of an agreement between Norway and Indonesia implementing the UN’s reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus (REDD+) program, the Indonesian government is seriously considering an idea to establish a REDD council.

This council is expected to report directly to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to coordinate REDD+ implementation efforts in the country.

In addition, the council would regulate REDD+ projects and decide which projects would be endorsed prior to registration at the United Nations (UN).

The government thinks that unapproved REDD projects would be prevented by the creation of
this council.

Unsurprisingly, the idea to establish a REDD council has sparked different responses. Some have supported it and others have responded skeptically.

Those supporting the idea state that the council is crucial for the country to reduce emissions from deforestation comprehensively — across sectors — and lift the burden of this gigantic task from the Forestry Ministry.

According to Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, the REDD council may reduce his ministry’s authority on forests, but could also help the ministry focus on its main (and huge) task of managing Indonesia’s dwindling forests.

Proponents of a REDD council believe it would smooth the process of developing policies, institutions and a legal framework for the implementation of REDD+.

On the other hand, others argue that REDD council may not be the appropriate institution to ensure coordination across sectors and among different layers of governments and actors when it comes to dealing with deforestation and land use changes.

Deforestation and the destruction of terrestrial ecosystems are often associated with the development of major sectors such as forestry, agriculture, mining and infrastructure.

These sectors are regulated under different ministries (i.e., forestry, agriculture, energy and mineral resources and public works). These ministries are known to have often overlapping policies on land use and land use changes.

It is therefore essential that any institution developed to oversee the formulation and implementation
of REDD+ has to actively and directly involve and coordinate these sectors and the ministries overseeing the sectors.

A REDD council needs to get these sectors involved and to gain support when it comes to issuing and implementing policies on REDD+.

Good policies on REDD+ are required to cover and clarify forest tenure and management, overlapping land use and agricultural policies and coordination of district, provincial and national level agencies and actors.

Some experts suggest that the country needs to learn a lesson from the current National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) as well as other relevant institutions and policies created by the President and his ministries.

The creation of DNPI in 2008 by Yudhoyono is an attempt to guide Indonesia’s efforts in integrating climate change into its development agenda.

To be able to do this, support from different sectors, governments and actors at national, provincial and district levels is crucial. However, securing this support remains a continuous challenge for DNPI.

DNPI itself has a working group on forestry issues that has been dealing with REDD Plus. It is yet to be seen as to how this unit will be positioned vis-a-vis a new REDD council.

The country also has the Coordinating Board of Spatial Planning (BKPRN) — led by the Coordinating Economic Ministry and supported by at least 13 ministries and agencies — that has the task to prepare, coordinate and monitor national spatial and land use planning.

In the context of these policies, the government has released a number of official documents that  emphasize the challenges of key climate change actions in sectors such as forestry, land use and agriculture.

These include the Finance Ministry’s Green Paper, the Environment Ministry’s Indonesia Second National Communication and the National Development Planning Ministry’s Indonesia Climate Change Sectoral Roadmap.

Without careful and thorough assessment, the establishment of a REDD council and its future policies would further tangle already a complicated web of forest and land use management.

Studies show that decentralization in this country, particularly in the forestry and land use sectors, has been incredibly rapid, with decentralization occurring effectively more quickly than legally.

Local governments, groups and individuals appear to have more power and authority. This has contributed to the gradual decline of the central government’s ability to both manage and protect forest and land use resources.

Having learnt from this and to demonstrate a good process in integrating sub-national and national levels of effective land use policies, recent initiatives to promote sustainable development have been
formulated.

These include “The Road Map for Saving Sumatra Island and Ecosystem”, “the Heart of Borneo” and “Papua Government Initiative”.

If formally established, it is important for REDD council to accommodate local voices and concerns and adjust its system to ensure effective implementation of REDD+.

The proposed REDD council is perceived as the litmus test to Indonesia’s ability to curb deforestation.

All will only end well if the government can come up with a design that can overcome the challenges mentioned above.

The writer is a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award and advisor to the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia on climate and energy issues. He can be reached at fitrian.ardiansyah@anu.edu.au

Original link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/08/03/untangling-web-redd-governance.html