Tag Archive | Aceh Spatial Plan

Aceh Lawmakers Reject Clarification of Interior Ministry

BANDA ACEH – Aceh Provincial Lawmakers and Government agreed to reject the evaluation result of the Interior Ministry on the Aceh’s Law (Qanun) on Spatial Plan 2014-2034.

Deputy Chairman of the Aceh Parliament, Muhammad Tanwir Mahdi, explained that the rejection was not related to the content of the law, but because delay of the evaluation by the Ministry.

He stated that the law has been submitted to the Interior Minister on December 30, 2013. But the evaluation result was only received on February 20, 2014, although it was scheduled for January 15, 2014.

“It was over the evaluation period and now is in the clarification period,” said Tanwir to Serambi on Sunday (8/3).

Since the result arrived late, the team member consisting of Aceh Lawmakers and Government considered the Central Government for indiscipline. “The Central Government must be on time and discipline. If the evaluation period is 15 days, then once the law is received, they need to evaluate immediately”, he added.

Within the evaluation letter of the Law on Spatial Plan of Aceh, 8 general points in general and 27 detail points of evaluation was included. “We have received all those evaluation result from the Interior Minister, we will not change the content of the law and we just returned it back to the Minister for clarification,” said Tanwir.

If the reply on clarification elapses the 15 days period, the Aceh Provincial Law on Spatial Plan 2014-2034 passed at the end of 2013 will be included in the Provincial Gazette.  “Once it is in the Provincial Gazettem the law is valid to be applied,” concluded Tanwir.

Global calls to save Aceh forest

Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post

More than a million people worldwide have joined online calls for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to block the Aceh administration’s plan to open protected forests for commercial exploitation.

Rudi Putra, an Acehnese activist who won the 2013 Future for Nature Award, initiated an online petition on Avaaz.org on May 7, demanding the President step in to the plan. As of Saturday evening, the number of people who signed the petition, which is directed at the President, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Aceh Governor Zaini Abdullah, had reached 1.2 million.

The petition was begun after a group of local environmental activists from Aceh signed an online petition on Change.org Indonesia against the draft spatial planning bylaw proposed by the Aceh administration, which put the province’s 1.2 million protected forests, home to numerous endangered species, at risk. More than 35,000 people have signed the petition.

“I live and work in the last place on Earth where endangered orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers still roam together, but it’ll be bulldozed to bits unless our President hears our call and steps in to save this unique habitat,” Rudi said on Avaaz.org, a global web movement that was launched in 2007.

Despite months of continuous protests, the Forestry Ministry is still on the way to approve the bylaw to convert protected forests into non-forest zones.

Data from the Coalition of Aceh Rainforest Movements said that the new spatial planning rules would allow the conversion of around 1.2 million hectares of Aceh’s existing 3.78 million hectares of protected forests into non-forest areas, production forests as well as roads.

However, the Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has denied the accusation saying he has only allowed a conversion of 80,000 hectares of forests, from the initial proposal of 150,000 hectares, solely to improve the province’s infrastructure and boost its economy. He also said that the local administration had more authority to protect its forest than the central government, due to regional autonomy.

Deddy Ratih of Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said the petition that had grabbed the attention of global communities showed the ministry should take the public’s concern and aspirations into account before deciding to go ahead.

“The ministry should clearly explain the purpose of the forest conversion and involve the public in the decision,” Deddy said.

“We are not only talking about the conversion, but also the potential damage should they go on with the plan to construct a road network throughout Aceh’s protected forests.”

Deddy regretted that the ministry still did not hear the public’s concern, even after the President decided to extend the forest moratorium, which prohibits issuance of new exploitation permits for primary forests and peatlands in conservation forests, protected forests and production forests.

“Especially with the fact that the president extended the forest moratorium, the ministry should have had more awareness to protect the forest,” he said.

Change.org Indonesia co-founder Usman Hamid said that millions of support for Rudi’s petition shows the international community’s solidarity for the local online movement to demand that Governor Zaini drop the controversial bylaw.

“The government should be open-minded and listen to public aspiration against the plan to convert Aceh’s protected forest for business purposes that will damage the earth and put Sumatran endangered species at risk,” Usman said.

Ian Bassin, campaign director at Avaaz, said that President Yudhoyono had to make a choice: leaving an important legacy to protect Indonesia’s natural resources or tainting his green track record by allowing the Aceh government to go on with its plan.

Sciencists urged to stand up for Aceh’s biodiversity

The Jakarta Post | Hotli Simanjuntak and Ruslan Sangaji,

Banda Aceh/Palu | Archipelago | Wed, March 20 2013, 10:47 AM

Paper Edition | Page: 5

Institutions affiliated with the Aceh Spatial Planning Alliance have urged scientists and conservationists to push the Aceh provincial administration to amend the spatial planning bylaw (RTRW), which they say is potentially damaging and could reduce the region’s forests, threatening its biodiversity.

Aceh is regarded as having the largest biodiversity in Asia Pacific, especially with the Leuser Ecosystem, which is currently a giant laboratory for scientists from across the globe.

The region is also where many wildlife species can be found, such as the rhinoceros, Sumatran tiger, orangutan and elephant.

According to Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) director TM Zulfikar, the Aceh RTRW is loaded with the interests of particular individuals and sacrifices the environment and sustainability of local communities living in the conservation area.

“We reject the proposed Aceh RTRW. Many people wish to take advantage of natural resources in Aceh, such as the forest in Aceh Tamiang, which will be turned into other areas in the planned RTRW,” said Zulfikar.

In the planned Aceh RTRW, the government plans to convert around 1.2 million hectares of forests into a limited forest production zone by converting it into plantation and mining areas and other purposes.

In the draft, drawn up in 2009, Aceh’s forested areas reached 3.57 million hectares, or around 63 percent of the total land area of Aceh. Should the proposed RTRW be accepted by the central government, Aceh could lose up to 2.5 million hectares of its forested areas.

Ian Singleton, from the Sumatra Orangutan Conservation Program, said the change in forest area allocation proposed in the draft RTRW had the potential to shrink major water resources, such as rivers, that irrigated rice fields in Pidie regency, as well as bringing the threat of flash floods and landslides.

Meanwhile, biodiversity experts from 25 Asia Pacific nations are gathering in Banda Aceh, Aceh, to attend a conference on tropical biodiversity protection sponsored by the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC). The meeting is aimed at promoting research as well as raising people’s awareness about the importance of tropical biodiversity and conservation.

The conference is being facilitated by the Aceh provincial administration through Syiah Kuala University, Fauna and Flora International (FFI) and the Strategic Resources Institute, under the theme, “Linking Biodiversity Science to Policy and Conservation Action”.

The conference is taking place from March 18 to 22 and will be followed with a trip to Ulu Masen forest, one of the forests in Aceh that has the biggest biodiversity in the province.

Aceh was chosen to hold the meeting because of its biodiversity reputation.

“There’s no other place in the world like Aceh, where species live in the same area. That’s why we chose Aceh to hold this meeting,” said ATBC secretary Antony J. Lynam.

“One of the biggest problems faced by tropical diversity is the defragmentation and loss of forests. There’s so many cases where deforestation has contributed to the depletion of species like the rhino, tiger and orangutan,” said Lynam.

Separately, Central Sulawesi is also facing deforestation and environmental degradation. The province lost 600,000 hectares of a total of 4.3 million hectares of forest areas in 2012.

Central Sulawesi Forestry Office head Nahardi said critical forests were found in 10 regencies, such as Donggala (147,504 hectares), Poso (118,893 hectares) and Parigi Moutong (99,997 hectares).

Nahardi added that 220,288.33 hectares of the total forested area in Central Sulawesi had experienced deforestation and degradation.

He said the office had initiated several strategies, such as a rehabilitation and conservation program, to reduce the area of critical forests across the province.