While meeting with various experts in Jakarta on subjects ranging from forests and peatlands, to forest fires, marine fisheries, climate change, and oil palm plantations, we kept hearing one recurring problem: land tenure woes were at the center of forestry degradation and conflict between communities, government, and private sector developers.
Conflict ensues when multiple interests have competing claims on a piece of land. For instance, in 2013, a major dispute over land in Lampung, Sumatra led to the deaths of nine people, and escalated tensions between farmers and a commercial plantation developer. The dispute began when the Ministry of Forestry gave a concession to the PT Silva company to plant trees for commercial purposes on previously protected forest land. The concession was then expanded twice, and eventually covered land that was claimed by a community living in the area, migrants from Bali and Java, and people who were evicted from other parts of Lampung. The issue garnered even more attention when politicians interested in votes picked sides, raising tensions. The commercial developer brought in police officers who evicted over 800 families in 2011 (IPAC, 2013). To complicate the issue, there are competing authorities in the administration of land between the national and district governments, with the several different actors including politicians, non-governmental organizations, farmer groups, and governance institutions (courts and the police) that few trust. As the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC) reports, this is a microcosm of land tenure problems in Indonesia today.
The government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (President of Indonesia, 2004-2014) initiated the One Map Policy to tackle this intractable problem in 2011, after two ministries, the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and the Ministry of Forestry produced two differing maps of forests (Oxford Business Group, 2017). The government recognized that there were competing claims of ownership among the numerous stakeholders, competing concessionary powers between the central and local governments, and a lack of clarity about who, among the National Land Agency, Ministry of Forestry, and Ministry of Agriculture, had administrative authority over the land (IPAC, 2013). As stated, the government expects One Map to help “…resolve overlapping land-use conflicts, and improve the reliability of information related to the location of economic activities, which will speed the land use licensing process” (Bellfield et al. 2016). This goal of one true map was launched to bring all stakeholders to the table to find agreement on the problems at hand and form a consultative framework to map out the land.
The process has not been without challenges. For instance, the Indonesian Community Mapping Network (JKPP), which produces customary maps, has had some of their maps rejected by the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG). The BIG claims that the maps do not meet required standards. BIG’s main complaint is that JKPP uses the more widely available, but less accurate, global positioning system (GPS) devices, as opposed to standard, more accurate, more expensive devices. Further, the maps provided by JKPP were not verified by the relevant coordinating agency, a step that is required before they can be incorporated into the base map (Shahab, 2017).
Ministries have also faced budget cuts, which has complicated One Map advancement. For instance, the coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs had its budget reduced and had to reschedule mapping training and clinics until a later time. This has slowed progress.
Despite these challenges, success stories abound. President Joko Widodo reaffirmed the commitment to the One Map Policy initiative by signing a presidential regulation accelerating its implementation as part of the eighth economic stimulus package (Bellfield, 2016). Since its establishment, the initiative has provided an engagement platform for ministries that previously did not coordinate on matters of forestry and land. Because various agencies needed to collaborate to establish the baseline map, there has been increased information-sharing, cooperation, and trust. As Kamarzuki, who coordinates the One Map initiative in the Ministry of Economic Affairs points out, “…there is currently a high degree of cooperation among the agencies” (Shahab, 2017).
Furthermore, participatory mapping has helped to improve the understanding of indigenous communities about their rights over their environment and natural resources. For instance, JKPP, in partnership with Oxfam, runs a community mapping project in Sekadau district of West Kalimantan to empower the Dayak people to claim access to and control over their natural resources. Further, the district government has accepted these maps, which have been used to resolve land conflict problems and fix village boundaries (Oxfam, 2017). WRI Indonesia country director, Tjokorda Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi, says that the process has greatly improved the consultative nature of land and forest governance. This not only provides grounds for engaging to resolve inevitable land conflict issues, but also includes the voice of the people in the development agenda of the government.
By 2016, BIG had completed 79 thematic maps for Kalimantan, the region with the most variety in land use. Further, a report to the president indicated that BIG had completed 26 of the 85 thematic maps from across the country (Halim, 2017). With a target of 2019 to complete all 85 thematic maps, it will be interesting to see how Indonesia performs in the next two years, largely because the integration of thematic maps onto one reference map is already behind schedule (Shahab, 2017). There has been significant progress, however, especially in getting ministries to work together and in incorporating local communities in the mapping exercises. There is great commitment to the One Map initiative from the highest levels of the Jokowi administration. It remains to be seen whether this commitment will lead to the completion of the exercise by the target date, and what this might mean for the attendant economic development plans.
By Munene Ndereba
Bellfield et al. 2016. Lessons from REDD+ for Achieving Water, Energy and Food Security in Indonesia. CDKN.
Halim H. Jakarta Post. 14 Jun 2017. One Map Faces Obstacles. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/06/14/one-map-policy-faces-obstacles.html
[IPAC] 2013. Mesuji: Anatomy of an Indonesian Land Conflict. Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict.
Oxford Business Group. Indonesia introduces one map policy as a solution to overlapping land claims. 2017. https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/indonesia-introduces-one-map-policy-solution-overlapping-land-claims
Oxfam. Feb 2017. Towards a More Equal Indonesia.
Shahab, N. 2017. Indonesia: One Map Policy. Open Government Partnership. https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/case-study_Indonesia_One-Map-Policy.pdf
Tessier, et al. 2016. Indigenous Peoples’ Initiatives for Land Rights Recognition in Asia. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation.