Implementation and proposed revisions and their implications for the rights of indigenous peoples to their space and natural resources

The Papua and West Papua Provincial Governments are conducting a revision of the Papua and West Papua Provincial Spatial Planning (RTRWP) to the Ministry of Forestry, for Changes in the Designation and Function of Forest Areas. It is known that the proposed revision of the Papua RTRWP has reached the ratification stage by the regional government and export agencies to the Ministry of Forestry. Whereas the status of the West Papua Province RTRW has been ratified in the Regional Regulation, but the status of the forest area is still pending zone or suspended zone, given to the forest area that cannot be resolved by localizing the forest area with the previous function. In areas that have important impacts and broad coverage and strategic value (DPCLS) still require approval by the Indonesian Parliament.

In the case of the West Papua Province RTRWP Revision policy, it is known to the Provincial Government. West Papua proposes a revision of the RTRWP with changes to the forest area covering 1,836,327 hectares, consisting of: changes in designation covering 952,683 hectares and changes in functions covering 874,914 hectares and changes in APL (Other Use Areas) to a forest area of ​​8,730 hectares. Whereas the Integrated Team (TIMDU) conducting research on the proposed revision recommended changes in designation to APL covering 263,045 ha, functional changes covering 334,071 ha and APL changes to a forest area of ​​813 ha. So that the forest area in West Papua Province covers an area of ​​10,257,693 ha to 9,995,461 ha.

It is very difficult and very little specific information data is obtained about the basics and studies of proposed changes in the function and designation of forest areas as well as recommendations for TIMDU Revision of the Papua and West Papua RTRWP. Some information data presented shows the likelihood of community participation and the lack of knowledge of the government and TIMDU about the existence of indigenous peoples and space in Papua, for example the proposal to change forest areas into APL in several villages in Manyambo District, Kab. Arfak Mountains, for expansion of road construction. Even though this proposal could threaten damage to the function of the forest, disrupt the habitat of smart bird endemics and limit the Arfak community which is very dependent on their life from the local forest.

Proposed changes to the West Papua RTRWP tend to accommodate oil palm plantation investment permits, expansion of logging and mining permits, which location permits have been issued by local governments, construction of transportation infrastructure and facilities, transmigration programs, population settlements and urban expansion, national development projects investment corridor (MP3EI), integrated industrial area development, container ports and so on.

It is common knowledge that the proposed policy for changing the function and allocation of forest areas through the RTRWP is full of various sectoral interests and tends to be accommodative of investment. The approach and process of community involvement is very limited, people who have knowledge of structuring and managing space are only objects of spatial planning. Similarly, the principles of sustainable and equitable development are ignored in space politics. The impact is a conflict of interest in the utilization and management of space between the community, the bureaucracy and the corporation, an ecological disaster that is detrimental and sacrifices human life.

Ideally in the context of the autonomous status of Papua, the spatial policies of Papua and West Papua from planning, utilization to supervision can involve local indigenous peoples. The participation of indigenous Papuans in spatial planning is a manifestation of community empowerment, protection and respect for the basic rights of indigenous people, human rights, the rule of law, democracy, pluralism, equality, rights and obligations, as contained in the weighing provisions of Law No. 21 of 2001 concerning Papua’s Special Autonomy.

In addition, based on the constitution and amendments to Law 41 concerning Forestry, after the 2012 MK-35 decree which granted changes that customary forests are no longer state forests, it can mean that the indigenous Papuans have the authority to determine and regulate the status, function and designation of forest areas in their territory each. Deviations and non-recognition of the rights and participation of indigenous Papuans in spatial planning means violations of the law and the existence of Papuans.

Community participation means that the community is given equal position and role together with the government in the authority and responsibility for spatial planning. The community is no longer an object but the subject of spatial planning, so that the community can be significantly involved (public participation) starting from planning, implementation and control. In the implementation of the planning concept the RTRW is no longer just prepared by The Regional Government but includes the community. Low or limited participation and access to public information in the process and production of spatial policies is one source of space conflict. So that the community must always be given the convenience to gain access and obtain information.

How to realize community participation and transparency in the process of revising the RTRWP’s policy on proposed changes in the functioning and allocation of ongoing forest areas? What are the opportunities and strengths of the community and its supporters in pushing for changes in the politics of spatial planning? What is the impact and how to reduce the risk of spatial planning that is not aspirational and not participatory? These questions are a part of the issue issues and become the lighters of discussion that need to be discussed together and deeply through dialogue with resource persons and workshops.

The dialogue on RTRWP is based on the following objectives: 1) Discussing the knowledge and experience regarding the revision policy of the West Papua Province RTRW, the background of the basics of its changes, the mission and vision in the future; 2) Discuss community participation in spatial policy and voice space management based on the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples; 3) Discuss and formulate spatial policy advocacy that recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples, is fair and in line with the principles of sustainable development.

From the opportunity for the dialogue, it was hoped that there would be a common understanding and also produce something from the dynamics of the discussion, including: 1) Increased understanding of the mission and vision, as well as a map of the interests of parties and sectors in the revision of the West Papua RTRWP; 2) There is an increase in knowledge and understanding and the willingness to develop and implement spatial policies that favor indigenous peoples, equitable and sustainable development; 3) There is an increased understanding and capacity together on the formulation of strategic steps and division of roles in spatial policy advocacy actions and empowerment of indigenous Papuans.

The Dialogue was attended by around 95 people from various stakeholders related to the issue of RTRWP and the rights of indigenous peoples to space. Participants who attended were among others: Provincial and District Governments, SKPD leaders, Integrated Teams, MRP and DPRD; Regional and private companies in Manokwari; Representatives of Indigenous Peoples from: West Papua (Manokwari, Masni, Ransiki, Menyambou, Anggi, Bintuni, Wondama, Kebar, Mubrani, Sorong, Sorong Selatan, Raja Ampat, Fakfak, Kaimana); Papua Province: (Yapen, Waropen, Mappi / Koroway, Merauke, Mamberamo); UNIPA and STIH-Manokwari Academics; Political Party Organizations; Civil Society Organizations: religious organizations, customary institutions, and NGOs; Press and students; Others: fund institutions.

Dialogue activities that last for 2 (two) days at Holly Day Park Hotel, Jl. Hero No. 88, Next to the District Court, Manokwari Regency, West Papua Province, namely: February 7 and 08, 2014, with an agenda: (a) The policy dialogue took place on the first day followed by all participants; (b) The workshop took place on the second day followed by participants from civil society organizations, students and the press. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that carry out these activities are the Paradisea (Manokwari) Foundation, PAPUA JASOIL TANAH (Manokwari), MNUKWAR Association (Manokwari), PUSAKA Foundation (Jakarta), Rainforest Norwey (RFN).

JASOIL Coordinator for Land of Papua – Pietsau Amafnini