Govt Urged to Halt Spatial Planning Bylaw Revision

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Thu, April 18 2013, 8:55 PM

Representatives of youth organizations concerned with the environment and spatial planning are calling upon the Aceh governor and the Aceh Legislative Council (DPRD) to withdraw a draft revision of the province’s spatial planning bylaw.

They suspect there is an intention to change the Aceh Spatial Planning Bylaw so that forest conversions for industrial purposes in the province seem legal.

Gracia Paramitha, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Tunza Global Youth Advisor, said that 1.2 million hectares of protected forests in Aceh had been converted into industrial plantations, adding that this figure was already too high.

“Protected forests should not be converted for any commercial purposes, either for oil palm plantations or the timber industry, let alone mining areas,” Gracia said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Sigit Kusumawijaya, an architect who is also the co-initiator of an urban farming community, Indonesia Berkebun (Indonesian Gardens), said: “If the revision of the Aceh Spatial Planning Bylaw is agreed, people will suffer through events such as flooding, landslides, land conflicts and a decrease in biodiversity, as well as human-animal conflicts”.

Gracia and Sigit are inviting Indonesians to sign a petition at, which has so far attracted 17,804 netizens.

On Tuesday, Ed Rochette, the CEO of the East Asia Minerals Corporation in Toronto, announced “good progress and positive news” for mineral extractive activities in Aceh.

Citing Anwar, the Aceh administration’s spatial planning committee head, Rochette said that the Forestry Ministry had agreed to “almost 100 percent” of the draft revision, which would offer around 1 million hectares of protected forests for mining; 416,086 hectares for logging; and 256,250 hectares for oil palm plantations. (ebf)


Published by The Jakarta Post on Thursday, April 18, 2013