Aceh Government and CSO Coalition Discussed New Spatial Plan

On Wednesday, 22nd May 2013, the Embassy facilitated a meeting between the Government of Aceh and CSO Coalition for forest protection and climate change to discuss over long debated new spatial plan that is claimed to potentially destroy 1.2 million ha of Aceh’s forests.

Norway, through its REDD+ initiative, has been perceived as a strategic actor of forestry issues in Indonesia. Therefore, the Embassy has received thousands of e-mails from people worrying about the future of Aceh's forest if the new spatial plan proposed by the Aceh government is implemented.

Please see previous article ‘Ambassador replies to petition for saving Aceh's forest’. The petition claims that if the new spatial plan is implemented, it will “reduce the total forest cover of Aceh from its existing coverage of about 68 per cent of Aceh's total land area, to just 45 per cent.” This represents a loss of more than 1,200,000 hectares of forests, and would include the destruction of areas inside of the Leuser Ecosystem, a National Strategic Area for its Environmental Protection Function that is protected by National Spatial Planning Law 26/2007 and Government Regulation 26/2008.”

The issue has been debated over local, national and international media but both CSOs and the Governor and his team have not had a chance to discuss technicalities of the proposed spatial plan. The Embassy in Jakarta facilitated a meeting between both parties on Wednesday, 22nd May 2013 at the Embassy office to exchange information and to share understanding over the new spatial plan. Aceh Government was represented by Governor Dr. Zaini Abdullah, Wali Nanggroe Aceh Mr. Malik Mahmud, and team from Bappeda (Regional Development Planning Agency) and Regional Forestry Agency. CSO Coalition was represented by Greenpeace Indonesia and Norway, WALHI, AMAN, ICEL and Forest Watch Indonesia. The meeting was also attended by representatives from the national REDD+ task force.

The Bappeda team of Aceh presented the proposed spatial plan and explained on which area and which land use categories it will affect. The CSO coalition, represented by Mr. Kiki Taufik from Greenpeace Indonesia, also presented their understanding about the spatial plan and which ‘protected areas’ assumed to be potentially affected by the Plan. After presenting each version, Mr. Nirarta Samadhi, Chair of the Moratorium working group of the national REDD+ task force, moderated both parties to further discuss technical issues about the spatial plan. The overall meeting went on smoothly with a positive atmosphere from both sides to seek solutions together.

“From the discussion, it is clear that there is still discrepancy in the calculations although not as big as 1.2 million hectares, but this first meeting has been a positive platform for both sides to open communications and transparency of the data and references used in the calculation. We hope that this can be continued with further meetings to work on technical side of the Plan”, explained Ambassador Traavik after the meeting.

Wali Nanggroe Aceh Mr. Malik Mahmud proposed that the next meeting can be conducted in Aceh.


Presentation by the Aceh Government (.pdf)