Civil society gives recommendations for the New Spatial Plan in Aceh

Further to the first meeting on Aceh spatial plan, 22 May 2013, the Embassy facilitated a second meeting between Aceh Government and the CSO coalition in Aceh on 29th August in Banda Aceh. During the meeting, the CSO coalition gave eight recommendations to the spatial plan development process.

The meeting was attended by about 50 participants including Governor Zaini Abdullah, Wali Naggroe Mr. Malik Mahmud, Ambassador Stig Traavik, the Regional Development Planning Institution of Aceh (Bappeda Aceh), Aceh Parliament’s Spatial Plan Task Force and its expert staff, representatives from relevant governmental agencies, and representatives from CSOs in Aceh, including community leaders and gender-related CSO.

Remarks from the Governor, Wali Naggroe, and Ambassador Traavik highlighted the uniqueness of Aceh’s ecosystem, hence a proper spatial plan is needed to ensure that economic development in the region will improve people’s livelihood with very minimum destruction to the environment, especially forests and peatland.

Ambassador Traavik specifically commended the Governor and Wali Nanggroe for calling the meeting. He underlined the special importance of Aceh’s ecosystem and forests, for which a balance between preservation and development must be found. “A good dialogue and openness between government and civil society is key in striking this balance”, he said.

During his presentation, the Head of Bappeda Aceh, Prof. Abubakar Karim, who also moderated the discussion, highlighted several important issues:

  1. The spatial plan structure divides the Province into 6 zones:  center, north, east, west, south, and southeast zones with Banda Aceh, Sabang, and Lhok Seumawe as centers for primary activities.
  2. Improvement of accessibility and transportation facilities is important for inter-zones connectivity. The new road constructions are only for non-protected areas. In the protected areas, constructions are aimed at improving the existing but un-maintained paths. Besides roads, the plan will also improve seaport and railway systems.
  3. The 79,850 hectares of forest areas approved to be converted into Land for Other Uses (Area Penggunaan Lain (APL) are not located in one area, but instead are distributed throughout the Province.

The CSOs gave 8 recommendations for the new spatial plan, i.e.:

  1. To a certain deadline, hiring inputs from a broader range of stakeholders for the improvement of the spatial plan document
  2. To use UUPA (Aceh Government’s Constitution) no. 11 year 2006 as the strategic reference for developing a spatial plan that prioritizes biodiversity, customary territories as well as gender equality.
  3. To appoint Wali Nanggroe Aceh as the leading figure to ensure strategic implementation of the review, with support from the Governor and Aceh Spatial Plan Coordination Agency (BKPRD).
  4. To set a deadline this year for the finalization of the Spatial Plan – in his remarks, Governor Zaini Abdullah stated that deadline for the finalization is November this year.
  5. To postpone issuance of new concession licenses before the legalization of the spatial plan.
  6. To appoint an independent team for supervising and monitoring the implementation of the spatial plan process.
  7. To open access for public in obtaining information relating to the spatial plan development.
  8. CSOs are very open to be engaged in the spatial development process and review.

During his closing remarks, Prof. Abubakar Karim stated that the meeting will soon be followed up with another meeting hosted by Bappeda Aceh in order to further discuss the technical side of the spatial plan.

Link to article on the first meeting in Jakarta