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Regional autonomy and local resource management in Indonesia

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As the largest archipelagic nation in the world, with distinctive environmental conditions and biodiversity, Indonesia on the one hand has tremendous natural and environmental riches while on the other hand faces a variety of environmental problems. After three decades of the New Order era, 1967–1998, Indonesian society is in a crucial transformation process towards a more democratic era. At the same time, as indicated in that country's decentralisation laws No. 22/99 and 25/99, Indonesia is also shifting its style of government, from a centralistic to decentralised one. These two trends are happening simultaneously with globalisation prompting a flow of global capital that directly increases pressure on the Indonesian environment. This paper evaluates the decentralisation of environmental management programmes in Indonesia and focuses on the implications of these changes. The weaknesses of current environmental policies and programmes in Indonesia, which give too dominant a role to the government and neglect civil society's involvement in natural resources and environmental management, are analysed. Further, the paper addresses the lack of attention to date to issues of environmental rights and justice that create many complex environmental and social conflicts throughout Indonesia. We conclude by recommending some fundamental changes to environmental policies and programmes in the decentralised system.

Keywords: Indonesia; decentralisation; environment; environmental management

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8373.2007.00331.x

Affiliations: 1: Center for Environmental Studies, Gadjah Mada University, Jalan Lingkungan Budaya No. 1, Kampus Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia., Email: dwita_hr@yahoo.com 2: Center for Environmental Studies, Diponegoro University, Tembalang Campus, Semarang, Central Java., Email: sudharto_hadi@yahoo.com

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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