Reflections on National Spatial Day

Reflections on National Spatial Day
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The 8th of November is designated as National Spatial Day in Presidential Decree No. 28 of 2013. This day should be a reflection of spatial planning so far. Spatial planning aims to create a national territory space that is safe, comfortable, productive, and sustainable based on the Archipelago’s Insight and National Resilience, by: a) creating harmony between the natural environment and the artificial environment; b) the realisation of integration in the use of natural resources and artificial resources by taking into account human resources; and c) the realisation of the protection of spatial functions and prevention of negative impacts on the environment due to spatial use.


However, it seems that these ideals are still far from roasted. The reason is that the RTRW as the first environmental safeguard is often bypassed and even tricked to launch the exploitation of natural resources. For example, Riau Regional Regulation No. 10 of 2018 concerning RTRW of Riau Province that is flawed both formally and materially. Formally, the Riau Governor overstepped a condition in issuing this regulation, namely the validation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (KLHS). The KLHS validation should have been carried out by the Minister of Environment and Forestry but because the KLHS on the Regulation of Riau Province’s RTRW still needs improvement, the Minister of Environment and Forestry could not validate it.


Whereas materially, the Regulation of Riau Province‚Äôs RTRW contradicts higher laws in 3 aspects: 1) outline, 2) social forestry, and 3) peat ecosystem protection. Firstly, the regulation regarding the outline in the Regulation of Riau Province‚Äôs RTRW is not known in the higher laws and regulations and the regulation also violates the procedure for changing the designation and function of the forest area. This outline setting has the potential to accelerate. Secondly, the Regulation of Riau Province‚Äôs RTRW increases the requirements for proposing social forestry by requiring the governor’s recommendation and discussion in the DPRD which is actually not needed. The addition of these conditions has significantly hampered access to community management areas in Riau Province. Thirdly, the Regulation of Riau Province‚Äôs RTRW reduced the peat ecosystem protected area to 21,615 ha from 4,972,482 ha of peat ecosystem protection area stipulated in 130/MENLHK/Secretariat General/PKL.0/2/2017 concerning the Establishment of the National Peat Ecosystem Function Map. Reducing this protected peatland ecosystem certainly has the potential to perpetuate forest and land fires in Riau Province.


The Riau people, through Jikalahari and Walhi, certainly did not remain silent knowing this space injustice, they made a request for a judicial review to the Supreme Court last August. Interval 2 months later, the Supreme Court decided to grant the petition for a judicial review of the Riau Regional Regulation No. 10 of 2018 concerning Riau Province’s RTRW with case number 63P/HUM/2019. Although as of this writing the decision has not been made public, the decision provides hope for future spatial planning. The ruling obliges the Governor of Riau to rearrange the Riau Province’s RTRW because of a formal flaw results in an invalid regulation by law. The rearrangement of the Riau Province’s RTRW should heed the principles of a) cohesiveness, b) harmony and balance, c) sustainability, d) usability and effectiveness, d) openness, e) togetherness and partnership, f) protection of public interest, g) law certainty and justice; and h) accountability. (Marsya)