[Joint Press Release] Reflections on the Ten-Year Law on Environmental Protection and Management: Enforcement of Environmental Law in Indonesia, Still Weak

Jakarta, 27th August 2019 – Approaching the 10th anniversary of the enactment of Law no. 32 of 2009 concerning Environmental Protection and Management (PPLH Law), Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia (FHUI) in collaboration with the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) held an Environmental Law Conference “Towards the Ten Years of the Law on Environmental Protection and Management: Reflections on Enforcement Environmental Law in Indonesia ”on the 26th – 27th August 2019 at the FHUI Campus Depok.


Chairman of the State Administrative Court of the Republic of Indonesia Supreme Court Dr. Supandi, S.H., M.Hum, revealed that a common obstacle encountered in solving environmental cases is the difficulty of proof. While environmental cases occur between those who have greater access to resources and those who have limited access. “Armed with a large intake of funds and pursuing short-term profits alone, of course environmental polluters will be easy to conduct research funding conducted by certain institutions that do not work objectively and put forward the facts in the field significantly.” said Supandi in the Public Lecture held by FH UI and ICEL as the opening of the Conference.

Regarding these challenges, the Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Gakkum KLHK) has undertaken various initiatives in improving the quality of evidence and law enforcement in general, including by developing the application of the PPLH Law through strengthening administrative sanctions, civil lawsuits, and the application of layered criminal articles; and the use of science and technology for conducting surveillance through the use of artificial intelligence, big data and knowledge management systems. However, the Director General of Environmental and Forestry Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Dr. Ratio Ridho Sani, S.Sc., M.Comm., M.P.M., believes that the obstacle in enforcing environmental law is actually the stagnation of the execution of the decision. “The total value of the environmental claim is Rp. 19.4 trillion, with one of them being the biggest decision in the history of Indonesian civil law. But it must be recognised that we are still weak in the execution of the decision.”


Although environmental law enforcement in Indonesia has many obstacles, the Discussion of Experts consisting of the Chairperson of the Indonesian Environmental Law Teaching Association Prof. Dr. Ida Nurlinda, S.H., M.H., Coordinator of Special Task Force 115 of the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Dr. Mas Achmad Santosa, S.H., LLL.M., Lecturer in Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia Dr. Harsanto Nursadi, S.H., M.Sc., and Executive Director of ICEL Henri Subagiyo, S.H., M.H., are of the opinion that the PPLH Law has so far been quite good in responding to various environmental cases and their development. As stated by Mas Achmad Santosa, “Law 32/2009 is the best environmental protection and management law with the concept of integrated supervision, very strong law enforcement, already anticipating regional autonomy, and very progressive by regulating green legislation and green budget”.


However, if deemed necessary, an evaluation of the PPLH Law can be carried out systematically and academically by taking into account what can be applied from this PPLH Law and what there are still misconceptions and deficiencies in practice.


The experts also stressed that in the future the use of the PPLH Law instrument will be very important, especially in balancing the planned investment and development acceleration planned by President-elect Joko Widodo. Harsanto Nursadi stated that “One of the important instruments in the PPLH Law is the Strategic Environmental Assessment (KLHS). But KLHS has not been seen so far. How can the KLHS process be a goal keeper? Like it or not, the Government must adopt a policy that considers KLHS as a guardian of environmental sustainability within a framework of sustainable development.” Therefore, it is necessary to improve coordination and harmonisation across sectors in strengthening licensing and environmental instruments. Ida Nurlinda gave a separate note on the issue of “state capture”, namely in the case of a state being held hostage by existing delays in environmental damage and pollution, it takes courage and commitment from the government to take decisive action against environmental destroyers and pollutants.


Finally, the PPLH Law still leaves a lot of homework for its operation. Many of the regulations in this law have not been able to be implemented properly, because there are no implementing regulations, being held hostage by sectoral regulations and human resource capacity for implementation in the field.


Contact person:

Andri G. Wibisana – 0878-8771-1850

Rika Fajrini – 0811-202-8925