Since 2019 – 2021, the government of Papua Province and the Stranas PK (National Strategy for Prevention of Corruption) Team from KPK, have been conducting a study on the permits of palm oil plantation companies which are located in the region of Papua Province.

In the #roadtowakatobi webinar organized by the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning/National Land Agency (12/08/2021), Mohammad Isro of the Stranas PK secretariat explained that the Actions for the Prevention of Corruption (Aksi PK) are formulated every two years based on the results of mapping and studies. In the Aksi PKof 2021-2022, one of the follow up actions is certainty on the acceleration of Natural Resource permits through the implementation of one map policy.

“The one map policy can serve as one of the tools to promote the settlement of overlaps and improvement of palm oil governance”, said Mohammad Isro.

The study resulted in several findings, such as the facts that some of the beneficial owners in oil palm ownership are the same people, overlapping permits, existence of SK (Decision Letter) without map attachments, and some did not even have any Decision Letter.

The government of Papua Province has conducted review and study on permits, inventory, and verification up to analysis of the permits of 62 oil palm companies which are located in 8 (eight) regencies in Papua Province.

“The analysis produces two outcomes, in the first category, the Provincial Government proposes the revocation and annulment of permits from the list of permit holders for 35 companies. If we convert it, the area size (of the fields) is up to 522,397 ha from a total area of 989,678 ha”, said Dr. Drs. Mohammad Musa’ad, MSi, Assistant II to the Governor of Papua Province for Development and People’s Welfare, who also attended and became a resource person in the #roadtowakatobi webinar, with a topic “Opportunities and Expectations from the implementation of the National Strategy for Prevention of Corruption (Stranas PK) Program, Evaluation of Palm Oil Plantation Permits in Papua Province (12/08/2021).

The reasons for revocation of the permits among others are findings on the issue of overlap, namely the overlapping permits, in which there are numerous permits in a single area, and some permits include more than regions, and some are not in compliance with or not adhering to the Regional Spatial Plan (RTRW), Musa’ad explained.

In the second category, the government is taking corrective administrative actions against 19 companies, implementing restructuring, improvement of governance, harmonization, adjustments, and enhancement of the administrative demands which must be fulfilled by the companies. The companies’ permits can still be improved.

There Are No Lordless Lands

The Papuan provincial government has lessons learned from the Stranas PK and evaluation of palm oil permits in Papua Province, which are very beneficial in reducing the risk of deforestation, and also supporting sustainable development commitments to protect Papua’s natural assets.

Papua sustainable development vision includes providing broad opportunities for indigenous Papuans (OAP) and improving the quality of life of OAPs, including in terms of recognizing and respecting OAP’s rights in the control, management and use of land and natural resources, as stated in Law No. 21/2001 on Papuan Provincial Special Autonomy.

“Papua Province is a bit different from other provinces. In Papua, there are no lordless lands, all lands have their respective owners, if we can return the rights to the respective owners, those owners, namely the customary communities, would be very grateful for their recovered rights”, Musa’ad said.

Optimizing the utilization of fields upon revocation of the permits, by returning the rights of the customary communities. The recovery and strengthening of the communities’ rights following revocation of the permits were also expressed by Prof. Dr. Ir. Hariadi Kartodiharjo, MS, an expert resource person from Stranas PK.

“The future orientation is ensuring that the community groups can continue their lives in accordance with the skills that they currently possess and develop them based on the objects encountered”, Hariadi Kartodiharjo explained.

Hariadi Kartodiharjo said the communities must also be given protection from the aspects of new permits and engagement, up to the stipulation of spatial plan. As a legality option, the government can protect a customary area from new permits by sufficiently issue a Regent’s Decision Letter on stipulation of a customary forest indicative area.

The state’s political will and presence among the people is truly needed for the implementation of green growth, in order to actualize sustainable development in the Land of Papua.

Ank, Aug 2021

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