This portion of the report discusses Indonesia’s legislative and institutional structures that affect biodiversity conservation and forest management. The section begins with some brief background on the sweeping changes that have recently taken place in the country. Next is a summary of the structure of the government, the legislation, and the key institutions involved in biodiversity conservation and forest resource management. National conservation strategies are summarized, as well as government expenditures on biodiversity conservation and protected area (PA) management.
There is a brief discussion of international treaties and agreements related to biodiversity conservation and forest management that the Government of Indonesia (GoI) participates in. This section also describes the conservation efforts of international donor organizations, and national and international non-governmental organizations.
Since the political-economic crisis in 1997-1998 and particularly after the fall of Suharto in May 1998, Indonesia has experienced dramatic changes in governance that strongly affect its rich biodiversity, forests and other natural resources. These governance changes include, among others, new and profound legislation and government restructuring. Additionally, this era of reform and autonomy has meant a loosening of authoritarian rule, and hence civil society institutions have blossomed and experienced attendant growing pains. International organizations must consider and address these changes in governance in their strategies and operations in Indonesia.
Although this is a period of transformation and opening of government, the long legacy of authoritarianism and patronage politics has proved a formidable obstacle to meaningful governance reform. “Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism,” the local term for the legacy of the New Order, still influence government decisions, legislation development, and law enforcement at all levels. This tension between prospective reform and the deeply entrenched legacy of the New Order has engendered instability, uncertainty and conflict throughout the country that continue to persist five years into the reform era. These factors have had strong negative impacts on Indonesia’s biodiversity and forest conservation efforts. Facilitating meaningful governance reform will be critical to ensuring the conservation and management of biodiversity and forest resources.
Government of Indonesia
Indonesia is a republic that consists of three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The President is both the chief of state and head of the government. The president currently presides over 32 cabinet members, who manage the executive branch ministries and departments. It is the president’s prerogative to determine the number and responsibilities of Ministries.
The People’s Consultative Assembly or Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat (MPR) is the country’s highest legislative body. It consists of the House of Representatives or Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR) plus 195 indirectly selected members. The MPR elects the president and vice-president every five years and approves the broad outlines of national policy, while also meeting annually to consider constitutional and legislative changes. The DPR consists of the 500-seat unicameral House of Representatives. The judiciary is led by the Supreme Court, which is preparing to assume administrative responsibility for the lower court system currently run by the executive. The President appoints Supreme Court justices. Indonesia consists of 30 provinces and 357 districts (kabupaten), which since the enactment of decentralization in 1999 have substantially more authority to govern local affairs.
The recent third amendment to Indonesia’s constitution (9 November 2001) revised the electoral process and the structure of the legislative branch. Formerly, the president and vice president were chosen by vote of the MPR. Beginning in 2004, the president and vice president will be directly elected by the people. Further, the amendment established a second legislative body, the House of Regional Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah or DPD). Members of this body will be chosen by election with equal numbers for each province. The total number of members in the DPD will be one third of the number of members in the DPR. In contrast, the DPR membership is based on population: larger regions have more representatives.