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One Map Removing Overlapping Land

It is clear that the One Map Policy remains a key policy to solve the overlapping land claims under President Jokowi’s administration despite Presidential Regulation No. 9/2019 on the Acceleration of the Implementation of One Map Policy as its underlying regulation coming to its expiration later this year. This is clearly implied in the elected President and Vice President’s vision and mission of Advancing Transformation for a Better Indonesia.

This reminds us of President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s speech at the launch of the One Map Policy (KSP) Geoportal on 11 December 2018 when he said: “I have realized that overlapping land claims is rampant in the country. No matter where we go, that’s always a major issue. I hope that we can address this issue through the One Map Policy.”

The President’s hope is shared by many Indonesian people. These include smallholders who have spent the last 20 years cultivating a land in a forest area despite not being registered as the owner (but they have become the de facto owners after 20 years), indigenous people who for generations have been using forest areas as their source of livelihood without a regional regulation or decree that provides state recognition as well as business actors whose forest concession permit overlaps with ownership by smallholders and indigenous people.

The question is, can the One Map Policy geoportal help smallholders, indigenous people and concessionaires monitor their areas? If not, then how can they accurately map lands with overlapping claims to address the issue?

The One Map Policy geoportal has 83 out of the 85 Thematic Geospatial Information pursuant to Presidential Regulation No. 9/2016 on the Acceleration of One Map Policy. Unfortunately, the access to the maps in the geoportal is currently limited to government agencies as stipulated in Presidential Decree No. 20/2018 on Data Sharing Access in the Acceleration of One Map Policy. Considering the above hypothetical problems faced by smallholders, indigenous people and concessionaires, what is needed from the government to address the overlapping issue as the President suggested? How can the One Map Policy eliminate overlapping land claims?

The first step is to ensure access to the relevant maps in the One Map Policy geoportal for the stakeholders. Public access as the foundation of transparency is key in gaining the trust of the stakeholders, including those in dispute, to reach an agreement.

A possible explanation for the limited public access to the map pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 20/2018 is fear of potential manipulation by irresponsible parties. An evidence is the objection of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF) to the demand to make the maps a digital open source in the cases of Citra Hartati, S.H., M.H. vs KLHK and Greenpeace vs KLHK. The digital format allows users to conduct spatial analysis to discover overlapping, among other things.

The same concern seems to be the reason for the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (MAASP) to delay the public disclosure of information on Land-Cultivation Permit, including concession area maps, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling it as public information more than a year before.

The electronic certification technology that generates electronic signatures for electronic documents, including maps, can address this concern. Its underlying government agencies and national regulations have also been established, such as Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information and Transaction and Law No. 4/2011 on Geospatial Information. The electronic certification prevents the manipulation of the maps without the state ministry/government agency as the issuer of the map being alerted.

The map publisher can also decide what information to be made available to the public. For instance, when dealing with plantation concession data, they can opt to make only the concession boundaries, concession number and issuance date available to the public. Law No. 14/2008 on Public Information Disclosure regulates restrictions of public information disclosure through consequence test, which objectively assesses the consequence of public information disclosure.

The second step is to create a mechanism for the incorporation of participatory maps, which are created by the community, into the One Map Policy ecosystem. This can be used to prove the claims of smallholders and indigenous people, allowing a full dialogue with concessionaires who legally and administratively control the relevant area.

This requires protocols and standards to govern the verification and adoption of the participatory maps within the One Map Policy ecosystem. Protocols and standards are also required for the synchronization process and the settlement of overlapping claims so that a final decision that provides legal certainty and truly addresses the aspirations of the different stakeholders can be made. The Geospatial Information Agency (BIG), together with the MAASP, MOEF and the Ministry of Home Affairs, has developed many regulations to support this. However, the President needs to create a political impetus to make these regulations cross-sectoral among different ministries and institutions.

A political impetus by the President is the issuance of Presidential Regulation No. 86/2018 on Agrarian Reform. This can be the underlying regulation in the adoption of participatory maps for the settlement of agrarian disputes and conflicts. Participatory maps and other related geospatial information as well as definitive maps based on the agreement of the stakeholders in the settlement of overlapping claims will then be used to update the One Map Policy maps.

With community participation, the geospatial information on these maps will be getting more and more accurate over time. In turn, the users’ confidence in the accountability of the One Map Policy maps will also improve.

The third step is to determine the steps to synchronize the settlement of overlapping claims at a higher regulatory level that encompasses different sectors. Guidelines for the Synchronization of Overlapping Thematic Geospatial Information (TGI) of the One Map Policy was published by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs and BIG as the implementer of Presidential Regulation No. 9/2016 following the launch of the One Map Policy geoportal. The guidelines need to be given a higher legal power to serve as a technical guide in the settlement of overlapping claims. Its institutionalization within the One Map Policy framework is also necessary.

To meet President Jokowi's expectations on the One Map Policy, solid cooperation among the ministries/institutions with the vision of problem solving as well as strengthening the land and natural resource governance is needed. To achieve this, we need the different ministries/institutions to trust each other so that they can openly work together.

The three steps above will only be possible with shared vision and true collaboration. The strong political stance of the President shown at the launch of the One Map Policy geoportal and the Vision-Mission of the elected President and Vice President are key to the policy’s success in resolving the issue of overlapping land claims.

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