Perspective | Re-centralization of marine resource management in Indonesia, and its implications for MPAs
By Handoko Adi Susanto
In 2014 at the end of his term, Indonesia's President S.B. Yudhoyono passed a law that changed the roles of local and provincial governments in marine resource management. Under prior law, district (i.e., local) governments had held authority to manage marine resources out to four nautical miles from the coastline, with provincial governments then managing from the 4-nm line to 12 nm (see footnote). But under the new law, Law No. 23 of 2014, that local authority was transferred to the provincial level. As a result, provincial governments now have authority from the shore to 12 nm – including for exploration, exploitation, conservation, marine spatial planning, and other management of marine resources – and local governments have none.
By Patrick Christie and Nai'a Lewis
Although the median size of MPAs worldwide is less than two square kilometers, it is the very large MPAs – those larger than about 250,000 km2 in area – that account for a majority of conserved ocean area globally.
Due to the size of these large scale MPAs (LSMPAs), they can impact multiple communities and stakeholder groups. As well, even when they are initiated by local communities or NGOs, they must still be established by national governments. The process overall can feel top-down and, if not handled appropriately, can leave stakeholders feeling alienated. These factors, among others, can make it easy to characterize LSMPAs as being designated primarily for political gain, and as a conservation model that disenfranchises local communities and indigenous people.