Legal Politics of Coastal and Small Islands Management

President’s experts, Maret Priyanta and Dietriech Geoffrey Bengen, after taking oath at a judicial review hearing of the Law on the Management of Coastal Zone and Small Islands, Wednesday (11/15/2023). Photo by MKRI/Ifa.

JAKARTA (MKRI) — The urgency of the establishment of the Coastal Management/PWP3K Law is based on the consideration that coastal areas and small islands have a high diversity of potential natural resources and are very important for socio-economic, cultural, and environmental interests. So, their legal politics need to be managed sustainably and with a global outlook by paying attention to the aspirations and participation of the community and the values of the nation based on the buffer of national sovereignty of national legal norms.

“Indonesia is a country that is rich in potential natural resources. Development activities to realize the welfare of the community that have been carried out so far are inseparable from various kinds of negative impacts on the environment due to development activities that utilize various potentials in land, sea, air, and inner spaces of the earth.”

This was conveyed by Maret Priyanta as an expert for the Government at a material judicial review hearing of Article 23 paragraph (2) and Article 35 letter k of Law No. 1 of 2014 on the Amendment to Law No. 27 of 2007 on the Management of Coastal Zones and Small Islands (Coastal Management/PWP3K Law) on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 in the plenary courtroom.

At the plenary hearing led by Chief Justice Suhartoyo, Priyanta explained that Article 23 and Article 35 of the PWP3K Law reflect the vision and legal politics of protection and utilization of natural resources in coastal areas and small islands. The overall idea of Article 23 is in paragraph (1), which reads, “The utilization of small islands and waters surrounding them shall be carried out based on an ecological and economic unity in comprehensive and integrated ways with the nearby large islands.” There are considerations why small islands are approached differently, and this needs attention as well.

Priyanta asserted that the PWP3K Law serves as a response to the utilization of natural resources in marine space, which has had increasing negative impacts on the environment, especially coastal ecosystems, such as pollution and destruction of the physical marine environments and impacts on coastal communities. The PWP3K Law basically regulates the legal system of marine space management, especially coastal areas and small islands that are rich in natural resource potential and are vulnerable to environmental impacts.

The understanding of the state’s responsibility to provide intergenerational justice and environmental justice towards the utilization of natural resources has become a paradigm that continues to be built on the basis of the 1945 Constitution, which implicitly provides a place for the development of the concept of green constitution in the future. With regard to this and the consideration of the concept of environmental law and spatial law, Article 23 paragraph (2) of the PWP3K Law needs to be declared constitutional and legally binding, and it is interpreted that the utilization of small islands and surrounding waters must still consider prioritized activities with conditional and limited tolerance for other activities in accordance with the provisions in spatial planning.

Spatial Planning of Small Island Areas

At this hearing, the Government also presented Dietriech Geoffrey Bengen as an expert. He said that in addition to the great potential of coastal and marine natural resources, small islands with their specific characteristics are vulnerable to various external influences and development activities, which can threaten the degradation of ecosystems and natural resources of small islands, such as over-exploitation, pollution, habitat degradation, and decreased biodiversity. In addition to the various threats to ecosystem and natural resource degradation, the distinctive characteristics of small island areas can be obstacles in its development.

Bengen emphasized that the constraints and characteristics of small islands must be taken into consideration in their utilization and development. One of the approaches in the utilization and development of small islands along with the unity of coastal and marine ecosystems in an integrated manner is the spatial planning of small islands. It aims to optimize the ecological, social, and economic functions of small island areas. It is important so that the utilization of the potential of coastal and marine natural resources can take place optimally and sustainably. The utilization and development of small island areas in an integrated and participatory manner can certainly contribute to the improvement and equitable distribution of employment and business opportunities, improvement of community welfare and regional economy, control resource utilization conflicts, and preserve natural resources and the environment.

Also read:

Provisions on Ban on Mineral Mining in Coasts and Isles Challenged

PT Gema Kreasi Perdana Revises Petition on Mineral Mining in Coasts and Isles

Provisions on Management of Small Islands Serve to Protect and Conserve

Customary Community’s Rights in Coastal and Small Island Areas

Govt Has Good Control over Small-Island Mining

Coastal Zones and Small Islands Used for People’s Prosperity

The case No. 35/PUU-XXI/2023 on the judicial review of Article 23 paragraph (2) and Article 35 letter k of the PWP3K Law was filed by PT Gema Kreasi Perdana, represented by executive director Rasnius Pasaribu. The Petitioner is a limited liability company (PT) with a mining business permit for small islands. It feels its constitutional rights had been violated by the enactment of Article 23 paragraph (2) and Article 35 letter k of the Coastal Management Law, which the Supreme Court interpreted as an unconditional ban on mining activities in small islands, while the Petitioner has a valid permit by the mining authority to mine nickel in the area. Its permit has undergone changes from the initial permit No. 26 of 2007, issued prior to the enactment of Law No. 27 of 2007.

The Petitioner asserted that if Article 23 paragraph (2) and Article 35 letter k of Law No. 1 of 2014 be interpreted as an unconditional ban on mining activities, all spatial planning for coastal zones and small islands regulated in regional regulations would conflict with the a quo Law and must be revised. As a consequence, all activities by mining companies in those areas must be ceased. This would be detrimental to those companies, including the Petitioner, who had paid their dues to the state.  

Author       : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Nur R.
PR            : Tiara Agustina
Translator  : Tahlitha Laela/Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | 15:27 WIB 382