Indigenous People as Important Factor to Implement the Government Policy

Implementing a policy is nothing like the policy making itself. Policy makers need to regulate and verify whether the policy had been implemented properly. In terms of control, Indonesian national policy requires the support of the local government and the community participation. An example was the policy on water resources that has been embodied in Act No. 7 of 2004. These laws were revealed in the Government Regulation No. 42 of 2008 on the management of water resources, which one of the mission was controlling water resources degradation.

Water is a dynamic object that cannot be separated with a spatial planning and vice versa. Indonesian Government is experiencing a lot of constraints in the spatial planning implementation as well as water management. The main constraint occurs at the control stage, which for example has happened in the Bandung basin, West Java. This area has been determined as one of the national strategic areas (Kawasan Strategis Nasional/KSN) which focused on improving the economy. This condition gives the implication on the land pressure. Uncontrolled land use is the main cause of land and water degradation in the Bandung basin. One of the important conservation areas in Bandung Basin is North Bandung Area (Kawasan Bandung Utara/KBU). Cikapundung watershed is placed in this area and play an important role on water supply and hydropower generation for Bandung City.

The dialogue between Kabuyutan Sri Sunda and Indonesian Government

Setiawan (2008) mentioned that the forest conditions in Cikapundung watershed reduced from 42% to 17% while the built up area increased from 16% to 44% during 1998 to 2006. The local government issued a local policy, Local Regulation of West Java Province no.1 of 2008, about the utilization control area in KBU. This local policy was issued because North Bandung area has a function of conservation and water resources sustainability.

Since the release of the local regulation, developments in the KBU still occurred. This identify that the policy implementation has not been done properly. The failure of the government policies’ implementation is often due to a lack of community participation or public awareness. One of the reasons why the community do not participate was because they did not understand the benefits. A transparency in mechanism and socialization are required for the public to:

–          Access and find out how they can participate;

–          Aware and understand the benefits in participating and the risks on their ignorance

The Indonesian Government, through the Ministry of Public Works in cooperation with the Government of West Java province, has initiated the community participation in the stage of controlling the environmental degradation (especially the land utilization on the conservation area). The efforts are incentive to motivate and increase the community’s capacity. Dialogue on their participation was conducted on 29 August to 3 September 2014, and it has elected Kabuyutan Sri Sunda (KSS) as a community group that got the incentives this year 2014.

KSS group is a community group that gives attention to environment in the Bandung basin, particularly at the North Bandung Area (KBU). Kabuyutan defined as a Sundanese trace area. KSS is not just an area name, it has greater value as a brotherhood group which able to give extraordinary impact on environment.

They maintain their culture and preserved it to young generation, originates shame and fear in damaging the nature. They teach public to participate actively in being responsible to their environment with understanding on the benefits for their community. KSS group has done a hastening information and coaching dissemination.

The controlling based on the traditional ecological community proved to be more powerful than mere theory applied. Indonesia has cultural diversities in various regions and coexists with nature. In the control of environment degradation, culture needs to be maintained as a local wisdom, and that both cannot be separated. Involving the community means encouraging them to participate in the development and implementation process where the benefits will be for their own community. In other words, the national policy needs to actively involve indigenous people at the control stage.

About the Author: Ms. Dyah Marganingrum is a research staff at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. She has strong interest in water and water management research. She does research about water and correlated water and management such as water pollution, water poverty, water and spatial planning, etc. Ms. Dyah is one of the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellow from Indonesia.