Review of the New Local Government Law

In September 2014, the Indonesian government enacted the new Local Government Law, Law No. 23/2014 that replaced the old Local Government Law, Law No. 32/2004. The lessons learned from the implementation of old law was the main reason why the government needed to write the new law. Conceptually, the Local Government Law is the main legal regime regulating the distribution of functions and authority among the central, provincial, and district governments.

In the old law, most governmental functions were distributed between the central and district/municipal governments while the authority of provincial governments was not regulated in great detail. In the new law, most governmental functions are distributed between the central and provincial governments. District/ municipal governments retain the authority for several functions, but to a much lesser degree than that given by the old law. The old law, for instance, gave certain authority to district/municipal governments in the forestry sector, however, the new law decentralized authority in the forestry sector only to the provincial level.

This article summarizes the legal analysis of the old and new Local Government Laws. Specifically, this article will analyze the shift of authority and distribution of governmental functions among the central, provincial, and district governments, especially with regards to land-based sectors, including forestry, land, agriculture, and spatial planning. The analysis finds that there are a number of significant changes to the distribution of governmental functions and authority with regards to the aforementioned sectors. In the forestry sector, the central government retains the authority over state forest areas, which includes the planning and licensing process, the implementation of forest management and monitoring. The central government holds the authority to control the planning process and monitoring of forest resources, including gazettement of forest areas. Although the authority to conduct planning for forest area gazettement rests in the hands of the central government, implementing this activity will be the task and responsibility of the provincial government. In this regard, there are many issues relating to the implementation of forest area gazettement, which are closely related to the responsibilities of provincial governments, such as the settlement of third party rights claims and monitoring the use of forest areas

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