World Bank is the actor of Land Grab: Government of Indonesia should Cancel the Loan of Agrarian Reform Acceleration

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Joint Press Release
Koalisi Pemantau Pembangunan Infrastruktur
World Bank is the actor of Land Grab: Government of Indonesia should Cancel the Loan of Agrarian Reform Acceleration

(Jakarta, 24 July 2018) On July 18, 2018, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)- from the World Bank Group has approved a new debt for the Agrarian Reform Acceleration Program (One Map Policy) which costs 240 million USD. From 240 million of which 200 million USD came from the World Bank and 40 million USD from the Government of Indonesia. This project claimed will be running from 2018 to 2023.

The new USD 200 million debt financing from the World Bank for the Agrarian Reform Acceleration Program, under the executing agency- Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (ATR / BPN), can not be tolerated. This debt will continue the Land Administration Project which accelerates the commodification of the land, making the agrarian policy away from the mandate of Agrarian Reform Law and further fosters inequality. This project can also be categorized as ineffective (bad-debt). It is true that in the interest of Agrarian Reform, a one-map policy is needed so that overlapping land claims could be avoided at the government level, and public could monitor the arrangement of land boundaries and land claims on the land they occupy. That emphasized that land mapping is indeed necessary to use the principle of genuine participation. However, the project that has these three main components, which seems only perfect in terms of its title and purpose written only, but failed to explain how the project runs. The three project components of this debt are as follows:

  1. Component 1; Participatory Mapping and Agrarian Reform, (US$202 million including US$162 million from IBRD and US$40 million from National Budget)
  2. Component 2; Geospatial Data Infrastructure for Environmental and Natural Resource Management, US$10 million
  3. Component 3; Project Management, Institutional Development and Monitoring, US$28 million.

The largest allocation of this debt scheme is the USD 162 million which is under Component 1 with the title “participatory mapping agrarian reform” that is meant, among others, is to produce a border map (parcel boundary maps), which would record all claims on land, and facilitate the rules of land rights and registration into the electronic land administration system (e-land). Public may consider that the written purpose of component 1 above seems very good, but with regards to “HOW to achieve that goal” has never been well explained, so the potential to FAIL is very high. Because all this time it was the duty of the ATR / BPN Ministry to collect data on land rights including land boundary arrangement. Why is it now being done, when the Agrarian Reform program is actually rolling without the Bank’s intervention.

On paper, World Bank projects are never separated from the word “Participatory” or “Participation”. However, in fact, violations of the principle of participation always happen. Although component 1 uses the title “participatory mapping agrarian reform”, it has never been explained how a participatory process will be carried out. Moreover, the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (ATR/BPN) has proven to never show good faith in terms of transparency in their operations. For example, in the case of Land use permits for Palm Oil Plantations, the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (ATR/BPN) never opened the HGU data to the public, whereas there has been a Supreme Court Decision No. 121 K / TUN / 2017 which won by the Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) lawsuit over the ATR / BPN Ministry. How is it possible that a ministry which does not respect the public’s right to information and is not law-abiding, mandated to administer this participatory mapping-agrarian-reform program?

The Government of Republic of Indonesia should be able to implement the Land Object Program of Agrarian Reform (Tanah Objek Reforma Agraria- TORA) using state budget funds, without having to rely on foreign debt and their scheme. The spirit of TORA carried by President Joko Widodo with the involvement of the people as of now is not the concept brought by the Ministry of ATR / BPN and the World Bank through its debt scenario. Signing on to the debt scheme for the Agrarian Reform Program is also an indication that the government wants to repeat and re-follow the Neoliberal ideology offered by the World Bank that makes land as a commercial good. This is inconsistent with the spirit of the Agrarian Reform that sees land as people’s right.

The Government should have recalled that the World Bank plays a significant role as the actor of land grabbing through financing provided for infrastructure and land-based investment projects and policies since the World Bank’s debts with the New Order to date. Among them, the gigantic project of Kedung Ombo; Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF); National Slum Upgrading Project (NSUP); or many other development projects which are now being implemented by PT. Indonesia Infrastructure Finance (IIF) or PT. Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI).

This new debt scheme will continue until 2023, which might exceeding the term of the Minister approving this debt. Therefore, it is a must that this debt to be canceled. It is important that the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning (Kementerian ATR / BPN) repent to carry out its duties and functions in accordance with Presidential Regulation No. 17 of 2015 on the Ministry of Agriculture and Spatial Planning.

Sincerely,
Koalisi Pemantau Pembangunan Infrastruktur

Edo Rakhman (Eksekutif Nasional WALHI) 081356208763
Diana Gultom (debtWATCH Indonesia) 08159202737
Siti Aminah Tardi (ILRC) 081908174177
Moh. Reza Sahib (KRuHA) 081370601441
Rahmawati (Tuk Indonesia) 081310607266
Kurniawan Sabar (INDIES) 08112011868
Tigor Hutapea (KIARA) 081287296684
Andi Muttaqien (ELSAM) 08121996984

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