Government is a Part of Sustainable Palm Oil Solution

The weak spot of ISPO certification is in the hands of the government and not because  of the disobedience of palm oil stakeholders. The government is a part successful implementation of ISPO

In general, sustainable development depends on three pillars (3-P); economically sustainable (Profit), socially sustainable (People) and environmentally sustainable (Planet). But the European countries add another pillar of politics / government policy (Policy) so that it becomes 4-P.

The addition of the 4th pillar of government policy, is very reasonable and has a ground, considering government policy is a manifestation of the sovereignty of a country that greatly affects the overall development. Spatial policies, licensing, norms / standards for example are government authorities that affect the entire development sector. Although economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, if the government policy on spatial law is always changing (non-sustainable policy), then the whole result is not sustainable in the business.

For a developing country like Indonesia, the pillar of Government Policy as one of the pillars that determines sustainability is more important. Government policies related to development in developing countries (currently under construction) have not been well established yet, even the government policy itself is a part of the development process itself.

In the palm oil industry, for example, the failures or obstacles are faced by businesses in the implementation of ISPO, especially ISPO certification, are caused by government policies, especially in the uncertainty of spatial and licensing policies. The ongoing development process and the ongoing process of democratic political transition in Indonesia make spatial policy keep changing and uncertain.

During The New Order period, spatial law depends on government policy (President). The TGHK Policy (Forest Land Use Agreement) for example, is only used for justification of the government policy. In the Reformation period (since 2000), spatial and licensing policies had also changed. The demands and euphoria of regional autonomy in early 2000, made the pendulum of spatial policy and plantation licensing shifted from the authority of the Central Government to the Regency / City Government, then in the course of the reformation era, it changed again.

Law no. 26 of 2007 on the spatial is lex generalis (the parent) of all sectoral laws for example, the land of Indonesia is only divided into two ,namely Protected Areas and Culture Areas. Production Forest is included in the Cultivation area, together with all development sectors. In the spatial layout of the Spatial Law, conversion from production forest to other sectors is considered as a normal conversion and there is no need for permits to release the area (as required by Law 41/1999 on forestry).

As a result, the business world is confused and faces inconsistencies and policy uncertainties. The permits, which were in the early reform era, were correct according to the laws and regulations, and then judged wrongly due to changes in government policy. Even the government is confused to deal with it and misunderstood the matter.

In the context of ISPO certification, all businesses that fail to obtain certification are those related to the change in government policy. The state-owned plantation company that built the oil palm before the independence of Indonesia, can not get the ISPO certification because it can not show the document of the release of the area as one of the ISPO requirements. Yet in terms of economic, social, environment, all requirements have been met. So it becomes unsustainable because government policy is not sustainable.

Government policy cannot be improved, except the government does the improvement. It now depends on whether the government wants all oil palm plantations to obtain ISPO certification or not. The absolute decision is in the hands of the Government, not due to the disobedience of the business community and the oil palm farmers community.

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