Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Pre-and post-tsunami coastal planning and land-use policies and issues in Indonesia

Rokhmin Dahuri1

As the largest archipelago on earth, Indonesia is both blessed with abundant natural resources and afflicted by natural hazards. Coastal and marine resources have been utilized for national economic development for centuries. Coastal and marine economic sectors account for one-quarter of the GDP and employ more than 20 percent of Indonesia’s workforce. Approximately 65 percent of the population lives within 50 kilometres of the country’s coastlines and 75 percent of the nation’s cities are located in coastal areas.

Until the establishment of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in September 1999, the pattern of coastal development was generally unsustainable. Primary elements of integrated coastal planning and management, especially spatial planning, management of natural resources, pollution control and control of coastal construction had not been implemented properly. Consequently, when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami struck, Indonesia was the hardest hit country in terms of physical damage, socio-economic loss and human casualties

This paper analyzes the general pattern of coastal resource use in Indonesia, problems and issues emerging post-tsunami, policies and regulations governing coastal land and resource management, planning and decision-making processes pertaining to coastal land and resource use, governance and institutional structures and mechanisms for coastal management. Recommendations for long-term post-tsunami reconstruction and development in the context of sustainable coastal area management are made.

1. Background

As the largest archipelago on earth with more than 17 500 islands and 81 000 kilometres of coastline (the second longest after Canada), Indonesia has abundant natural resources but is subject to many natural hazards. Most of Indonesia’s coastal areas are endowed with non-renewable natural resources such as hydrocarbon deposits, iron ore, tin, bauxite, gold, copper and other minerals, as well as renewable natural assets including fisheries (and myriad other marine life), mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass beds. It has been reported that Indonesia harbors the greatest marine biodiversity on earth (Briggs, 2005).

The biological wealth and diversity of the coastal and marine resources have provided nourishment, especially from fish and seafood, for local inhabitants for centuries. About 65 percent of the total animal protein intake for Indonesians is derived from fish and fisheries products. In 2005, there were approximately 3.9 million fisherfolk and 480 000 fishing vessels, bringing in a total catch of approximately 4.2 million tonnes,. Most fishing operations (80 percent) can be categorized as artisanal (traditional) fisheries. The total coastal land area which is suitable for coastal aquaculture is reported to be as large as 1.2 million hectares; in 2005 approximately 380 000 hectares were utilized for farming shrimp (Panaeus vanamme, P. monodon), milkfish, seaweed (Gracilaria sp.), crabs and other species with total production of about 1.5 million tonnes. Coastal aquaculture activities are primarily located along the north coast of Java, South Sulawesi Province, the east coast of Nangroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD) Province and West Nusa Tenggara Province. About 1.2 million hectares of coastal waters from the coastline to five kilometres seaward, with potential production of 47 million tonnes per annum, have been identified as suitable for mariculture. Dominant species in mariculture include grouper, rabbit fish, sea bass, pearl oysters and seaweed (Euchema cotonii and E. spinosum).

Since the early 1970s (under the First Five-Year Development Plan of the New Order Government under the leadership of President Soeharto), oil and gas, as well as other mineral resources, have been sourced to support national economic development. The mining and energy sector has been the largest contributor to Indonesian GDP, ranging from the current 55 percent to 70 percent in the 1970s to 1980s. Formerly, oil and gas exploration and their concomitant exploitation were mainly located onshore, but since the end of the 1980s they have mostly (70 percent) been taking place in coastal and marine areas.

Indonesian coastal zones are multiple-use zones in the daily life and socio-economic development of the nation.

Unfortunately, as in many other parts of the world, rapid economic development has resulted in environmental degradation in numerous cases of some of Indonesia’s coastal and marine areas, particularly in densely populated or intensely exploited coastal areas such as parts of the Indonesian side of the Malacca Strait, the north coast of Java (more specifically Jakarta Bay, Semarang and Surabaya), the Bali Strait and the south coast of Sulawesi. Environmental degradation generated by pollution, overfishing, physical destruction of important coastal ecosystems (beaches, estuaries, mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs) has reached a level that threatens the sustainable capacity of coastal and marine ecosystems to support the future economic development of Indonesia. This is attributable mainly to earlier development patterns which were characterized by excessive exploitation of coastal and marine ecosystems and their resources to boost economic growth without proper regard for their sustainability and income (welfare) distribution among the Indonesian people. Coastal and ocean development patterns during the New Order Government were also characterized by a centralized and top-down approach with no public participation in any development policies or programmes.

Problems and issues related to coastal management in Indonesia have also been aggravated by many natural disasters, including tsunamis, hurricanes, global warming and their concomitant effects. The most devastating natural catastrophe ever to hit Indonesian coastal areas was the December 2004 tsunami that laid waste to most of the coastal zone of NAD Province and the Nias Islands of North Sumatra Province.

However, in addressing the needs of the expanding population (expected to reach 400 million by 2040)2, juxtaposed by diminishing terrestrial resources, it is obvious that coastal and marine ecosystems will be primary targets for sustaining the economic development of the nation. With the shift of global economic concentration from the Atlantic to the Pacific Rim since the end of the twentieth century, Indonesia’s coasts and seas will have more important economic roles nationally and globally because approximately 40 percent of goods, products and commodities traded globally (with a total value of circa US$1 300 trillion per annum) are transported through Indonesian seas.

The challenge for coastal zone management in Indonesia is thus, how to develop coastal and marine resources on an optimal and sustainable basis for the utmost benefit of the Indonesian people by proportionally achieving sustained economic growth, social equity, maintenance of the carrying capacity of coastal ecosystems and mitigation of natural hazards.

2. The nature of tsunamis in Indonesia

Indonesia is highly vulnerable to various natural disasters, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and     hurricanes. Indonesia has 151 active volcanoes and is located within the “Ring of Fire” where 75 percent of the world’s volcanoes are located. The archipelago is also located in the most tsunami-prone area in the Asia–Pacific region. Only Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of Borneo Island) is relatively free from earthquake and tsunami threats.

Tsunamis can be generated by several kinds of geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. However, Indonesian tsunamis are predominantly caused by tectonic earthquakes along the subduction zone and active seismic areas. From 1600 to 1999 there were 105 tsunami events, of which 90 percent were caused by tectonic earthquakes, nine percent by volcanic eruptions and one percent by landslides (Latief et al., 2000).

Indonesian coastal areas susceptible to tsunamis are the west coast of Sumatra, the south coast of Java, the north and south coasts of West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara provinces, the islands of Maluku and North Maluku Provinces, the north coast of Papua and most of the Sulawesi coastline. Between 1600 and 2000, Maluku was struck by 32 tsunamis — as much as 31 percent of the total tsunami events nationwide (Table 1).

Table 1. Tsunami events in Indonesia between 1961 and 2006



Maximum runup



Central Flores, East Nusa Tenggara


2 died
6 injured
1964 Sumatra


110 died
479 injured

Maluku, Seram, Sanana


71 died

Tinambung, South Sulawesi


58 died
100 injured

Tambo, Central Sulawesi


392 died

Majene, South Sulawesi


64 died
97 injured

Sumbawa Island, West Nusa Tenggara


316 died

Flores, Atauro Island, East Nusa Tenggara


2 died
25 injured

Bali; Lombok and Sumbawa of West Nusa Tenggara


27 died
200 injured

Larantuka, East Nusa Tenggara


13 died
400 injured

Flores, Pantar Island, East Nusa Tenggara


83 died
108 injured

Alor Island, East Nusa Tenggara


7 died

Flores, Babi Island, East Nusa Tenggara


1 952 died 2
126 injured


Banyuwangi, East Java


38 died
400 injured

Palu, Central Sulawesi


3 died 63 injured

Biak Island, Papua


107 died

Tabuna Maliabu Maluku


34 died

Banggai, Central Sulawesi



Nangroe Aceh Darussalam, North Sumatra, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia etc.


>300 000 died
2005 Nias



South coast of West Java and Central Java provinces


498 died
547 injured

Source: Subandono (2005) and BAPPENAS (2005).

In contemporary times, the most catastrophic tsunami was caused by the Sumatra earthquake on 26 December 2004. The Sumatra earthquake generated a giant tsunami which struck coastal areas not only in NAD and the north Sumatra provinces of Indonesia, but also Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, the Maldives and part of the southern coast of Africa. Its runups were reported to be higher than 30 metres, and more than 300 000 lives were lost. The disaster in Indonesia was massive. There was very short, if any, time for alerts and evacuation.

Indonesia was the hardest hit country. About 132 000 people died and 37 000 people were lost (still missing until now) in NAD Province and the islands of Nias. As many as 1 000 kilometres of coastline (the same distance from Jakarta to Surabaya) of NAD Province and almost all the islands of Nias, North Sumatra Province with a total area of 12 345 square kilometres were devastated (BRR, 2006). Of the 21 regencies and cities under the jurisdiction of NAD Province, 16 were seriously affected; nine are located on the north–east coast and seven on the west coast.

Another earthquake took place on 28 March 2005, adding to the number of victims in the islands of Nias, North Sumatra Province and Simeulue Islands of NAD Province and the southern parts of Aceh. To illustrate the magnitude of the calamities, the earthquake in December 2004 caused the land in the island of Simeulue (some 2 000 square kilometres with a population of 78 000), to sink approximately one metre. The earthquake in March 2005 caused the land to rise about two metres in other parts of the island.

3. Impacts of the 2004 tsunami

The Indian Ocean tsunami has virtually paralyzed the socio-economic activities of coastal communities in the affected areas of NAD Province and the islands of Nias. Prior to the tsunami disaster, the economy of NAD Province was dominated by three sectors, namely agriculture (including fisheries), oil and gas, and the processing industries. In 2004, the agriculture sector contributed more than 30 percent to the province’s regional gross domestic product (RGDP), while the contribution of the oil and gas sector and processing industry sector was approximately 20 percent each. Fishery activities were a backbone of the province’s economy and contributed seven percent (US$160 million) to the RGDP in 2004 (Dinas Perikanan dan Kelautan NAD, 2005).

The impact of the disaster on the NAD economy resulted in an increase in the number of unemployed people. Approximately 600 000 to 800 000 people (25 percent of the total NAD workforce) lost their jobs. Approximately 120 000 houses were destroyed or severely damaged (Table 2). As the average number of a family living in one house in affected areas was five people, it is estimated that the number of people displaced from their dwellings was approximately 600 000 people.

Some 130 000 people who used to work in the fisheries sector also lost their jobs owing to the destruction of facilities and infrastructure. Before the tsunami, 80 percent of employees in the fisheries sector worked in capture fisheries (Dinas Perikanan dan Kelautan NAD, 2005).

A total of 36 597 hectares of tambak (fishpond) production areas in 11 regencies of NAD Province were recorded prior to the tsunami. These areas were mostly used for rearing shrimp, crab, milkfish and sea bass. The earthquake and tsunami destroyed vast aquaculture areas, particularly those located near the coast. These included 20 000 hectares of tambaks (BRR, 2006), shrimp and fish hatcheries and the Regional Centre for Brackishwater Aquaculture Development (BBAP) at Ujung Batee. Although at a formative stage, mariculture, mainly targeting seaweed (Euchema sp.), grouper and rabbit fish, was underway, particularly on the west coast of NAD, and in Sabang, Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar regency, in the five years prior to the tsunami. Unfortunately, data on these activities are not available.

3.1 NAD Province

3.1.1 Tambak

In 2003, the total area of tambak was 36 597 hectares with an annual average total production of 24 603 tonnes, valued at US$81 million (8 261.4 tonnes of shrimp, 5 113.9 tonnes of milkfish and 11 227 tonnes of other species). Support structures, including water channels, had been rehabilitated through a Fisheries Support Service Project (FSSP), funded by the World Bank in 1995, the SPL-JBIC INP 23 project funded by the Japanese Government in 1999/2000, and the Indonesian Government’s APBN, at a total cost of US$9 322 667.

3.1.2 Regional Centre for Brackish Water Development (BBAP)

The Centre, located at Ujung Batee of Aceh Besar Regency, is 16 kilometres from Banda Aceh city, the capital city of the province; reportedly 80 percent of the Centre was destroyed. BBAP activities covered two villages in Masjid Raya subdistrict. The facilities in Durung village covered an area of 3.55 hectares. Facilities in Neheun village (one kilometre further) encompassed 6.28 hectares.

3.1.3 Private shrimp hatcheries

There were 17 private small to medium shrimp hatcheries producing some 200 million shrimp post larvae a year. It was reported that all of these hatcheries were severely damaged (ADB, 2005).

3.2 North Sumatra Province

Reportedly, most of the coastal waters surrounding the islands of Nias, Central Tapanuli and Sibolga regencies (Tapian Nauli Bay) are suitable for mariculture of seaweed, grouper, sea bass, rabbit fish and other species. The number of marine fish farms in North Sumatra, by the date of the tsunami, probably exceeded 1 000, with each farm usually having four to 20 cage units.

The total number of fishing vessels before the tsunami was recorded as being 18 800 units. Only 7 700 units (43 percent) could fish offshore beyond 12 nautical miles. The rest were small fishing boats operating on a one-day fishing basis (Dinas Perikanan dan Kelautan NAD, 2005). The number of fishing vessels lost or damaged by the tsunami was reported to be many as 9 563 units (3 969 non-motorized fishing boats: 41.5 percent, 2 369 small-motorized fishing vessels: 24.8 percent and large-motorized fishing vessels: 33.7 percent). In addition, 38 fishing ports and fish landings were totally destroyed or heavily damaged (Bappenas, 2005).

Prior to the disaster, the total area of rice fields and plantations in NAD Province was 295 000 and 573 000 hectares respectively (BPS, 2003). As many as 20 101 hectares of rice fields and 67 800 hectares of plantations (coconut, cacao, coffee, cashew nut and sugar palm) were totally destroyed or heavily damaged. Additionally, about 208 000 ruminants and 1 450 000 poultry were killed or lost (Ministry of Agriculture and FAO, 2005).

Table 2 presents a summary of the economic facilities and infrastructure of NAD Province and Nias Regency destroyed by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Table 2. A summary of economic facilities and infrastructure of NAD Province and Nias Regency of North Sumatra Province destroyed by the Indian Ocean tsunami

Facilities & infrastructure


Rehabilitation and reconstruction

October 2005

April 2006


120 000 units

10 119 units

41 734


2 006 units

132 units


Mosques & churches

11 536 units

141 buildings

489 buildings

Health facilities



113 (7 380 health posts)

Fishing vessels


4 379 units

6 160 units


20 000 ha


9 258 ha

Rice fields and plantations

87 901 ha

30 926 ha

37 926 ha


3 000 km


490 km





Micro and small enterprises

100 000

3 640

147 823

Fishing ports and fish landings

38 units











Source: BRR, 2006; Bappenas, 2005.
NA = data not available

The Preliminary Damage and Loss Assessment gave an estimation of damage — destruction of public and private assets such as infrastructure, houses and boats, and losses — for example, the loss of income streams such as personal income and private sector revenue during the reconstruction phase. The assessment was based on various sources of information such as detailed baseline subdistrict data from SUSENAS (the National Economic Census), line ministries, satellite images and field surveys; it covered replacement costs, but not reconstruction needs. The assessment indicated that total losses amounted to US$4.5 billion, which represents 2.2 percent of the national GDP and 97 percent of Aceh’s GDP (Table 3).

While the loss of human life in Indonesia has been calamitous, the overall Indonesian economy has been affected negligibly. The disaster was concentrated in NAD. It is estimated that around two-thirds of this province was very badly affected, while the Nias Islands of North Sumatra Province experienced very limited damage. No major economic activities or heavy industries suffered. Oil and natural gas production facilities in NAD and North Sumatra provinces have survived intact. Moreover, the region is not an important tourist destination. NAD Province accounts for around two percent of Indonesia’s GDP and population.

Table 3. Summary of damage and losses (in billion US dollars)





Social sector

1 684


1 741


1 398

39 1 437
Education 119 9 128
Health 82 9 92
Religious/cultural 83 0 83





Transport 391 145 536
Communications 19 3 22
Energy 68 0 68
Water and sanitation 27 3 30
Flood control 132 89 221

Productive sector




Agriculture 84 141 225
Fisheries 102 409 511
Industry and trade 167 280 447





Environment 155 394 549
Governance & admin. 84 5 89
Banks and finance 14 0 14

Emergency expenditures





2 924

1 528

4 452

Source: Bappenas (2005).

NAD’s population depends mostly on agriculture and fisheries, so the extent of the damage depended partly on how much agricultural land was inundated by the seawater and affected by salination, as well as how many fishery infrastructure and facilities was destroyed. It appears that despite the unprecedented scale of loss of human life, homelessness and displaced populations, the macro-economic impact of the disaster has been limited and marginal. The damage is largely confined to rural areas rather than key economic and densely populated urban centres and industrial hubs. However, the economic impact has been felt severely at the local and community levels, dragging hundreds of thousands of already poor people (fisherfolk, fish farmers and farmers) into even deeper poverty.

4. Post-tsunami problems and issues

During the emergency response phase (24 December 2004 to 26 March 2005) there were incidences of land capture by speculators, powerful individuals or business groups. However, after the establishment of Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstruksi untuk Wilayah dan Masyarakat NAD dan Nias (BRR, Agency for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for the Region and Community of NAD and Nias) on 16 April 2005 through Government Act No.2/2005, such occurrences gradually receded. This was due to cooperation and synergy among the BRR, line ministrial agencies, Badan Pertanahan Nasional (BPN, National Agency for Land), provincial and local governments of NAD and North Sumatra, local communities, and NGOs.

Problems and issues which have not been resolved yet include the development and reconstruction of houses, infrastructure and facilities that violated the spatial plan developed and enacted by the BRR. Many houses, buildings, tambaks, economic infrastructure and facilities were built directly on beaches and river banks — not behind the set-back zone, green belt or other buffer zone stipulations. This is probably because during the preparation of the spatial plan, the BRR did not involve local communities, community leaders and other stakeholders in a participatory manner. Further, most fisherfolk, fish farmers, or other coastal communities, for practical reasons, wanted their houses to be in the same proximity to the sea or rivers as they were before the tsunami. Such physiological or sociological resistance requires a systematic and proper public awareness programme apropos the need for compliance with the spatial plan.

Most fishing vessels and economic assistance granted by donors or even Indonesian ministries were technically or socioculturally not suitable for the local conditions and communities. For example, hundreds of fishing boats donated by the Government of Kuwait were simply too small and not designed for Indian Ocean conditions (R. Dahuri, personal observation). Consequently, most fishing boats remain unused by the needy fisherfolk. This is mainly attributable to weak coordination among the BRR and stakeholders, including provincial and local governments, foreign donors, NGOs and local communities — particularly the survivors. Poor coordination was also aggravated by the shortage of capable staff within the BRR so it could not quickly select and delegate project assistance (for example, fishing boats, tambaks, rice fields) that was technically and culturally suitable to the local conditions in Aceh and Nias. Consequently, many donor agencies, line ministries and NGOs directly implemented their projects without consulting the BRR or the surviving local communities.

Apart from physical and economic damage, the social and cultural impacts of the aftermath of the tsunami disaster are likely to be even more alarming if not addressed properly and quickly. It was reported that during the emergency response phase and the early stage of the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, many donors and NGOs involved local people or survivors in rescue, cleaning, rehabilitation and reconstruction work at much higher pay than usual (Rp.100 000 to Rp.150 0003 per labor day); the average income of local fisherfolk, farmers, and construction workers prior to the tsunami was about Rp.20 000 per labour day. Even worse, many donors (individuals or organizations) at that time gave cash donations to the survivors. Despite good intentions, this charity disrupted the spirit and work ethics of the local people in Aceh and Nias, especially the survivors; it resulted in a spoiled mentality among the majority of survivors — making them dependent on assistance from others and prone to cash for work labor.

In addition, a slow economic recovery programme (especially in the real economy sectors including agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and processing industries, and services which can provide many employment opportunities) generated social distrust and frustration among local surviving communities, creating social unrest and criminal activities.

5. Policies and institutions

5.1 Institutional arrangements for coastal management

Despite the fact that Indonesia is the largest archipelagic state in the world, and in the pre-colonial era was one of the largest sea powers (Wahid and Kariawan, 2005), during the First Twenty-Five-Year Development Plan (1969–1993), national planning and development policies focused on terrestrial development. Not until the late 1980s was strategic attention given to coastal and ocean resources. For instance, the 1988 State Policy Guidelines (GBHN) noted that … “it is necessary to improve the management of coastal and marine areas so as to increase utilization and maintain their sustainability.” Furthermore, the 1993 GBHN noted that … “coastal and marine resources-related aspects are considered as a development sector in itself.”

Yet, prior to the establishment of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MoMAF) in September 1999, which coincided with the transition period from an authoritarian government (the New Order Regime) to a democratic government (the Reform Era), the pattern of coastal and ocean resource development was characterized as extractive. Minimal attention was paid to environmental protection; the seas were considered to be the final receptacle for wastes, most coastal and ocean economic sectors used traditional technology and top-down and centralized approaches were employed. Moreover, policies and programmes related to coastal and marine development were carried out by separate agencies at both central and local government levels with poor, if no coordination at all. No agency at both national and local levels had a full mandate for managing the sustainable development of small islands, coastal and ocean resources.

Many agencies are now involved in Indonesian coastal zone management (CZM). At the national level, 20 agencies have roles and functions in CZM, while at provincial and regency/city levels three institutions are involved (Table 4).

Table 4. National agencies and their roles in Indonesian CZM

Coordinating institutions


National Development Planning Agency

Formulating and coordinating national development policies.

State Ministry of the Environment

Formulating and coordinating national environmental policies and guidelines including those related to coastal and marine ecosystems.

Ministry of Finance

Formulation of fiscal and tax policies, and allocation of government budget for development programmes and routine governmental activities.

Ministry of Home Affairs

Coordinating all provincial and local development planning, governance, and civil servants.

State Ministry of Research and Technology

Coordinating research and development, technology development and dissemination.

National Coordinating Agency for Surveys and Mapping

Studying and formulating national policies for surveys and mapping; developing national spatial data infrastructure (NSDI).

Center of Oceanological Research and Development, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (P3O-LIPI)

Conducting research and development in biological, chemical and physical oceanography.

Regional Development Planning Boards (Province, Regency/City)

Coordinating planning for regional development, the public and private sectors in the province and regency/city, including integrated coastal planning and spatial planning.

Ad hoc committees


Indonesian Maritime Council

To assist the President of the Republic of Indonesia in coastal and ocean-related policy development, to endeavour that the economy is conducive for sustainable coastal and ocean development, and to facilitate coordination among government agencies, the private sector and civil society involved in coastal and ocean development.

Coordinating Committee for National Territory and Seabed Areas

Handling problems related to boundaries with neighbouring countries and international communities.

Coordination Agency for Sea Security*

Coordinating problem-solving efforts concerning sea security, e.g. piracy, illegal fishing by foreign vessels, smuggling and marine pollution.

Ocean Working Group at Province and Regency/City Level

Coordinate the implementation of fisheries and ocean projects in the region.

Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries

Policies for sustainable development of fisheries, aquaculture, fish-processing industries, aquatic biotechnology, sunken treasure and non-conventional marine resource; management of coastal zones and small islands; and management of coastal and marine protected areas.

Ministry of Forestry

Policies for conservation of mangroves, other coastal forests and marine protected areas.

Ministry of Transportation

Policies for sea transportation and mitigation of marine pollution.

Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources

Policies for exploration, production, processing and marketing of energy and mineral resources, including those located in coastal and ocean areas.

Ministry of National Education

Policies for national education including coastal and ocean-related education.

Institute of Oceanography and Hydrography, Indonesian Navy

Gathering hydro-oceanographic data and producing coastal and ocean maps.

Ministry of Industry and Trade

Policies for development of coastal and ocean-related industries, and trade of coastal and ocean products and services.

Ministry of Public Works

Policies for development of infrastructure in coastal areas, coastal construction and engineering.

State Ministry of Tourism and Culture

Policies for sustainable coastal and marine tourism and culture.

State Ministry of Cooperative and Small and Medium Enterprise

Policies for sustainable development of cooperative and small and medium enterprises, including fisheries.

Agency for Marine Affairs and Fisheries at Provincial and Regency/City Government Levels

Planning and implementation of fisheries and ocean programmes in line with national policies in provinces and regencies/cities.

Source: Dahuri et al. (2001).
This agency was dissolved since 2001.

During the New Order Regime (centralized government) all government affairs, including the management of coastal and marine resource development, were planned, implemented and controlled by the central government in Jakarta. However, to enhance efficiency and effectiveness, development programmes were executed by provincial and local (regency) governments under the supervision of the central government. In addition, funding and performance were controlled by the central government (Government Act No. 5/1974).

Since the Reform Era (decentralized government), the devolution of government affairs from the central government to local government has been undertaken gradually. Except for five government ministries (foreign affairs, fiscal and monetary policies, justice, security and defense and religious affairs), other affairs have been the authority and responsibility of local governments (Government Act No. 22/1999 revised under Act No. 32/2004). Such devolution is intended to enable local government and communities (via local parliaments or the House of Representatives) to identify and develop their own local resources (human, natural and artificial) in the context of creating a developed, prosperous and just society.

According to Government Act No. 32/2004, sovereignty over all Indonesian seas or waters (inland, archipelagic and territorial) belongs to the national government. In line with UNCLOS (1982), the jurisdiction of Indonesia’s EEZ is also under the authority of the national government. Furthermore, regency/district governments have jurisdiction (rights and obligations) to explore, utilize and manage (including to conserve) coastal and marine resources occurring within an area from the coastal base line at the lowest tide up to four nautical miles seaward. Provincial governments have jurisdiction to explore, utilize and manage coastal and marine resources located within an area from four nautical miles up to a maximum 12 miles seaward. Thus, the role of the national government in the management of coastal land and coastal waters up to 12 miles seaward is limited to the policy level, setting management standards and guidelines and coordination.

The CZM mandates at the national level including spatial planning, optimal and sustainable utilization of renewable resources (for example fish stocks, mangroves and natural products derived from marine biota), pollution control, rehabilitation of damaged coastal ecosystems, environmentally compatible design and construction, and mitigation of natural hazards, belong to MoMAF. Coordination and integration of coastal and ocean development affairs are the purview of the Indonesian Maritime Council (Dewan Maritim Indonesia, DMI) which is chaired by the President of the Republic of Indonesia; the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries is Executive Chairman.

5.2 Post-tsunami policies, institutions and arrangements

Recognizing the extent of the devastation caused by the tsunami, the Government of Indonesia (GOI) declared the tsunami in Aceh as a national disaster. The GOI appointed the National Coordinating Board for Disaster Management (BAKORNAS PBP) to implement emergency response measures. The Minister for Social Welfare was appointed as the coordinator of the emergency response phase and an operational centre was established in Banda Aceh city. The international response that followed came from all over the world. Some 133 countries provided assistance to this humanitarian mission. During the emergency response, 16 000 soldiers from different countries were deployed in what has been described by observers as one of the largest non-war military missions since the Second World War. Nine aircraft carriers, 14 warships, 31 airplanes and 75 helicopters were deployed for rescue missions, evacuation, logistics and medical support. Eventually, the president declared the end of the emergency response phase on 26 March 2005.

To carry out rehabilitation and reconstruction of tsunami-affected areas of NAD Province and Nias Islands, the GOI established the BRR on 16 April 2005, through Government Act No. 2/2005. The BRR has to accomplish the rehabilitation and reconstruction work between 2005 and 2009. The mandate of the BRR is basically to implement rehabilitation and reconstruction projects which are funded by the GOI. Meanwhile, for projects which obtain funding from foreign donors and NGOs, the role of the BRR is limited to coordination of project planning and implementation.

The BRR has to accomplish four major tasks by 2009: 1) redevelop the life of Acehnese and Nias citizens either as individuals or as social communities; 2) redevelop physical and institutional infrastructures; 3) redevelop the economy of the region so that local communities are able to generate better income for a better life in the future; and 4) redevelop good governance of NAD and Nias to provide public policies, programmes and services.

The BRR’s strategy to implement projects includes formulation and enactment of spatial planning, determining the priority of development projects and coordinating all project activities. Vis-à-vis priorities in project development, the main programmes of Phase 1 (the rescue recovery programme), in 2005, consisted of infrastructure development that supported logistical access and construction of facilities for potable water and sanitation, tents, temporary shelters and housing for refugees. In addition, temporary jobs (livelihoods) in the form of a cash-for-work programme were also provided for survivors. Phase 2 (the recovery programme), in 2006, prioritized the development of housing, transportation and communication systems, electricity and energy distribution and physical and social infrastructure to support long-term economic development programmes. Phase 3, in 2007, will underscore the completion of construction and development of all required housing for survivors and refugees. Additionally, development of physical infrastructure (roads, airports and harbours), as well as infrastructure that supports the investment climate and regional economy, will also be emphasized.

Phase 4, in 2008, will continue the reconstruction and development projects of Phase 3. In addition, the revitalization and development of potential tourist areas, such as the west coast of NAD, the south and west coasts of Nias Islands and along the banks of the Krueng Aceh River, will also be undertaken. Furthermore, the establishment of commercial and business centres, particularly in cities like Banda Aceh, Meulaboh and Gunung Sitoli, will be carried out. In Phase 4, the role of provincial and district governments will be more dominant in preparation for transferring the BRR mandates to the local government. Finally, in Phase 5, in 2009, the reconstruction and development of all physical infrastructure and facilities will be completed. In the first half of this phase, the BRR will focus on capacity building and transfer of knowledge in preparation for mandate hand over to the local government.

From 2005 to 2009, the BRR basically has to carry out seven major programmes and projects:

The formulation of the implementation strategy for rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes and projects has taken into account the vision and mission of NAD Province and its districts and the Nias Islands of North Sumatra Province. This is to ensure that all programmes and projects undertaken by the BRR from 2005 to 2009 are in accordance with the needs and aspirations of local communities and governments of NAD and the Nias Islands of North Sumatra.

In order to carry out its mandates and tasks, ithe BRR is equipped with three boards/councils, namely: 1) the Executive Board (Badan Plekasana); 2) the Steering Council (Dewan Pengarah); and 3) the Supervisory Council (Dewan Pengawas). The Executive Board is responsible for the implementation of rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes and projects; it is chaired by Dr Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, a lecturer at Bandung Institute of Technology and former Minister of Mines and Energy. The Steering Council, which is chaired by the Coordinating Minister of Politics, Legal, and Security Affairs, is obliged to provide direction, strategy, and recommendations to the Executive Board. The Supervisory Council, chaired by Prof Dr Abdullah Ali, a lecturer at the University of Syah Kuala and a well-respected community leader in NAD Province, has mandates to monitor the implementation of programmes and projects, and to handle the complaints of local surviving communities. These three boards and councils are directly responsible to and report to the President of the Republic of Indonesia.

To avoid overlapping and at the same time to enhance the effectiveness of project implementation, all organizations and individuals involved in rehabilitation and reconstruction work in NAD and Nias Islands should submit a concept note (similar to a proposal) to the BRR. Every two weeks the BRR organizes a workshop to discuss and evaluate these concept notes to ensure that the proposed projects or programmes are indeed in line with the real needs of local communities and suitable in the context of local biophysical and sociocultural conditions. Unfortunately, this only looks good on paper; it is very weak in implementation due primarily to a shortage of capable and dedicated staff within the BRR, lack of coordination between the BRR and stakeholders, and no implementation of integrated coastal management (ICM).

6. Lessons learned and recommendations

The aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami should have generated a shift in the coastal management paradigm in countries susceptible to natural hazards. The MoMAF has included mitigation of natural hazards into the national ICM programme since 2001; however, almost all provincial governments, including NAD, failed to implement the programme. The absence of an ICM programme was believed to be one of the major factors, besides the proximity of NAD and Nias to the epicentre of the earthquake, that caused the high death toll, physical and environmental damage and economic losses.

Moreover, there was no early warning system in place, no public awareness programme on indicators of an incoming tsunami (which can help to save lives immediately), no spatial plan for the coastal zone including set-back lines, mangrove green belts and roads connecting coastal areas to upland areas for easy evacuation of people, no consideration of coastal hazards, particularly tsunamis, in the design and structure of buildings (as found in Japan) and no coordination and integration among government agencies, coastal communities and other stakeholders. If such coordination and integration under the umbrella of ICM had existed, the chaotic conditions during the emergency response phase, as well as the inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase (as is currently happening), would have been minimized or even avoided.

Despite the fact that Indonesia has suffered from many tsunami strikes since time immemorial, up until now there has been no single government institution responsible for the effective mitigation of tsunami disasters.

Based upon lessons learned from the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster and the fact that Indonesia is one of the most natural disaster-prone countries in the world, it is timely for Indonesia to establish a national agency specifically and professionally dedicated to the mitigation of natural hazards from planning and implementation to the monitoring and evaluation stages.

To minimize the impacts of a tsunami, mitigation programmes should be embedded into the ICM programme at national, provincial and regency levels. Programme components and mechanisms within the ICM framework should include: 1) an early warning system; 2) structural countermeasures; 3) non-structural countermeasures; 4) tsunami research; and 5) a national disaster management law.

6.1. Establishment and operation of a tsunami early warning system

When it works properly, the tsunami early warning system can save lives. This is a very obvious from tsunami events and their associated death tolls in the past. The early warning system is considered to be the foundation of any disaster management system. With advances in science and technology, accurate forecasting of a tsunami event and express (real-time) dissemination of such information to relevant coastal agencies and communities has saved thousands of lives, infrastructure and properties in Japan, the United States and other countries in the Pacific region. It is very unfortunate that Indian Ocean countries lack this technology.

Indonesia, in cooperation with the United States, Japan, Republic of Korea, Germany and other countries, has committed itself to developing and managing a national Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS) covering all the coastlines of the country as part of the Regional Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean TEWS (Wirayuda, 2006). Indonesia has designed a framework that will be used for establishing an effective and durable Indonesian TEWS at a national scale which could provide a tsunami warning in less than five minutes wherever and whenever an earthquake occurs.

The Indonesian authorities failed to obtain and disseminate information regarding the July 2006 West Java and Central Java tsunami to relevant coastal communities. Therefore, the operation and maintenance of the Indonesian TEWS must be conducted by professional and dedicated management units and staff with full funding support.

6.2. Structural countermeasures

Structural tsunami countermeasures can be grouped into two types: namely, hard and soft structures. Typical hard structures are seawalls, breakwaters and groynes, while soft structures are mangrove green belts, coastal forests and land-use arrangements. Experimental surveys have demonstrated that green belts and coastal forests can significantly reduce tsunami energy (Hiraishi, 2000; Harada and Imamura, 2003). However, for developing countries like Indonesia, the downside of using hard structures is the expense. In addition, they may create aesthetic and environmental problems in the coastal zone.

As the scale and hazard level of a tsunami disaster depends on the population, geology and geomorphology of the coastal zone, coastal land uses and the presence of countermeasures in the affected areas, the effective combination of suitable soft and hard structural countermeasures in Indonesia should be developed. Soft structures, land-use arrangements and set-back zones might be more appropriate for many coastal areas of Indonesia considering the sociocultural and environmental conditions.

The objective of establishing mangrove green belts is to reduce the rate of coastal erosion and tsunami impact on the people, infrastructure and property. Countermeasures, after consultation with the local communities, should be able to provide three lines of defense against a tsunami, namely: 1) hard structures in the nearshore zone which attenuate waves and accelerate sedimentation; 2) mangrove areas in coastal lands, which will be protected; and 3) mangrove areas between the beach and the physical structures, where there is some protection and accelerated sediment accretion (Diposaptono, 2005).

Another alternative is to move people who live in coastal areas which are prone to tsunamis to higher elevations that are safe from tsunami threats. However, this is not an easy task. Most people who reside near the shore earn their income from marine-based activities. As most (65 percent) of the four million Indonesian fisherfolk remain poor, they are unwilling to be moved from the shore due to the general incovenience (Takayama, 1997). A tsunami event is very rare, averaging once every hundred years, so their logic is understandable. Even if they are forced to live on higher land, they will eventually return to their previous homes despite the tsunami threat. Another problem for issuing tsunami warnings is time constraints. Since Indonesia is an archipelagic country, a tsunami can attack in a very short time. Thus, there is not enough time to warn people.

6.3. Non-structural countermeasures

6.3.1 Public awareness

In principle, Indonesia should emulate Japan in increasing public awareness with respect to a tsunami, its devastating impacts and mitigation measures. This can be achieved through education from kindergarten up to university levels. It should also be complemented by systematic media campaigns via radio, television, the Internet and printed matter among other options.

6.3.2 Enactment of a spatial plan

Prior to the establishment of the MoMAF, a spatial plan for the coastal zone did not exist. After the MoMAF came into being, several regencies and cities such as Pesisir Selatan of West Sumatra Province, Bengkayang of West Kalimantan Province, Bontang city of East Kalimantan Province and North Minahasa of North Sumatra Province enacted coastal spatial plans. Unfortunately, provinces, regencies, cities and small islands susceptible to tsunami disasters, such as those along the west coast of Sumatra, the south coast of Java, Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa and Flores do not have coastal spatial plans yet. Thus, all Indonesian coastal areas prone to tsunami and other natural hazards should have coastal spatial plans that incorporate mitigation of natural hazards through set-back zones, mangrove green belts, coastal forests and access roads from the beach to the hinterland for evacuation purposes.

6.3.3 National policy and guidelines for tsunami mitigation

The national policy and guidelines for tsunami mitigation should address ICM and incorporate tsunami mitigation measures. The Indonesian Coastal Zone Management Act (2003) should include mitigation of natural hazards, especially tsunamis. The act is currently being polished by parliament.

The national guidelines for mitigation of natural hazards in coastal zones and small islands aim to educate local governments and communities about natural disaster management, and particularly tsunami events. The objectives of the guidelines are: 1) to enhance mitigation efforts in coasts and small islands; 2) to encourage the active participation of local governments, private sectors and communities in developing and implementing general mitigation measures; and 3) to promote public awareness about tsunamis and other natural disasters and relevant aspects.

6.3.4 Establishment of ICM within the BRR, regencies/cities and provinces

If properly implemented, the ICM programme will not only ensure the sustainable development of coastal zones but also minimize the adverse impacts of tsunamis and other natural disasters. Moreover, ICM also provides a means for better coordination and integration among government agencies, private sectors and communities in promoting sustainable economic growth, the equitable distribution of welfare among citizens, protection of coastal environments and mitigating tsunami and other natural hazards.

It is therefore timely to establish an ICM unit within the BRR at the deputy level to improve coordination between the BRR and local government, local communities, line ministries, international donors and NGOs. This should accelerate and increase the efficiency of rehabilitation and reconstruction endeavours. To avoid the errors that occurred in NAD and the Nias Islands, ICM units should also be established in provincial development planning boards and regency/city development planning boards throughout the country.

6.4. Tsunami research in Indonesia

Research is fundamental for effective tsunami disaster mitigation measures. Recent research agendas have become multidisciplinary, which not only examine comprehensive knowledge about disaster, but also likely impacts on coastal environments and communities, and how communities interact and find solutions given the knowledge of potential disasters affecting them. Research data are important inputs that drive policy directions and significantly affect how governments formulate informed decisions. They also feed into the other components of tsunami disaster mitigation such as education, public awareness, advocacy and information management.

After the 1992 Flores tsunami, scientists in Indonesia became involved actively in tsunami research. Several tsunami surveys and laboratory activities have been carried out. An International Tsunami Survey Team with experts from Indonesia, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Republic of Korea and other countries surveyed the 1992 Flores, 1994 East Java, 1996 Irian Jaya and 2004 Sumatra earthquake–tsunami events. They gathered data on maximum tsunami runup heights, distances, average runup height and areas of inundation, runup and rundown flow patterns, eyewitness accounts and observations of subsidence and uplift. They also conducted numerical and physical modelling on tsunami generation, propagation and runup as well as the effects of mangrove green belts to reduce tsunami energy among other studies. Many agencies and universities in Indonesia have conducted tsunami research (Diposaptono, 2005), including:

6.5. Disaster management law

The December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was a wake-up call for the GOI and people regarding the strategic importance of a natural disaster management system to save people’s lives, coastal infrastructure and properties. The December 2004 tsunami and the July 2006 tsunami that devastated Pangandaran Coast in West Java and Cilacap Coast of Central Java have sent an obvious signal that, except for Kalimantan coastal areas, other Indonesian coastal areas are indeed vulnerable to tsunami disasters. They also disclose that Indonesia’s capacity to mitigate tsunami impacts is extremely weak.

It is therefore imperative to promulgate the Disaster Management Act immediately. It is true that the law alone cannot prevent coastal communities, infrastructures and properties from destruction. However, it provides the legal foundation and legitimacy for the GOI to undertake necessary steps to reduce the scale and extent of tsunami disasters and thus to extend better protection to its people. The Disaster Management Act should encompass the following paradigm shifts:

  1. Shifting from emergency response to disaster risk reduction. As such, the law will require disaster management to be undertaken throughout its cycle and to be made relevant to all aspects of our lives, not only during disaster emergency.
  2. Shifting of protection from the privilege of a few to protection as a human right. The government has the constitutional duty to protect the nation and its people from natural disasters.
  3. Shifting disaster management from government business to the business of all. In this regard, disaster management is everybody’s affair. It is the responsibility of every individual, family, local or national government, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders.


Asian Development Bank. 2006. Tsunami summary.

BAPPENAS. 2005. Damage assessment and recovery. Strategy for Aceh and North Sumatera. Press release.

Badan Rehabilitasi Dan Rekonsruksi NAD-Nias. 2006. Membangun Tahan Harapan. Laporan Kegiatan Satu Tahun Badan Pelaksanan Rehabilitasi Dan Rekonstruksi Nanggro Aceh Darusalam Dan Nias.

Briggs, J.C. 1974. Marine zoogeography. McGraw-Hill Books.

Dahuri, R., Rais, J., Ginting, S.P. & M.J. Sitepu. 2001. Pengelolaan Sumberdaya Wilayah Pesisir dan Lautan Secara Terpadu (Integrated coastal and ocean resources development). Second edition. Jakarta, Pradnya Paramita Publishers. 328 pp.

Dinas Perikanan dan Kelautan NAD. 2005. Fisheries statistics.

Diposaptono, S. 2003. Tsunami disaster mitigation in the context of integrated coastal zone management in Indonesia. In: Proceedings of the sixth multi lateral workshop on development of earthquake and tsunami disaster mitigation technologies and their integration for the Asia-Pacific region. Riken, Ise-Kashikojima, Japan, Earthquake Disaster Mitigation Research Center (EDM).

Diposaptono, S. 2005. Tsunami hazard mitigation in Indonesia. In: Proceedings of the 7th Kyoto University international symposium. Coexistence with nature in a globalizing world — field science perspectives. Kyoto University.

FAO, Deptan & DKP. 2005. Survei Bersama di Daerah yang Terkena Tsunami.

Harada, K. & F. Imamura. 2003. Study on the evaluation of tsunami reducing by coastal control forest for actual conditions. Proc. 2nd Int. Conf on Asia and Pacific Coasts, Chiba, Japan.

Hirashi, T. 2006. Proceedings of the 3rd multi-lateral workshop on development of earthquake and tsunami disaster mitigation technologies and their integration for the Asia-Pacific Region (EqTAP). EDM, November 2000.

Latief, H., Puspito, N.T. & F. Imamura. 2000. Tsunami catalog and zones in Indonesia. Journal of Natural Disaster Science, 22(1): 25–43.

Rais, J., Dutton, I.M., Pantimena, L., Dahuri, R. & J. Plouffe (eds.). 1999. Integrated coastal and marine resources management. Proc. Int. Symp. 25–27 November, Batu, ITN, Bakosurtanal and Proyek Pesisir, Malang.

Statistics Indonesia of the Republic of Indonesia. 2006. Agriculture statistics on NAD and North Sumatera.

Takayama, T. 1997. Tsunami disaster. Proc. 4th Japan-Chinese (Taipei) Joint Seminar on Natural Hazard Mitigation, Kyoto. Japan.

Wahid, A. & H. Kariawan. 2005. Mengisi Krisis Ekonomi: Membangun Ekonomi kelautan, Tinjauan Sejarah dan Perspektif Ekonomi. Jakarta, Teplok Press. 128 pp.

Wirayuda, H. 2006. Tolak Kedatangan Bush, Mahasiswa Segel Istana Bogor. Republika Daily News. Jakarta, Sunday, 12 November 2006.

1 Head of Study Program of Coastal and Marine Resource Management, School of Graduate Studies, Bogor Agricultural University; and Former Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Republic of Indonesia.

2 The total population of Indonesia in 2006 was 230 million people (Central Agency of Statistics, 2006) making it the fourth most populous country in the world after the People’s Republic of China, India and the United States.

3 US$1.00 = Rupiah (Rp.) 9 075 (16 December 2006).

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page