Regional autonomy - a workable solution for Indonesia?

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

New laws on regional autonomy and financial control were passed by the Habibie government in 1999. Now, Indonesia is waiting for the regulations which will determine how the laws are to be applied. Implementation is planned for January 2001. But many questions remain about how far the Jakarta government will permit decentralisation to go and how much control it will really relinquish. Also, what are the implications of regional autonomy for Indonesia's indigenous and rural communities who have had little possibility of determining their futures until now? Some NGOs fear that local autonomy will create a new layer of elites among the district authorities; others see new opportunities to manage natural resources more sustainably.

Down to Earth hopes to address some of the questions arising from the regional autonomy debate in the August issue of the newsletter. We would like to receive news of any NGO, community or donor initiatives on regional autonomy, especially those at grassroots level.

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