The environment is an essential aspect of sustainable development. However, in the public policymaking process, the environment often ignored. The environmental issue is often regarded as an externality by the company, because it does not have market prices that have an impact on the company’s production costs, so it is not considered in the decision making of economic activity.

In fact, the environment is something that precious to human life. PWYP Indonesia sees environmental valuation as necessary to calculate the cost of environmental externalities using the environmental, economic valuation method. Therefore, PWYP Indonesia held a Public Discussion “Environmental Valuation in Public Policy and Good and Sustainable Natural Resource Management, last (23/1).

In this public discussion, attend several speakers such as academe/practitioners of environmental valuation, representatives from the Ministry of Finance, and Civil Society Organizations. Martin Siyaranamual, Academics at Padjadjaran University, said that environmental, economic evaluations are usually carried out on public goods where there is no clear ownership, for instance, groundwater, urban forests, and so on. There is a tendency for over-exploitation in the use of these public resources.

“Economic valuation is a valuation method for valuing environmental and social goods/services, it can be a proposal to choose the type of investment. The results of economic valuation are input to a cost and benefit analysis of a project/investment. Besides, the results of economic valuation can be used as a reference for the preparation of compensation,” said Martin Siyaranamual.

Kurniawan Nizar, Director of Assessment, Directorate General of State Assets, Ministry of Finance, added that environmental economic valuations were initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Currently, an Environmental Balance System (SISNERLING) is being built, which will be carried out by BPS with support from across ministries. The Environmental Balance System can be a complete picture of the rich of Indonesia’s natural resources, not only the value of environmental services in each ecosystem. This balance sheet can also be a full picture of the detailed “wealth” of Indonesia’s ecosystems and natural resources.

Rimawan Pradiptyo, Academics of Gadjah Mada University, highlighted aspects of corruption in land management in Indonesia. He regretted that there has been a weakening in eradicating corruption through the weakening of the KPK. Yet, according to him, most of the land conflicts in Indonesia originated from the problem of corruption.

Rimawan added that governance and license supervision need to be improved. No developed country does not have one map and one data. The implementation of one map and one data is still a chore in Indonesia.

Rimawan also highlighted the less participatory preparation of the Omnibus Law. Attracting large-scale investment through the Omnibus Law must not neglect environmental aspects. The government needs to open the academic draft of the Omnibus Law Act to the public, so the process can be more participative.

Maryati Abdullah, the National Coordinator of PWYP Indonesia, said that environmental, economic valuation enables the data based (evidence-based) public policy making process and not solely based on political interest. The assessment is useful in the phase before decision making, planning, and in the evaluation and monitoring of policies.

Basuki Wasis, an expert on environmental damage valuation at the Bogor Agricultural Institute, who was a speaker at the discussion, said, “environmental damage is irreversible or cannot or is difficult to recover. Unfortunately, the government sometimes ignored the environment in the public policymaking process and licensing, for the sake of momentary interests.