Coalition of Indonesia’s civil society organizations for forest protection today called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to strengthen the deforestation moratorium so as to make it a real instrument to reduce, and ultimately halt, deforestation in the country, a statement released by the coalition said here on Monday.
The call was made by the activists to mark the moratorium’s first year implementation. They released a strong set of recommendations to the government, based on a critical evaluation of the first year of the moratorium, as well as a roadmap of implementation steps and performance criteria to measure the urgent improvements to forest governance required to get the moratorium back on track.
“We look forward to working closely with President Yudhoyono to strengthen and extend the moratorium using the coalition’s recommendations. The existing moratorium only suspends the issue of new forest use permits, it did not order a review of existing permits. There are other glaring loopholes in the moratorium that need to be addressed if Indonesia wants to honor its international commitments,” Yuyun Indradi, Forests Policy Adviser at Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said in the statement.
He expected that with the recommendations issued by the coalition, the president can ensure the moratorium meets its goals.
“We are also calling on Norway to be more proactive in working with Indonesia to reduce emissions from deforestation for the sake of the forests, for the people and the rich biodiversity that depend on them, as well as for the global climate,” Yuyun added.
The two-year moratorium, which entered into force on 20 May 2011, was part of a larger commitment made in 2009, when the president pledged commitments to reduce 26 percent greenhouse gas emissions by own efforts and 41 percent by international support, by 2020.In 2010 Norway provided an added incentive for the moratorium by agreeing to provide 1 billion U.S. dollars to fund the protection of Indonesia’s forests to reduce emissions from deforestation.
However, the activists said, the moratorium was weakened by lobbying from some government ministries under the influence of Indonesia’s pulp and paper, palm oil and mining sectors. As a result, forests continue to be destroyed, and there have been negligible improvements in forest governance.
“The moratorium has been breached many times in its first year. The two-year limit needs to be extended to allow the moratorium to be strengthened and improved. The moratorium should be performance- based rather than time-bound, with clear indicators of success,” Hapsoro, Director of Forest Watch Indonesia said.
Meanwhile, Bernadinus Steni, Program Manager of Association for Community and Ecologically Based Law Reform (HuMA), said that the president’s commitment was undermined by weak legislation and enforcement. “The first year of the moratorium provides little extra protection for forests or carbon-rich peatlands,” he said.
Teguh Surya from Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) said that indigenous people and local communities impacted by forest use should be fully involved in permit issuance process.
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