President announces establishment of peatland restoration agency

"An action plan must be immediately prepared and implemented to especially demonstrate to the international community that Indonesia is serious in dealing with the peatland problem," President Jokowi said.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo announced the establishment of a peat agency at the Merdeka Palace here on Wednesday to restore the peatland areas destroyed by fires in the country last year.

"As we all know, forest fires had ravaged several provinces in the country last year. In connection with this, I today announced the establishment of a peat restoration body based on a presidential regulation I signed on January 6, 2016," he stated at a press conference.

On the occasion, he also introduced Ir Nazir Foead as chief of the body.

President Widodo noted that the leadership of the agency would coordinate the restoration of peatland areas, which were damaged by fires in several provinces.

The president pointed out that Nazir had the required competence and experience, especially in coordinating with ministries as well as state and international institutions.

"An action plan must be immediately prepared and implemented to especially demonstrate to the international community that Indonesia is serious in dealing with the peatland problem," he emphasized.

The Indonesian government has issued a presidential regulation for the establishment of a peatland restoration body to prevent fires in future.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar remarked here on Wednesday that Presidential Regulation (Perpres) Number 1 of 2016 was issued on January 6, 2016.

"Actually, most of its (the peat body) task is to restore the landscape of peatland ecology with regard to saving and protecting them as well as preventing them from fires or being burnt down," she affirmed.

She explained that the institution was tasked with safeguarding, managing, and restoring the peatland areas.

She revealed that two to three million hectares of peatland areas will be restored.

She said several institutions and ministries such as the environment and forestry ministry, the public works and housing ministry, the agriculture ministry, the agrarian and spatial affairs ministry, and the National Development Planning Board will be involved in the effort.(*)

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