Indonesia discusses efforts to prevent forest fires

Indonesia discusses efforts to prevent forest fires

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. (ANTARA/M. Agung Rajasa/P003)

We are agreed that prevention efforts are the best program that we can undertake."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and officers discussed efforts to prevent forest fires in Indonesia in 2016, including the involvement of the private sector.

The coordination meeting was held on Monday at 16.15 pm local time in the State Palace, Jakarta.

The Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, reported on current preparations to prevent forest and land fires.

Pandjaitan said he agreed that prevention of fires is better than having to extinguish fires.

"We are agreed that prevention efforts are the best program that we can undertake. We should prioritize the peat land area to assure it does not burn," Pandjaitan added.

The minister said people should prevent fires from reaching the low levels of peat lands, since these fires will then be more difficult to extinguish.

Pandjaitan also stressed the importance of the involvement of private parties who operate in the regions close to peat land.

The Minister urged the private sector to be more careful and have preparations in place to prevent fires.

"The government will continue law enforcement on forest fires. We will not back down," remarked Pandjaitan.

Additionally, the Head of Meteorological, Climate, and Geophysics Agency Widada Sulistya reported on rain forecasts in Indonesia during the meeting.

"Almost 90 percent of the Indonesian region has entered the rainy season. However, a reduction in rainfall is related to the monsoon," Sulistya said.

The agency predicted the rainy season will enter its peak at the end of January.

During the meeting, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya also reported on peat land restoration efforts.

Further, during the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21), President Joko Widodo said the government continued to reduce carbon emissions, with a target of a 29 percent reduction by 2030.

Indonesia also urged developed and developing countries to display the same commitment.

"The occurrence of forest fires in several regions in Indonesia is a lesson for us, even though for 18 years these fires have been repeated. This should be a lesson," Jokowi said when visiting South Kalimantan Province last year.

Carbon emissions from peat and forest degradation has increasingly become a problem because land and forest fires also damage ecosystems, he added.

(Reported by Hanni Sofia Soepardi/Uu.B019/INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)

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