Govt to implement forest conversion moratorium in January

Jambi, Sumatra  (ANTARA News) - The Forestry Ministry is to implement a 2-year moratorium on the issuance of permits for the conversion of primary and peat forests this year soon.

"The moratorium will apply to primary and peat forests," said Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan here on Thursday, adding that the halt in issuance of primary and peat forest conversion permits would be put into force in January 2011.

He said the moratorium had been agreed on in an Indonesia-Norway Letter of Intent (LoI) signed by the two countries on May 26, 2010. This agreement stipulates that the two-year moratorium must start in January 2011.

The LoI also carries a chapter stipulating the trial implementation of the REDD plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) provinces to be implemented in January 2011 whereas the second phase to be carried out in January 2012.

In tandem with implementation of parts of the LoI, the Norwegian government has disbursed the funding instrument of 200 million US dollar. The Indonesian government on its part is preparing the sectors for the implementation of the cooperation, Minister Hasan added.

He said that the Indonesian side is to establish special bodies as the moratorium executors as well as preparing a five-pronged national action plan which had been prepared during the period of June to December 2010.

The Norwegian government will then select one of the proposals whose condition to be adjusted with the REDD+ pilot projects.

The minister, who was in Jambi province for a working visit, expressed a hope that the two-year moratorium would help reducing carbon emission in Indonesia up to 26 percent until 2020. He acknowledged the critical conditions of forest areas in Jambi.

The 1.0 billion US dollar-value environmental cooperation between the governments of Indonesia and Norway is the first of its kind in the world, something that the global environmental communities expect it to be applicable to other countries.(*)