Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI) has hailed the government`s plan to sign the presidential regulation (Perpres) on forest moratorium this May.

"WALHI supports the moratorium efforts with measurable and clear stages to improve the condition of forests and the environment in Indonesia by prioritizing the people`s safety," Deddy Ratih, executive forest campaign manager of WALHI, said here Monday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to sign the presidential regulation on forest moratorium this May as part of the implementation of the Letter of Intent (LOI) between Indonesia and Norway.

Since the government announced the moratorium plan in May 2010, there have been promises and media statement only, while forest clearing has continued massively, he said.

The delay in the implementation of moratorium is caused among other things by conflicts of interests among different sectors and lack of coordination among technical institutions.

The moratorium delay has also indicated that there is no serious will to protect the environment and forests in Indonesia.

WALHI hoped that the planned moratorium could become a starting point to recover the country`s environment for the sake of sustainable development for the future generation.

The planned moratorium should emphasize on banning new forest clearing for major-scale plantation industries and distributing land for farmers as well as developing community forest areas, according to WALHI.

The government should also revoke licenses of forest concession holders which have violated environmental regulations and should turn down carbon offset and carbon market offers which could reduce the country`s sovereignty.

The government is supposed to impose a moratorium on deforestation starting January 2011, but it has been delayed for the last four months.

Immediate implementation of moratorium has been called for especially by environmental NGO activists to protect Indonesia`s remaining 130-million-hectare forest, which is the world`s third largest after Brazil and Congo.


Editor: Suryanto
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