"Good forest governance is about public system and laws to protect the forests and peatlands. We hope the assessment results will be translated into concrete actions to improve forest, land and REDD+ governance," said Country Director of the UNDP Ind
Jakarta (Antara News) - A tag of war between environmental groups and forest industrialists have resumed as Indonesia`s regulation on a two-year moratorium on new licenses for forest clearing in primary natural forests and peat lands, will expire on May 20, 2013.

The presidential instruction no.10 /2011 on forest moratorium itself had to go through a long and winding road before it was finally issued in May 2011 following pros and cons regarding the policy.

Strong lobbies of forestry businessmen had reportedly forced the government to delay the regulation release for several times.

And now as the moratorium regulation is going to end soon, environmentalists have once again strongly recommended the extension of the policy, while the forestry industries suggested on the other way around.

"It is in the process of extension," Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi said in Nanga Badau, Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, on May 11, 2013, adding that the forestry ministry is in favor of extension but the business players in the forestry sector are against it.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan On May 6, 2013 confirmed that the forest moratorium policy to be extended. He, however, stated there would be risk that the forestry companies would sue the ministry related to the forest conversion right for industry. "We would take that risk," he said.

The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki)`s director of law and advocacy, Tungkot Sipayung, was quoted by the media as saying the two-year moratorium was enough to curb deforestation and to lower carbon emissions.

He warned an extension would only incur losses to palm plantation companies that had contributed much to the state income.

On the contrary, a discussion on "Indonesia Forest Moratorium 2011-2013: What Next?", jointly organized by WRI, Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) and Puter Foundation, in Jakarta on May 6, 2013, suggested that the moratorium should be extended and expanded in order to be effective in further reducing gas emissions and deforestation rate.

Daniel Murdiyarso, senior scientist of Bogor-based CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research) believed that the two-year moratorium was only enough to identify challenges and problems, and therefore it should be extended.

Taryono Darusman of the Puter Foundation during the WRI discussion talked about the foundation`s findings on the moratorium implementation at the district levels.

Based on field studies carried out in eight districts in Riau and Central Kalimantan Provinces, quite many local officers did not know about much about the process of the moratorium implementation, including on its monitoring mechanism.

Therefore, an intensive socialization of the moratorium regulations and implementation at district levels is a must, he said.

He also found out that the existing forest map often does not match reality in the fields.

Yani Saloh of the Indonesian President`s Office on Climate Change, in the discussion said in principle a presidential instruction could not be extended. But the moratorium policy could be extended by issuing a new presidential instruction.

In this case, the forestry ministry should report to the president about the past two-year implementation of the moratorium and give recommendations regarding the extension, she said.

The WRI discussion also emphasized the importance of improving forest governance and transparency as well as strengthening the law enforcement in the moratorium implementation.

Greenpeace Indonesia believed despite pros and cons, the forest moratorium has been positive among other things by directing toward a creation of one Indonesian forest map, which is part of the forest governance elements.

"We are optimistic that the moratorium will be extended because a number of key officials have hinted its possible extension," Forest Campaign Manager of Greenpeace Indonesia R Kiki Taufik said on May 9, 2013.

Indonesia has the third-largest tropical forest in the world, which stores massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Indonesia has also made one of the most ambitious commitments to address climate change, pledging to cut emissions 26 percent (or 41 percent with international assistance) by 2020 compared to business-as-usual.

A key element of Indonesia`s climate strategy is the two-year moratorium on new licenses for forest clearing in primary natural forests and peat lands.

The moratorium policy is aimed at creating time to pause to improve forest and peatland management as a manifestation of a low carbon emission development strategy. Therefore, many experts have suggested the moratorium should be seen as an opportunity to begin taking steps towards good governance.

On May 6, 2013, the Indonesian Forestry Ministry and the United Nations of Development Programme (UNDP) launched first forest governance index to address the current state of forest protection and management at the central and provincial administrations. It was reported that around 85 percent of forest managements are in the hand of local government.

"Good forest governance is about public system and laws to protect the forests and peatlands. We hope the assessment results will be translated into concrete actions to improve forest, land and REDD+ governance," said Country Director of the UNDP Indonesia Beate Trankmann.

Head of the National REDD+ Task Force Kuntoro Mangkusubroto claimed that the Indonesian government has placed governance reform in forest and peatland management, including improving people`s welfare at the very core of REDD+ in this country.

This participatory approach assessment could bring all stakeholders to claim their ownership to forest. The law engagement to deal with corruption, illegal logging and clear cut of the forest should be addressed," said Mangkusubroto.

Prof. Dr. Rachmat Witoelar, the Head of the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) in the workshop stressed that the moratorium allows time for the accurate collection of data on forests and peatland areas, which in turn allows for reliable information that can improve coordination of government processes at all levels.

Another speaker, CIFOR Director General Peter Holmgren

advocated a shift towards a more positive focus on "forest governance", arguing that moratorium normally imply a temporary suspension made necessary by policy failures.

The moratorium policy has created a momentum to address uncertainties in the current mapping of national parks and

protected forests at different levels of government.

Nirarta "Koni" Samadhi, the deputy for the Indonesian President`s Delivery Unit on Development Monitoring and Oversight and the chair of the REDD+ Task Force Working Group on Forest Monitoring, told WRI recently that this moratorium is designed to provide "breathing space" for the administration to improve the governance of forest lands.

His office has introduced initiatives like Indonesia One Map Program, which is a mapping system that standardizes disparate accounts of forest cover, land use, and administrative boundaries used by various ministries and local governments.

The moratorium has been considered effective for the One Map development, while in the past many institutions and ministries had used different maps as the basis for the issuance of various management permits.

Environmental groups believed that a harmonized map is important because using different maps could result in poor management, overlapping land claims, and rampant deforestation. ***4***


(T.F001/A/F001/B003) 14-05-2013 14:47:01

Reporter: by Fardah
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2013