"Indonesia`s Forest Governance Index is still low. There are rooms to improve it, even to implement the existing rules and regulations," UNDP director for Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Haoliang Xu said during an interview here on Sunday evening.
UNDP Indonesia, Ministry of Forestry, National REDD+ Task Force and National Development Planning Board (BAPPENAS) jointly conducted the participatory government assessment (PGA) to provide adequate monitoring instrument for forest and peat land protection in Indonesia.
The index analyses the country`s current state of forest governance and the implications for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
Indonesia, with support from the UN-REDD Global Progamme, is one of the four pilot countries launching a forest governance index. The other countries are Ecuador, Nigeria and Vietnam.
The report covers Indonesia`s 10 provinces such as Aceh, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, Central Sulawesi, West Papua and Papua.
Using a scale of one to five, the result was an index of 2.33 in 2012.
The value was derived from the index average aggregates of forest, land and REDD+ governance at the central level (2.78) combined with the average index value calculated for the 10 provinces with the largest forest areas (2.39), and the average index value of 20 districts surveyed within these provinces (1.8).
"The index provides a quantitative way to see whether current laws and rule in protecting forest is effective," Xu said.
After visiting Central Kalimantan, Xu, who was recently elected as the UNDP Director for Asia Pacific in September, said that there was tremendous degradation of ecosystem in Indonesia.
"From the plane, I can see, some places (forest) are very dense, while many other are seriously damaged," he said.
However Indonesia has shown one of the world`s highest deforestation rates since 1990 due largely to logging, pulp and paper production, agricultural expansion, fires and oil palm plantations.
"The challenge now is how we balance the use of forest between palm oil production, logging and preservation for sustainable development of green growth," he said.
Previously, Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan said the implementation of good forest governance through REDD+ is expected to reverse deforestation rates in Indonesia.
"It could be a good model," the Minister said.(*)