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Common Platform on Saving Indonesia’s Forests to Protect the Global Climate

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Common Platform on Saving Indonesia's Forests to Protect the Global Climate

Last week, a broad coalition of NGOs in Indonesia called on the “Indonesian and Norwegian governments to close loopholes in a billion dollar deal to immediately implement a moratorium on all further natural forest clearance both within new and existing concession areas.”

On 14 October 2010, the NGOs launched a “Common Platform on Saving Indonesi’s Forests to Protect the Global Climate,” (pdf file 855.5 KB). Speaking at a media briefing about the Common Platform, Berry Nahdian Forqan, Executive Director of WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) said,

“Today we provided Indonesian decision makers with what civil society organizations recognize as minimum criteria and indicators for an effective moratorium. Norway’s negotiations with Indonesia to end forest destruction and to protect peatlands could change the course of history and move us forward to solving some of the major crises of our time: tropical rainforest destruction, species extinction and climate change.”

While the Common Platform and Indonesia’s Draft National REDD+ Strategy are clearly different and the result of different processes, it is interesting to compare the two. The Common Platform is short and easy to read. Indigenous Peoples’ rights are prominent. The aim is clear – saving Indonesia’s forests – and it has concrete suggestions for achieving this aim. The Common Platform includes a recognition that the moratorium is “not an end result but a process toward zero deforestation”. It is an attempt to close loopholes.

In contrast, the Draft National REDD+ Strategy is 84 pages long. It is long-winded and full of the jargon of REDD. Indigenous Peoples’ rights are skipped over. While there are long descriptions of the problems in Indonesia, proposals for resolving these problems are sketchy, to say the least. There are loopholes big enough to drive a bulldozer through.

REDD-Monitor looks forward to comments on this Common Platform – particularly in the context of Indonesia’s Draft REDD+ Strategy.

Indonesia Civil Society Organizations’

Common Platform on Saving Indonesia’s Forests to Protect the Global Climate

October 2010

Across the world, forests and the soil beneath them absorb about a quarter of all carbon emissions. They influence day-to-day weather and help keep the climate stable by storing massive amounts of carbon. Forests also house more than half the world’s species of animals, birds and insects. in addition, it is estimated that some 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, and 60 million Indigenous Peoples depend on them for their subsistence.

Last May 2010 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced a two-year moratorium on conversion of peatlands and forests in Indonesia. In response, Norway promised Indonesia $1 billion under a REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) fast-track financing scheme to assist Indonesia to move forward and bring an end to ongoing deforestation and forest degradation.

As such, any REDD agreement must also abide by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It must fully respect their land, resources needs and ownership rights, and ensure they are directly engaged in the further development of the agreement and its implementation.

The moratorium should not be limited by time but should be based on the fulfillment of criteria and indicators. These should be considered as the enabling conditions towards just governance, sustainably managed forest resources, and zero deforestation. We urge that this criteria and indicators -based moratorium be applied starting January 2011 until the criteria and indicators are fulfilled.

The Indonesia Civil Society Organizations’ Common Platform recommends the following principles to Indonesian and Donor Governments for an effective moratorium.

Definition of Moratorium

An action of stopping any activity of forest conversion and logging for a certain period of time until any related problems of forest management (as well as management of natural resources in general), and governance (including environmental and social issues) find a long lasting and permanent solution

Objectives

  • To determine the best way to resolve and mitigate the negative impacts of unsustainable practices by forest extractive industries
  • To initiate the first steps for forest ecosystems restoration (including peat ecosystems)
  • To improve forest governance and management practices, law enforcement and legal certainty to stop deforestation

Scope

  • Natural forests
  • Intact Forest Landscapes (IFL)
  • Peat land (peat ecosystems) regardless of depth

Principles

  • Moratorium is not an end result but a process toward zero deforestation
  • Moratorium is not limited by time but measured by the achievement of fulfillment on criteria and indicators of good forest governance and sustainable management practices, including environmental and social safeguards
  • Moratorium is not limited in its application only to new permits but should also cover existing permits and stop any logging activities that are using old permits
  • Assurance of remaining forest (natural forest and Intact Forest Landscape) and full peat land protection

Criteria and Indicators

  • No more conversion and forest extraction in the objects of moratorium (natural forest, Intact Forest Landscapes and peat land) for industrial purposes (to be implemented starting 1 January 2011)
  • No more overlap of area or concession and authority in the spatial plan and land use (to be implemented starting 1 January 2011)
  • Assurance and protection of rights to access and control of indigenous/local communities to their living space
  • No permits in the areas that have important ecological status, high conservation value and high carbon value. (Permits issued and/or undergoing application or approval process after the signing of the Letter of Intent on May 2010 are automatically disqualified.)
  • Areas that have protection function and status are restored. Conservation plan should be transparent, inclusive and apply free prior and informed consent. (Areas potentially containing protection function and status as identified and clearly delineated to avoid overlapping with other forest function for extraction are subject to be maintained after the signing of Letter of Intent on May 2010)

Steps to Implement the Moratorium

  • Stop issuing new permits
    1. Proclaim a legal basis (a presidential decree) for moratorium implementation
    2. Stop issuing new permits and renewals of permits for logging concessions, pulp wood estate, plantation and mining
    3. Review of all existing permits on forest extraction, plantation and mining by an independent third party. The result of the review will be used for law enforcement, including revocation, for any finding of illegality
    4. issue a regulation for confiscated timber from illegal logging practices to be directly managed by the Government for social development projects
    5. Develop a strategy on balancing domestic timber supply and demand

  • Save the most threatened forests and peat land ecosystems
    1. Inventory and assess forest areas based on ecological importance (carbon and biodiversity)
    2. Develop an accurate and accessible data base on forest potential, in line with the data base needs for MRV (Measurement, Reporting and Verification) reference
    3. Remap, rezone (re-classification of forest function) and delineate and harmonize this with the National Spatial Planning Process with emphasis on conservation and protection of community livelihood
    4. Develop a national conservation strategy which promotes (indigenous) community based initiatives on restoration / forest management activities and protection of ecologically important areas
    5. Develop safeguards on environmental and social issues
    6. Develop an accountable MRV system which takes the safeguards (environmental and social) into account
    7. Develop a set of terms and consitions for “land swap package” and “structural adjustment package” to save and restore the occupied ecologically important areas (moratorium objects: natural forests, Intact Forest Landscape and peat land ecosystems)

  • Resolve social and land conflicts
    1. Recognize and protect indigenous peoples and local community rights, particularly on natural resources, livelihood and territory / customary land in a clear policy
    2. Develop grievance and conflict resolution mechanisms with credibel appointed institutions or committees
    3. Strengthen policies related to community-based forest management and land reform
    4. Community and civil society engagement in the process of planning, implementation and evaluation of LOI (Letter of Intent) and Moratorium

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  1. Norway’s judiciary, political opposition and media seem not to care about their government’s apparent lack of due diligence in the spending of their national wealth on “REDD” in Guyana and Indonesia.

    This does not bode well for the EU’s Illegal Timber Law – which requires due diligence in all 27 EU member states.