Indonesia delays moratorium on forest concessions

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Indonesia delays moratorium on forest concessions. PHOTO: Greenpeace

On 30 December 2010, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced that the province of Central Kalimantan had been selected as a pilot REDD province. (More on that decision in a future post.) But four days later, the Jakarta Globe reported that another part of the US$1 billion Indonesia-Norway REDD deal – the moratorium on forest clearing – was delayed.

To make the moratorium legally binding, the Indonesian president must sign a decree. But the government has produced not one, but at least two draft decrees. Now President Yudhoyono is in the difficult position of deciding which decree he should sign.

The Ministry of Forestry produced a draft decree titled, “Suspension of New Permits for Primary Forest and Peatland Conversion”. The REDD-Plus task force produced a second draft decree titled, “Suspension of Services and Issuance of New Permits for Primary and Secondary Forests and Peatland in Forest Areas and Other Uses Areas”.

From the information available in the Jakarta Globe article and a Reuters article, there are some important difference between the two draft decrees:

Ministry of Forestry REDD-Plus task force
The decree refers only to primary forest The decree includes primary and secondary forest
Applies only to new concessions – the moratorium applies to “new conversion permits for primary forests and peatland for two years” (1 Jan 2011 to 31 Dec 2013) Would review existing concessions and consider extending the timeframe
Does not specify the type of permits to which the moratorium applies Specifically mentions logging, plantations and mining permits that would not be issued under the moratorium
Gives instructions only to the Home Affairs Ministry, governors and district heads Gives instructions to the Forestry Ministry, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, the National Land Agency, the national REDD agency, governors and district heads

Exactly how many draft decrees there are is not clear. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, told the Jakarta Globe that there were “plenty” of drafts:

“The drafts are still being discussed at the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy. I have already said that there was a January 1, 2011, deadline, but, as we are still discussing it, I don’t know when it will be issued. I am still hoping that it will be this month.”

Hadi Daryanto, director general of forest management at the Forestry Ministry, is also a member of the REDD-Plus task force. He told the Jakarta Globe that the Forestry Ministry should be in charge of the moratorium arguing that the draft decrees are the same:

“There are no differences between them, the task force only added their input to our draft, including to add the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and National Land Agency into the presidential instruction.”

As the table above illustrates, it is simply not true to say that there are “no differences” between the draft decrees.

Agus Purnomo, the presidential adviser for climate change, also doesn’t know how many draft decrees there are:

“I don’t know exactly how many draft decrees have been proposed for the moratorium. There was one from Emil Salim [the presidential adviser for environmental affairs], one from the Ministry of Forestry and one from Kuntoro Mangkusborto [head of the REDD-Plus task force].”

Agus Purnomo is keen to play down the importance of missing the deadline on the moratorium. He told the Jakarta Post that,

“[T]here is nothing crucial about [the delay]. It’s only a matter of definitions and formulation.”

But as Agus must know, “definitions and formulation” are crucial to whether the US$1 billion REDD deal with Norway makes any difference to deforestation in Indonesia. Whether the moratorium applies only to primary forest or includes secondary forest is a matter of definitions and formulations. As is whether the moratorium applies to existing concessions or not and whether it lasts only two years or longer. The difference will be measured in tens of millions of hectares of forest and peatlands: either preserved or destroyed.

Fitrian Ardiansyah, forest climate policy analyst at WWF Indonesia, revealed his frustration with the situation to Reuters:

“This is already January 2011 and after seven months of discourses and reviews in the public and within the government, the government is yet to produce a clear strategy and legal framework.”

The delay and failure to provide definitions and a legal framework for the moratorium are critically important to its success. On the day after the moratorium should have started, the Ministry of Forestry announced that 500,000 hectares of land concessions will be granted this year in secondary (previously logged) forest. Part of the Indonesia-Norway REDD deal involves establishing a “degraded lands database”. Before work on this even starts, the Ministry of Forestry’s Hadi Daryanto has already decided how much “degraded land” can be destroyed and converted to industrial tree plantations. The Jakarta Globe reported him as saying last week that,

“Indonesia has 35.4 million hectares of degraded forest that we can designate as agricultural and forest concessions.”

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One Comment

  1. Norway , just cant help its self , why don’t they understand that the Indonesian Government does not own the forests,and to log the forests there and replace them with ‘palm oil’ plantations and cheap agriculture food Europe is not reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation

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