Indonesia extends moratorium on forest, peatland licences

Indonesia, through a Presidential Instruction, has extended the moratorium on new licences for the utilisation of primary forest and peatland, which expires Wednesday.

Its Deputy Minister for Environment Degradation Control and Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Arief Yuwono said the instruction would enable the forestry ecosystem to recover while allowing improvements to be made on its governance.

“The instruction is an instrument which will help the government to focus actions on preventive measures on forest fires, controlling the fires and improve on the law enforcement.

“I believe the enacted instruction that has been approved today for the next two years, can continue to help combat the forest fires and issues relating to it that is causing the haze,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 2nd Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources here.

The instruction, which also complements other existing laws, was first imposed in 2011 for two years, and extended by an enactment on May 13, 2013 for the same period, to correct and strengthen forest management efforts by embedding the principles of transparency and innovation within.

Arief, one of the keynote speakers at the dialogue, spoke on ‘Economic growth and environment protection: A balancing act’.

The preventive efforts, he explained, include enhancing the capacity of the government and local communities to control and patrol primary forest and peatland areas, and engaging all stakeholders on the ground while educating them on the importance of conserving the lands.

They also include building good relationships between the big plantation companies and local communities, hence avoiding conflicts and disputes among them.

Arief added the moratorium is also developing a map reference to manage permits issued for activities that have similar, or sharing, areas of concession.

Asked on the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, Arief said Indonesia, which has expressed its willingness to host the ASEAN coordinating centre in the effort to reduce transboundary air pollution caused by land and forest fires in the region, hopes the proposal would be approved by the 10 ASEAN member states, expected in July.

The 2015 ASEAN Chair, Malaysia, has also expressed the same intention to host the coordinating centre.

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