January 20, 2020

Minister responds to new WEF Global Risks Report

JAKARTA ( - Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya says that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made several concrete moves to protect biodiversity months before the publication of a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) warning about the risk of global biodiversity loss.

One of these significant moves, according to the minister, was the implementation in early August last year of a permanent moratorium on the development of primary forests and peatlands covering in excess of 66.1 million hectares, an area more than 16 times the size of Switzerland.

“Indonesia is one of the most biodiversity-rich places on earth. The permanent moratorium exemplifies President Jokowi's clear position on protecting global biodiversity at a very substantial level,” she explained.

Minister Nurbaya made these comments in response to a newly-published WEF report which highlights global risks for 2020, in particular the risk of biodiversity loss, during a policy discussion at the ministry building (Jan 17).

“In fact, at some levels Indonesia is unique in that it contains ecosystems which serve as a co-habitat for a number of flagship species. The permanent moratorium also plays a real role in protecting these ecosystems,” the minister added.

“Moreover, Indonesia guarantees that there will be no extinction of its flagship species such as orangutans, tigers, elephants and rhinos,” she continued. 

The extent of Indonesia’s biodiversity is widely acknowledged, including by US-based NGO Rainforest Action Network (RAN) which states that “Indonesia’s rainforests are home to some of the highest levels of biological diversity in the world.”

The following photos depict the intact peat forests - spanning an area larger than Singapore - which dominate the  Rawa Singkil wildlife reserve. One of the key spots in the Leuser Ecosystem, this reserve forms a co-habitat for numerous flagship species and lies within the permanent moratorium map.

As previously reported by (Jan 6), the ministry recently provided proof that, as of early January this year, over 90% of this wildlife reserve remains well protected.

The Rawa Singkil wildlife reserve is just one of many parts of the Leuser Ecosystem, the only place on earth where orangutan, tiger, elephant and rhino co-exist in a single ecosystem.

Key to long-term biodiversity protection

Minister Nurbaya described how the permanent moratorium is instrumental in guaranteeing long-term biodiversity protection.

“The permanent moratorium move represents an initiative on the part of the Indonesian Government itself, under President Jokowi's leadership, to ensure there are long-term efforts to protect biodiversity,” she said.

Minister Nurbaya pointed out that Indonesia is the only country in the world which has in place a legally-based permanent moratorium on the development of primary forests and peatlands, the map of which incorporates an area with the greatest biodiversity on earth including various key wildlife species and their habitat. 

“President Jokowi has proven his commitment to the protection of biodiversity through the bold actions he has taken in the face of hugely complex risks and clearly grave threats, especially at the ground level,” she asserted.

Minister Nurbaya said that the inevitable tough challenges that lie ahead have been made more surmountable by the huge steps already taken by President Jokowi to protect one of the world’s largest biodiversity landscapes, here in Indonesia.

“Global stakeholders are most certainly aware of these facts, given the real and traceable ongoing efforts being made by the Indonesian government to protect biodiversity on the ground level,” she said in conclusion.