Top official: 3 ways of addressing the issue of palm oil plantations in peatland moratorium areas

JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - A top official at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MOEF), San Afri Awang, said that his ministry will look at three ways of addressing the issue of palm oil plantations located in peatland moratorium areas spread across Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo. This follows the release of a report by Greenomics Indonesia which revealed that the majority of peatland moratorium areas are dominated by palm oil plantations.

These three ways consist of reviewing all licenses, extending the registration time for the settling of licenses, and finally by stepping up law enforcement.

The results of the first stage of the MOEF evaluation are scheduled to be completed before May 2016, Awang explained to foresthints.news last Tuesday (Jan 19) in Jakarta.

As a new official who had just signed the peatland moratorium map for the first time, he went on to say that what had been exposed in the Greenomics report was in fact not that much different to the findings uncovered by the MOEF team.

Our minister has already undertaken to conduct fundamental revisions to the tenth primary natural forest and peatland moratorium map soon. This map will be published at the end of May 2016. In fact, the minister made a direct announcement to this effect to the public in mid-December 2015, when the ninth version of the moratorium map was released. This decision of the minister is based on the official findings of the MOEF team, with due regard to the input provided by stakeholders, including that of Greenomics, he added.

Awang explained that one of the most fatal flaws in compiling the moratorium map over the last few years has been a lack of field observation concerning landcover in the moratorium map areas.

The results of my review demonstrate that the moratorium map isnt built on facts, but merely exists on paper. So really there has been no fact-based management when it comes to managing moratorium areas. As a consequence, over recent years, the technical focus involved in implementing the Norway-Indonesia Climate Change Partnership has been very weak and questionable, he explained.

He added that nobody needed to run away from responsibilities to the public.

We at the MOEF will put the three ways into practice very soon. The first and second approach will be prioritized before we resort to law enforcement, he continued.

Awang also urged Norway to provide transparent explanations on issues relating to the implementation of the Norway-Indonesia Climate Change Partnership.