Source : Press TV
Jul 10, 2011
By Nico Prins
On May 27, 2011, Norway signed a $1 billion dollar bilateral agreement with Indonesia, the focus is a UN initiative, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.
Indonesia is the third largest producer of greenhouse gases globally. A study by the Indonesia National Council on Climate Change, estimates that almost 80 percent of Indonesian greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation and changing land use, a problem most acute on peat forest.
A central component of this treaty is a two-year moratorium on logging within Indonesia. While supportive of the initiative, many organizations involved in the conservation sector criticize the moratorium for its many loopholes:
A report published by the Ministry of Forestry in April on the plantation sector highlights how criminality undermines current conservation efforts. The report claims mining and plantation firms have violated spatial plans and failed to obtain permits in accordance with procedural forest use. These violations are estimated to have cost the state 18.6 billion dollars.
The problems of enforcement were highlighted on the first day of the moratorium; Palm Oil Firm PT Menteng Jaya Sawi Perdana, a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad, was caught destroying peat forest in one of its concessions.
An investigation by the conservation NGO Telapak, revealed the Government of Norway through its Global Government Pension Fund have significant investments in the plantation and logging sectors, with holdings in 30 companies. This includes Kuala Lumpur based Kepong Berhad whose subsidiary violated the logging moratorium.
Yet to ensure sustained economic growth, in accordance with President Susilo Bambang Yudhyono’s aims of 7% annual economic growth and 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, the Government has to balance the competing demands of regional economic growth with conservation.
What we can be sure of is that there will be many problems to overcome if this logging moratorium is to be deemed a success.