Category Archives: Article

Indonesia to Require Loggers Prove Their Concessions Free of Overlapping Claims

Source :Mongabay – February 02, 2012

Applicants for forest concessions in Indonesia will soon be required to prove there aren’t overlapping claims on their holdings, reports The Jakarta Globe. The move, which offers the potential to reduce land disputes between forest developers and local communities, could complicate investments in the forestry sector in Indonesia.

The Ministry of Forestry announced the new decree Tuesday. The process will be handled by the Agency for Forestry Area Consolidation (BPKH), a unit of the Forestry Ministry.

“The Forestry Ministry is determined to assist in accelerating the process of comprehensively determining the boundaries of forests by appointing the BPKH as technical assistant,” Hadi Daryanto, the secretary general of the Forestry Ministry, was quoted as saying by the The Jakarta Globe.

Any area found to have overlapping claims “may be taken out of the concession to be awarded, designated as an enclave, recognized as a customary forest or designated as a forest with special purposes,” according to the report. Local communities may be allowed to jointly manage contested areas with the concession-seeker.

The decree could have far-reaching implications in Indonesia, where disputes over forest land are common and sometimes turn violent.

Logging concessions and large-scale plantation development — including oil palm and wood-pulp plantations — have often displaced traditional forest users. The Ministry of Forestry, which controls roughly 70 percent of Indonesia’s forest estate, generally doesn’t recognize traditional land claims, despite laws requiring it to do so. Instead, the ministry grants these community lands to developers, who pay for the privilege of converting the forest. When conflicts arise, developers may rely on state security forces to intimidate or even forcibly displace villagers.

Last year, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of the Indonesian President’s REDD+ Task Force, said the government would immediately work to implement a decade-old law that requires recognition of adat or customary rights. The effort will include developing a land tenure map so government agencies can better understand how communities are using land and delineating the legal status of the Indonesia’s forest area. Only 12 percent of the Indonesia’s forest area has been legally delineated, according to Kuntoro.

Link : http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0201-indonesia_logging_conflicts.html?utm_campaign=General+news&utm_medium=Twitter&utm_source=SNS.analytics

Indonesia Signals Intent to Conserve Borneo’s “Lungs of the World”

Source : WWF – 26 January 2012

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a decree on Jan 5 authorising conservation of at least 45 percent of its share of the island of Borneo, known as Kalimantan.

The decree covers a massive area of more than 250,000 km2 encompassing vast tracts of rainforest in the Heart of Borneo and landscapes beyond.

“At least 45 percent of Indonesian Borneo will serve as the lungs of the world… with the plan ensuring that local ecosystems are protected and the biodiversity of the island is allowed to flourish,” a presidential press release said. 


Indonesia is rated as the world’s third-worst emitter of greenhouse gases with emissions mainly due to deforestation caused by expanding palm oil, timber and pulp & paper industries.

“We hope with the decree, Indonesia will be able to meet its target of reducing gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020,” forestry ministry secretary general, Hadi Daryanto, told the international media.

The regulation looks to promote the sustainable use of the island’s resources while ensuring an ambitious network of conservation areas are linked together by a series of “ecosystem corridors”. In addition, existing protected areas are to be strengthened and degraded areas rehabilitated.

A new measure of capital?



The Presidential press release also noted that Kalimantan would become a center for plantations of palm oil, rubber and other sustainable forest products, an issue which has raised concerns amongst some international organizations.



Adam Tomasek, head of the WWF’s Heart of Borneo Initiative, believes the new decree offers a fantastic opportunity to secure the future of Borneo as a place where sustainable development exists in balance with a practical and beneficial conservation regime. However, the targets set out in the regulation will not be met unless the values of ecosystems and biodiversity, or ‘natural capital’, become key features of future economic development planning.

“WWF has been working for a long time with both National and local governments to develop spatial plans, and engage businesses and communities to drive conservation and sustainable development in Borneo. The decree is a leadership statement from the President of Indonesia that will help ensure the previous commitments on the Heart of Borneo will be met,” Mr Tomasek said.

Link : http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?203266/Indonesia-signals-intent-to-conserve-Borneos-lungs-of-the-world

REDD+: Opportunities to Alter Deforestation

Source : Jakarta Post – January, 26 2012
By Agus Purnomo and Yani Saloh

The recent Durban climate talks had mixed results and different implications for each country, including Indonesia. On the main issue of reducing emissions from deforestation and peat land conversion, known as REDD, Durban made progress in setting reference emissions levels, measuring emission reductions (including agreements on measuring), reporting and verifying (MRV) of achieved REDD+ outcomes, and the implementation of safeguards to mitigate negative impacts of REDD+ projects.

Agreements on REDD+ are good news, although a decision on REDD+ financing remained elusive. The debate centered on whether REDD financing should come from markets, public funds or a combination of both. Indonesia opted to for a combination of public and private funds, because neither can achieve the necessary mobilization of funds in the next several years on its own.

A failure to mobilize the REDD+ funds will deflate the enthusiasm to implement REDD+ activities on the ground, which means a serious delay of REDD+ implementation at the expense of both the communities that are dependent on forest resources, and the global population from continued destruction of primary forests.

Durban‘s failure to reach a decision on the sources of long-term financing will create uncertainty for REDD+ funding, and thus undermine REDD+ itself. There is no clarity about how much funding will be available or the mechanisms in place to channel REDD+ funding to local stakeholders. Such obscurity in the future of REDD+ is mainly due to a lack of commitment among developed countries to curb their carbon emissions.

In Indonesia, the government remains poised to implement REDD+ activities and is keen to get the ball rolling. The decision in Durban on reference emissions levels, safeguards and MRV, can move us forward to REDD+ implementation at the national level.

Decisions on reference emissions levels should help Indonesia move forward in earning emission reduction credits, to be accounted for under the first and second period of commitments to the Kyoto Protocol. The reduced emissions from REDD+ pilot projects can receive funding to help push the plan forward.

The MRV will determine the number REDD+ credits that can be traded under the EU’s emission trading scheme (ETS). The ETS is the largest greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme in the world, though its current demand is insufficient to provide meaningful incentives for REDD+. Without deep emissions cuts by European countries, the demands from EU ETS will only be sufficient for existing Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, which mostly are industrial and fossil fuels based emissions.

Indonesia has adopted a strategy to cut its carbon emissions by 26 percent based on projected emissions for 2020, while seriously trying to achieve a 7 percent economic growth rate. This 26/7 strategy is expected to deliver low carbon development and contribute to global action to reducing carbon emissions. REDD+ is central to this 26/7 strategy.

Prior to outlining the 26/7 strategy, Indonesia has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Norway to jointly promote REDD. To implement the LoI, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono created an REDD Task Force and selected the province of Central Kalimantan as a REDD Pilot Province.

Central Kalimantan’s land area is about 15 million hectares, of which 70 percent is still forested. It also has approximately 3 million hectares of peat land. The province is rich in biodiversity and its forests provide many ecological services, of which carbon storage but one of them. The forest’ water catchments provide productive downstream agriculture and serve as sources of energy for downstream communities.

Central Kalimantan has had consistent economic growth of around 6 percent for the last 6 years. Unfortunately, the growth in Central Kalimantan came from unsustainable practices in agriculture and mining. To become a “green” province, Central Kalimantan needs to curb such quick-yielding but destructive activities, and move toward a low-emission development path at the earliest opportunity.

The challenge for the national government in Jakarta, and also for the international community, is to create an enabling environment in Central Kalimantan through sufficient incentives and a supportive policy environment in implementing sustainable development. Such incentives are needed sooner rather than later, and REDD is currently the only scheme on the table for immediate utilization.

Research in has shown that based on current practices, emissions levels in Central Kalimantan in 2020 are expected to be 50 percent higher than emissions in 2005, making it one of Indonesia’s highest emitting provinces with about 17 percent of the total national emissions in Indonesia. Forest fires, palm oil and peat decomposition are the largest drivers of emissions in the province.

The chair of Indonesian REDD Task Force, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, at an event on the sidelines of the COP-17 meeting in Durban, acknowledged the complexity of land tenure problems in Central Kalimantan.

The province is suffering not only from the continuing impacts of the failed Mega Rice project under president Soeharto’s administration, which has damaged hundred of thousands of hectares of peat land forests, but also from overlapping concessions between central and provincial level authorities, and between different sectors. The fact that indigenous people’s rights have not been fully recognized makes such overlapping concessions a problem of an even more sensitive nature.

The complicated challenges in implementing sustainable development are not unique to Central Kalimantan. However, with a relatively small area to work with, compared to more than a hundred million hectares of forests through out Indonesia, the government can experiment with selected sectoral reforms and integrated approaches.

Simply said, the REDD+ Task Force and the Central Kalimantan government will embark on a review of existing licenses for mining and plantations within a few selected districts, and explore the legal options for honoring the rights of indigenous people. The Central Kalimantan pilot project will allow the world to share lessons learned.

But, our determination can only yield results if the developed countries are serious in both acknowledging their historical responsibility in accumulating CO2 in the atmosphere and changing their polluting lifestyles.

Though one can be sympathetic to the domestic challenges in the US, Japan, Russia and Canada to support the second period of commitment under Kyoto Protocol, their absence in committing to the only global regime to reduce carbon emissions is a betrayal to more than 180 countries that have worked hard to keep the earth safe for humanity and all other species.

It is also absurd to demand developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia, to commit to reducing emissions, while the advanced economies, with almost half of the global GDP, continue to live in amnesia of their past responsibility and dodge their responsibility to reduce future carbon emissions.

Such ignorance will exacerbate the delays in the implementation of REDD+ activities and further discourage communities and companies to cut emissions from Indonesian forests and peat lands.

The writers are staff members of the presidential office on climate change.

Link : http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/01/26/redd-opportunities-alter-deforestation.html

Economic Incentives Could Massively Reduce Deforestation Emissions in Indonesia

Source : Environmental Protection – January 17, 2012

Indonesia has the potential to realize major reductions in national greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, and simultaneously earn significant new income for national and regional governments, if policies to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) are developed with strong and specific economic incentives, said scientists in a new paper published in the leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

These encouraging conclusions were reached following groundbreaking economic modeling performed by scientists who reviewed observed deforestation in Indonesia from 2000 to 2005, as well as variations in the benefits and costs of converting land to agriculture during that same period. Scientists then mapped and estimated the impacts that alternate economic policies, such as cap-and-trade, simple voluntary, or well-structured voluntary incentive structures would have had on reducing emissions during that time.

The study, “Structuring economic incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation within Indonesia” was led by scientists at Conservation International and Environmental Defense Fund, with co-authorship from Padjadjaran University and World Resources Institute.

The authors’ research makes a strong case for Indonesia to design a comprehensive, national-level set of economic incentives for reducing deforestation emissions at broad scales to achieve maximum climate and financial benefits from the U.N.-supported REDD+ program.

“Our goal with this research was to provide Indonesian leaders a window into a climate-smart future”, said Dr. Jonah Busch, lead author and climate and forest economist for Conservation International. “By studying the recent past, and comparing historic economic conditions with deforestation rates, we estimate the likely financial benefits of different policies for slowing deforestation in the country’s future.”

Dr. Ruben Lubowski, co-author and chief natural resource economist in the international climate program at Environmental Defense Fund, added, “This is the first time potential emissions reductions from deforestation in Indonesia have been estimated using actual historical data on how deforestation varies with economic factors. Our analysis shows that the way REDD+ policies are designed can make a huge difference in achieving large-scale, cost-effective emissions reductions.”

Scenario one, which reviewed the likely outcome of a cap-and-trade or tax-and-subsidy program with international carbon payments at $10/ton, revealed the highest potential benefits for Indonesia during the 2000-20005 study period:

• Reduction in national emissions from deforestation 26 percent below reference levels
• Avoidance of 211 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from deforestation emissions every year
• Annual net revenue (national revenue minus expenses) of +$1 billion per year for Indonesia

A second scenario, which explored the outcome of a payment-for-ecosystem service program on a site-by-site basis would have been less effective in preventing deforestation from shifting within the country and have accomplished significantly less:

• Reduction in national emissions from deforestation by just 8 percent below reference levels
• Avoidance of an estimated 62 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from deforestation emissions every year
• Annual net cost (national expenses minus revenue) of -$6.2 billion paid per year for Indonesia

A third scenario, which may offer Indonesian leaders a more politically attractive option to a mandatory system, would be voluntary but nearly as effective. This approach would require a well-structured incentive structure based on several critical policies including: a combination of shared revenues and responsibilities for the program between national and subnational governments; benchmarking within-country incentives against the best estimates of future “business-as-usual” deforestation rates; and making payments for emission reductions to districts or provinces, rather than individual sites, to help account for less predictable emissions at the local level. These could achieve:

• Reduction in national deforestation emissions by 22 percent below reference levels
• Avoidance of an estimated 175 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from deforestation emissions each year
• Annual net revenue of +$331 million per year for Indonesia

“We find that Indonesia’s choice of policies for REDD+ will greatly affect the level and cost-effectiveness of greenhouse gas reductions, as well as the distribution of the costs and benefits within the country,” said Busch. “Using cap-and-trade rather than simple voluntary incentives can make the difference between a program that reduces national emissions by 8 percent and costs $6.2 billion (USD), and a 26 percent reduction with $1 billion in revenue. A well-structured voluntary program could bring about a 22 percent reduction with $330 million in revenue.”

“Indonesia has a valuable opportunity to inform its National Strategy for REDD+ with this scientifically sound analysis on the kinds of policies and incentives that will deliver the highest economic returns, and largest reductions in carbon dioxide emissions,” said Fred Boltz, senior vice president and Climate Change Lead for Conservation International, and paper co-author. “As a critical leading nation in REDD+ efforts, Indonesia has made important emissions reduction commitments. We hope that this study will enable Indonesia’s leaders to adopt policies that achieve the greatest benefit for its people, its rich biodiversity and for the global climate.”

To conduct the scenario modeling, scientists employed OSIRIS-Indonesia, or the Open Source Impacts of REDD+ Incentives Spreadsheet, a suite of free, transparent, open-source, spreadsheet-based decision support tools for estimating and mapping the climate, forest and revenue benefits of alternative policy decisions for REDD+.

The research was facilitated with generous support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Link : http://eponline.com/articles/2012/01/17/economic-incentives-could-massively-reduce-deforestation-emissions-in-indonesia.aspx

Tackling illegal logging in Aceh, Indonesia

Source : Flora-Fauna – January 13, 2012

Illegal logging is a serious problem around the world, not least in Indonesia which is home to 10% of the world’s tropical forests.

Following the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Aceh’s pristine rainforest and its timber came under unprecedented pressure to supply the large-scale reconstruction effort in this Indonesian province.

This was cause for concern for Fauna & Flora International (FFI) which has been working in Aceh’s Ulu Masen ecosystem since 1998.

The 738,000 ha Ulu Masen landscape is rich in biodiversity, supporting over 300 bird species as well as globally important populations of Sumatran tiger and Asian elephant.

It also provides invaluable social, environmental and economic services (such as clean water supplies and flood prevention) to over a million people.
A collaborative approach

In 2008, in an effort to tackle the large-scale deforestation in the area, FFI and local partners designed and implemented an ‘anti-illegal logging network’ for Ulu Masen’s forests.

Mr Wahdi Azmi, FFI’s Forest Conservation Manager described the approach, “We are working with all of the main stakeholders: from local NGOs who monitor and report illegal forest activities, to law enforcement agencies who then respond in the field.”

FFI has now published a new report which outlines the compelling results from this project:

Over 12 months 190 forest offences were reported, which resulted in 86 law enforcement operations
In total, 251 m3 of illegal timber, 26 vehicles, 17 chainsaws and two industrial saws were seized and three sawmills closed, all of which were used for illegal logging
138 suspected illegal loggers were arrested. From 45 cases monitored until a known outcome approximately half (48.3%) received a prison sentence (4 months to 4.5 years), while 41.4% received a verbal warning for a first offence. The remaining 10.3% were awaiting a final verdict.

Mr Rahmad Kasia, FFI’s Forest Crime and Investigation Coordinator said, “FFI has taken on many of the recommendations made in the report. We’ve provided a sub-grant to a local NGO so they can keep monitoring the situation and build community support for our work. We’ve also signed a formal agreement with the Aceh police, which should increase their on-the-ground response.”
The future of Indonesian forests

The Government of Indonesia is currently preparing to implement a nationwide strategy to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

These REDD+ projects have the potential to generate billions of dollars and yield significant biodiversity benefits, but the Government of Indonesia first needs to demonstrate its ability to meet pre-agreed targets for reducing forest loss.

In turn, this will require the establishment of a comprehensive strategy that tackles both illegal timber felling and land encroachment, which so far has generally been lacking.

FFI’s Ulu Masen report outlines a multi-stakeholder approach that could form the basis for such a strategy, and will help planners to predict and mitigate potential problems before they arise.

Link : http://www.fauna-flora.org/news/tackling-illegal-logging-in-aceh-indonesia/

ARTICLE: WWF-Indonesia: More Homeworks After Durban Talks

Source : WWF- December 13, 2011

The United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCC) COP 17 n Durban finally closed two days earlier than its schedule. The final agreement reached at the Durban talks has not addressed the need of legally binding commitment towards a global emission reduction, particularly those developed countries (Annex I Kyoto Protocol) to uphold their global temperature increase to below 2°C. In fact, some scenarios in Durban could lead to unstable future,which sets us on a path towards 4°C warming world!

However this heart-breaking result is not a surprise It reflects that although all countr ies have experienced the danger of climae change, most of them are still under domestic political pressure. Some developed countries, after all, hesitate to push strong will to support multilateral agreement.

WWF-Indonesia Climate and Energy Program Director, Nyoman Iswarayoga said, “The extension of the Kyoto Protocol into the second commitment period from 2013 to 2018 has swept away people’s anxiety toward the core spirit of the “common but differentiated responsibility” principle. However, we need to boldly underline that this second commitment is not strong enough to tackle climate change challenges both for developed and developing countries. The Quantified Emission Limitaton or Reduction Objectives (QELROS) is also excluded in the commitment.”

The most notable outcome of COP17, “The Durban Platform,” operates the Cancun Agreement which includes the establishment of Adaptation Committee, Technology Mechanism, and Green Climate Fund.

“Unfortunateley, the Durban Platform committed by 195 countries has only negotiated a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force by 2015 with implementation from 2020,” he emphasized.

Many negotiators had left Durban with disappointment due to the slow negotiaton process and no binding deals.

Homeworks for Indonesia
Apart from the international agreement reached in Durban, hope that all decision makers and negotiators in all countries, including Indonesia acknowledge that climate change has made the human basic needs; Food, water, and energy are in their critical points.

In order to free from “Busines-as-Usual” scenario, commitments and real actions which are able to bring us to the expected threshold of green house gas emission are urgently needed. Therefore, on the road to the next COP 18 in Qatar, every stage of negotiation in Durban has not only created hope or become a discourse, but it has to support the completion of a series of unfinished tasks Indonesia has brought home.

For example, Nyoman mentioned some aspects related to the negotiation progress on REDD+:
1. For full implementation and operation, instuments or basic infrastructure elements for instanceNational Strategy, which covers REL/RL, MRV, and safeguard
information system have to be prepared
2. Indonesia has to continue the efforts on implementing voluntary commitments which have been regulated in Presidential Regulation 61/2011 on National Action Plan for reducing Greenhouse Gas emission. Thus, the REDD pilot project in Indonesia will be supported with regulatory certainty.
3. Through various REDD+ pogram and National Action Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gas emission, Indonesian Delegations can play significant role after Durban talks by encouraging other parties particularly developed countries to inscribe their commitments.

Meanwhile for adaptation, he highlighted the importance of National Action Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gas emission and how Indonesia can function the Adaptation Committee and Adaptation fund to improve our adaptability and resilience toward disastrous climate change.

Dealing with climate change threats needs collective actions from various sectors. By doing so, we will be able to secure the global average temperature rise below 2°C, the expected threshold to avoid catastrophic warming.

For interviews, please contact:
1. Nyoman Iswarayoga, Climate and Enery Program Director, ,email: niswarayoga@wwf.or.id
2. Iwan Wibisono, Forest Climate Policy Coordinator, iwibisono@wwf.or.id
3. Rini Astuti, Policy Coordinator for Climate and Energy Program,email:rastuti@wwf.or.id

Contact for Media, Photos, and Video:
Verena Puspawardani, Campaign Coordinator for Climate and Energy Program, ,email: vpuspawardani@wwf.or.id

Notes to Editor:
About WWF- Indonesia
World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) is a global conservation organization, a network organizations which operates in close to 100 countries worldwide. WWF-Indonesia is a part of this independent foundation, registered under Indonesian law. In carrying out its conservation work, WWF-Indonesia has 25 project offices in 17 provinces. This organization works with local governments through practical field projects, scientific research, advising local governments on environmental policy, promoting environmental education, empowering communities, and raising awareness on environmental issues. More info about WWF, visit www.panda.org; or our local site http://www.wwf.or.id and WWF-Indonesia supporter website in http://www.supporterwwf.org
© WWF@COP17

Link : http://www.wwf.or.id/en/?23860/Pemerintah-RI-punya-banyak-pekerjaan-rumah-pasca-Durban

Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry Amends Moratorium Map and Excludes Oil Palm Concession Issued in Breach of Moratorium

Source : REDD Monitor – 14 December 2011
By Chris Lang

In August 2011, Irwandi Yusuf, governor of Aceh, signed a permit for a palm oil concession in the Tripa Peat Swamp, apparently in breach of the moratorium on new forest concessions under the Indonesia-Norway US$1 billion REDD deal.

The permit allowed PT Kallista Alam to clear 1,605 hectares for oil palm plantations. Walhi Aceh filed a legal case against Governor Irwandi in the Aceh administrative court. REDD-Monitor wrote about this story here, based on a press release from Walhi Aceh.

During the UN climate negotiations in Durban, the story was picked up by Reuters and Associated Press. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the chair of the REDD+ task force, gave a critical response to Reuters:

“I spent four years in Aceh during the tsunami reconstruction. Opening up Kuala Tripa – an area with high conservation value and home to many animals endemic to Indonesia – is a grave mistake. . . While we recognise the need for the palm oil industry to also grow, signing an agreement with a palm oil company to allow the conversion of protected peat land into palm oil plantations, very clearly breaks the moratorium.”

Ahmad Fauzi Mas’ud, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forestry, told Associated Press that, “We haven’t received the documents for this license yet. But if it’s inside peatland, it can’t be converted.”

Tim Koalisi Penyelamatan Rawa Tripa (TKPRT – Coalition Team for the Rehabilitation of Tripa) produced a map of the concession overlaid on the moratorium map. The concession area is clearly marked red, and therefore off-limits under the moratorium for conversion to oil palm plantations.

At this point, the story takes a strange turn. The moratorium map is revised every six months. The first revision of the map was released on 22 Novemeber 2011 and the red area of PT Kallista Alam’s concession has gone.

A comparison of the two maps show that the concession area is not the only red area (i.e. protected area under the moratorium) to have been removed from the map.

Hadi Daryanto, secretary general at the Ministry of Forestry told the Jakarta Post that the permit should not have been issued under the terms of the moratorium:

“It’s clearly a violation because the area in question is a peat forest. On the moratorium map it’s clearly marked out as protected, but in the revision that followed, it was somehow excluded. That exclusion in itself is also a violation because it occurred after the moratorium went into effect.”

Elfian Effendi, Greenomics Indonesia Executive Director asks how this could possibly have happened. In a press release (below) Elfian says,

“This is a truly embarrassing state of affairs. That implementation of the moratorium has been characterized by a lack of synergy and coordination.”

Below Greenomics Indonesia’s press release is a clarification issued by Kamaruddin, legal council to the Coalition of Communities Concerned for Tripa.

Revised moratorium map gets Aceh governor’s problematic palm plantation license off the hook

Press Release by Greenomics, Jakarta, 12 December 2011

Greenomics Indonesia can reveal that the first revision of the indicative map on the moratorium on the granting of new forestry licenses for natural forest and peatland, which was adopted by virtue of Minister of Forestry Decree No. SK. 7416/Menhut-VII/IPSDH/2011, dated 22 November 2011, validates the issuing of palm plantation licenses by Aceh Governor Irwandi Yusuf for peatland that was previously covered by the moratorium.

“One block of peatland that is included within the palm plantation concession of PT Kalista Alam and which extends to 1,065 hectares in Nagan Raya Regency, the license for which was granted by Irwandi, has been deleted from the first revision of the indicative moratorium map,” explained Elfian Effendi, Greenomics Indonesia Executive Director, in Jakarta on Monday (12/12/2011).

Elfian said that Sheet 0519 of the revised indicative moratorium map revealed that the area concerned was no longer colored red, as it had been in the original map.

“In fact, the peatland that is no longer colored red exceeds the area of the palm plantation concession granted by Irwandi,” Elfian continued.

Greenomics Indonesia has asked Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the chairman of the REDD+ taskforce, to provide a public explanation of what has transpired is his capacity as an official observer of the moratorium’s implementation.

“This is especially important given that Kuntoro told Reuters news agency on 8 December 2011 that the opening up of peatland in Kuala Tripa, the area where the palm plantation license was issued by Irwandi, was a grave mistake. Kuntoro also advised the Aceh Provincial Government to review its decision to grant the palm plantation license and to seek alternative land for the development of such plantations,” Elfian said.

He added that Kuntoro’s statement appeared to be at odds with the first revision of the indicative moratorium map, which removed the land covered by the license issued by the Aceh Governor from the peatland block shown in the original indicative moratorium map, which was issued on 17 June 2011.

“In fact, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry, Hadi Daryanto, has stated that the license issued by the Aceh Governor violates the indicative moratorium map. If that’s the case, why has the Minister of Forestry now gone ahead and removed the peatland area in question from the revised map? This is a truly embarrassing state of affairs. That implementation of the moratorium has been characterized by a lack of synergy and coordination,” Elfian stressed.

Elfian said that Nowegian Ambassador Eivind Homme had also told Reuters on 8 December 2011 that he was surprised to hear reports of the violation of the moratorium by the Aceh Governor, and that he had asked the central government to conduct an investigation.

“By excluding the area of the palm plantation concession from the area covered by the moratorium in the revised indicative map, the central government will now need to also investigate its own actions to find out why this has happened,” Elfian said.

A Clarification of the Press Release by Greenomics on 12 December 2011.

By: Kamaruddin, legal council to the Coalition of Communities Concerned for Tripa.
13th December 2011.

The press release by Greenomics on 12/12/2011 must not be allowed to confuse the legal issues concerning the permit issued by the Governor of Aceh on 25 August 2011.

While Elfian of Greenomics points out that the revised Moratorium map issued with the Minister of Forestry’s Decree No. SK. 7416/Menhut-VII/IPSDH/2011, dated 22 November 2011, removes the area of the new concession license issued to PT Kallista Alam from the original Moratorium map, this does NOT substantively affect the legal infractions that community members reported at the National Police Headquarters on 23 November 2011.

It is important to view the legal validity of the new concession issued by the Governor of Aceh within the wider legal context in Indonesia, not just the Moratorium on new permits established by the Presidential Instruction No. 10 of 2011. In their press release, Greenomics unfortunately fail to point out that the new concession breaks several national laws and regulations, in addition to the Presidential Instruction, all of which have higher legal status than the Minister of Forestry’s Decree:

1. Law No.11 of 2006 concerning the Governance of Aceh, which under article 150 mandates the protection of the Leuser Ecosystem and its restoration; and article 147 which states that the development of Aceh must conform to the National Spatial Plan and be based on sustainability, protection of environmental functions, appropriate utilization, and equitability;

2. Law no. 26 of 2007 concerning Spatial Planning, and its derivative Government Regulation 26 of 2008, in which the Leuser Ecosystem was established as an Area of National Strategic Importance for Environmental Protection. Therefore the issuance of any exploitation permits contradictory to this function within the Leuser Ecosystem constitutes a criminal act.

In the hierarchy of Indonesian legislation, a Law (Undang-Undang) has higher legal status than a Presidential Instruction (Instruksi Presiden), which is higher than a Ministerial Decree (Keputusan Menteri).

Thus, although the changes in the Moratorium Map issued with the Ministerial Decree raise serious questions about the opaque processes behind its drafting within the Ministry of Forestry, (particularly as the permit was issued by the Governor in August 2011, and was thus issued in contravention of the Moratorium Map valid at that time, namely the map of 17 June 2011), the legal action against the issuance of the concession in Tripa continues unaltered, based on the higher National Laws mentioned above.

Indeed, it is possible that the Minister of Forestry, by acknowledging the validity of the recent PT Kallista Alam license in the new Moratorium map, may also become criminally liable under these 2 Laws, the Government Regulation, and the Presidential Instruction.

(Kamaruddin, 13 December 2011).

If you wanna see the map, here is the original link :

Link : http://www.redd-monitor.org/2011/12/14/indonesias-ministry-of-forestry-amends-moratorium-map-and-excludes-oil-palm-concession-issued-in-breach-of-moratorium/