Jakarta, 2 February 2015 – In the middle of raising concern of land and forest fires that is coming closer, the peat restoration agenda assigned to Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) meets an obstacle from corporations’ reluctance to cooperate with the agency. Ironically, such reticence is somehow supported by Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) with its secretary general saying that the peat agency has no capacity whatsoever to issue an order towards concession holders.

In Directorate General of Sustainable Forest Management (PHPL) Ida Bagus Putera Parthama’s statement, the ministry argues that peat restoration can only be implemented after corporation’s annual business plan (RKU) is revised (Kompas, 2/02/2017). Such view has no fault if we were in normal condition. Yet, considering on how urgent the peat restoration is (not to mention fire threats this year), the ministry’s will in mitigating the fire is quite questionable.

Another bureaucratic and formalistic gesture also comes from KLHK’s Secretary General Bambang Hendroyono who disputes the missing credit in the BRG’s data sources, which initially coming from the ministry. This attitude is regrettably unnecessary. For, not only will it weaken the spirit of peat restoration agenda, but also will provide the anti-restoration parties to counterattack the government’s program.

As a new agency, the BRG is not without flaws. However, one thing the KLHK must realize is that the peat restoration agenda is an urgency with tight deadline (an extraordinary condition). Moreover, current situation faced by the agency is a result from the ministry’s negligence who fails to protect the environment by giving corporations industrial forest permits in peat and deep peat lands and performs no proper monitoring.

The ministry’s rigid attitude is far from the spirit President Joko Widodo tries to build in engaging every stakeholders to prevent land and forest fires from happening in 2017. In the national coordination meeting (Rakornas 2017), the President cited the loss caused by 2015 land and forest fires that reach Rp 220 trillion, including the cost of flight cancellation, ineffective office hours, as well as ceased economic activities. The enormous number has not even covered the loss from health sector.

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has stated the rainfall this year will be much lower than in 2016. This means, the potential of land and forest fires is likely higher compared to last year. Currently, there is 216.014,12 Hectare of peat land included within restoration priority post 2015 fire. Hence, it needs immediate action to minimize the possibility of the area catching fire again. And to bring it to realization, it needs participation and cooperation of all stakeholders especially the environment and forestry party who is technically a supervisor for the BRG.

Based on the previous analysis by Eyes on the Forest, it shows that Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) and APRIL are currently managing 38% of the BRG’s restoration total target or 1 million hectare. To implement the full restoration mandated by the government, APP and APRIL must restore 1,1 million hectare and 0,6 million hectare from each of their conservation area (approximately 40% of their total concession).

Considering the aforementioned points, hence the Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia urges:

  1. The President to evaluate the performance of Environment and Forestry Minister, particularly on the participation in accelerating peat restoration efforts and forest and peat land fires;
  2. The Minister of Environment and Forestry to be more cooperative and team up with the Peat Restoration Agency and other relevant stakeholders to accelerate peat restoration, including in the finding law enforcement breakthrough to support Indonesian peat restoration.

 

For more information, you can contact:

Made Ali (Jikalahari)          : 081378056547 / madeali.26@gmail.com

Syahrul Fitra (AURIGA)     : 08116611340 / syahrul@auriga.or.id

 

*The Coalition of Anti-Forest Mafia (Koalisi Anti Mafia Hutan) includes: Eyes on The Forest (EoF), Jikalahari, AURIGA