Peat Restoration Agency Welcomed, Needs Strong Powers to Stop Fires & Haze

Press release - January 15, 2016
Jakarta, 15 January 2016 - Greenpeace welcomes the establishment of a Peat Restoration Agency for Indonesia, and the appointment of environment activist Nazir Foead to lead the initiative. If peat protection regulations are sufficiently strengthened, Nazir will be in a position to save the country’s precious tropical peatland landscapes, reducing fires and carbon emissions.

Clearing and draining of peatlands for oil palm and pulpwood plantations is a major cause of Indonesia’s recurring fire and haze crisis, which last year impacted the health of millions in South-East Asia and cost Indonesia’s economy an estimated $16.1 billion.

“The establishment of a peat restoration body is a great start. Successful peat protection will depend however on further reforms, including ending secrecy over maps of industry concessions in forests and peatlands, to allow full public participation in monitoring and restoration,” said Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Teguh Surya.

President Joko Widodo showed the way to end peatland destruction by personally damming a drainage canal to rewet a peatland area in Riau province in late 2014. However, his initiative faltered due to a lack of policy clarity and coordination. For the new Peat Restoration Agency to overcome the potential hurdle of its limited authority, every level of government must provide full support including coordination and concrete action in the field.

The Peat Restoration Agency’s enabling decree targets a very modest 2 million hectares for restoration by 2020. This is far less than the total area of damaged peatland, which the government has vowed to restore.

"The Decree should aim higher than protecting just two million hectares out of more than twenty million hectares of Indonesia’s peatlands. Preventing fires from returning will only be possible if all damaged peatland landscapes are restored, with clear indicators and deadlines,” Teguh said.

Media Contacts:

Teguh Surya, Forest campaigner Greenpeace Indonesia, 081915191979

Zamzami, Media Officer Greenpeace Indonesia, 08117503918

Igor O’Neill, International Media, Greenpeace Indonesia Forests Campaign, +62 811 1923 721