SBY and Minister of Forests must work together to protect Indonesia’s forests

Siaran Pers - 14 Maret, 2013
Jakarta, 14 March 2013 - The coalition of Indonesian NGOs on forests and climate today called for urgent action to strengthen and extend the two-year moratorium on deforestation which expires on 20 May. The moratorium has been weakened by lobbying from industry and even some government ministries, including the Ministry of Forestry.

Recent Greenpeace analysis of the latest moratorium maps shows that the Ministry of Forestry’s SK 458 Decree consigned over 600,000 hectares of forest, just in the province of Papua alone, to potential clearance if the moratorium is allowed to expire. An additional 150,000ha has been assigned for degradation through selective logging concessions. As the Decree also includes orders to rezone 376,535 hectares of the threatened forest, supposed to be protected by the moratorium, to non-Forest Zone, the consequences could be irreversible. (1) 

“President Yudhoyono must now work closely with Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan to urgently revise SK 458 to reinstate the protected forest. The President also must stop his own government undermining the moratorium and his emissions reduction commitments,” said Teguh Surya, Forest Political Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Indonesia.

If the Ministry of Forestry applies more forest function changes like those in SK 458 for Papua in other provinces, this could put millions more hectares of forest at risk. Only recently, Aceh Province’s Government admitted that they have plans to remove over 1.2 million ha of protected forest. Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and his team have a responsibility to ensure that forest zone and forest function changes, do not negatively impact existing forest protection measures like the moratorium.

With less than 3 months to go, little progress has been made so far on the moratorium and the key outputs agreed as part of the US$ 1 bn Indonesia-Norway forest protection deal; the establishment of the REDD Agency, and the financial and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) institutions, have not yet been achieved. The main roadblocks to more progress have been poor governance, outdated maps and data, the lack of clear social and environmental safeguards and the definition of degraded land. (2)

To achieve the level of forest protection needed to ensure the livelihoods of forest communities, stop the destruction of key habitats for endangered species, and to meet President Yudhoyono’s emissions reduction target, legal certainty is needed to police the moratorium, not arbitrary orders like SK 458.

Anggalia Putri, HuMa's Programme Coordinator, said “Our legal analysis of SK 458 shows that there are indications that the proper legal process was not followed and that the process violated the principles of good governance. Preconditions to propose such a forest zone change have not been met. We call for an urgent revision of SK 458 for the sake of the people of Papua, and for the forests”.

If President Yudhoyono continues to allow the moratorium to be strangled at birth by inaction, poor governance and corruption, both he and Indonesia will lose face internationally, weakening his credibility to lead the upcoming High Level Panel on the Millennium Development Goals in Bali at the end of this month.

“President Yudhoyono must lead from the front to fix poor governance like SK 458. The Ministry of Forestry’s SK 458 decree contradicts the moratorium and undermines President Yudhoyono’s low carbon development plan. President Yudhoyono must act now to strengthen and extend the moratorium, starting with urgently revising SK 458 and reviewing all existing concession permits, as well as making it results-based rather than time-bound”, concluded Teguh Surya.

 

 

Media contacts:

Teguh Surya, Forest Political Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Indonesia,
tel: +62 85217502565

Anggalia Putri, HuMa's Programme Coordinator, tel: +62 8562118997

Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, Media Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Indonesia,
tel: +62 81380473866

Notes:

(1) See Greenpeace’s analysis of SK 458 impact in Papua here:
      Spatial Analysis of Ministry of Forestry Decree No.458/2012 Papua Province

(2) The Indonesia - Norway Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, Executive Summary p.6: