Greenpeace today applauded the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) for committing to a moratorium on forest and peatland clearance. The commitment came in advance of the governments of Indonesia and Norway signing a $1 billion deal in Oslo to develop capacity to implement strategies to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).
"Greenpeace welcomes President Yudhyono's announcement of a moratorium on deforestation and peatland clearance on the eve of this historic deal. We expect that, on his return to Jakarta, he will immediately impose a presidential decree to stop all conversion of peatlands and forests, which would include both existing and new concession permits," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace South East Asia Forest Team Leader.
President Yudhoyono committed to the moratorium at a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg a day before the Norwegian Forest and Climate Conference in Oslo begins. The financial commitment by Norway has increased expectations on President Obama to make a similar pledge when he visits Indonesia on June 14th of this year.
"Norway has shown the sort of leadership we expect the United States to demonstrate on the issue of forest and climate protection," said Rolf Skar, senior forest campaigner with Greenpeace. "President Obama now has a unique opportunity to protect the rainforests and peatlands that have been disappearing at an alarming rate since he lived in Indonesia as a child."
Though the moratorium announcement is a major step towards long-term solutions to deforestation in Indonesia, experts stress that there is much work to be done to ensure the funds are used effectively.
"President SBY must go into these forest and climate negotiations with some clear action points. Transparent, participatory mechanisms must be set up to ensure the funds flow in the right direction. Safeguards must be established to protect biodiversity and Indigenous People's rights. Furthermore, we must ensure that the emissions reductions that result are measured against how much deforestation is happening currently, not against future predictions of forest loss," said Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Political Advisor.
Indonesia has experienced record-breaking deforestation in recent years. The destruction of primary rainforest and carbon-rich peatlands has caused Indonesia to rank near the top of the world in climate pollution, behind only the United States and China.
Rolf Skar, senior forest campaigner (San Francisco): 415.533.2888
Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya (Jakarta) Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media officer: +62.8111.805.394