Ban on Oil Palm, Mining Expansion Offers Promise for Indonesian Forests and Smallholders

Press release - April 15, 2016
Jakarta, 15 April 2016 -- Commenting on Indonesian president Joko Widodo’s announcement of a stop to expansion of palm oil and mining, Greenpeace Indonesia country director Longgena Ginting said: “Indonesia’s rapidly vanishing forests are in dire need of urgent protection, a fact the President has recognised with his very welcome moratorium announcement. [1] Improving transparency on forest data including mining, palm oil and pulpwood concessions is a crucial prerequisite for implementing and monitoring the president’s plan. Greenpeace looks forward to the publication of this data which has been kept from the public for too long.”

Global Head of Indonesia Forest Campaign, Kiki Taufik said:

A ban on further mining and palm oil plantation concessions is a welcome pledge. However Greenpeace calculates there are 10 million of hectares of forests currently facing clearance in existing oil palm, pulp and mining concessions. [2] The president needs to urgently take measures to permanently protect forests and peatlands wherever they are.

We have learned from weak enforcement of the existing moratorium which bans new concessions in primary forests and peatlands, that a presidential instruction lacks teeth. This extended moratorium must take the form of a binding presidential regulation.”

“The president said yesterday that productivity gains mean no new land is needed for palm oil plantations. He is absolutely right. Instead of expanding into forests, palm oil companies and their customers must share expertise and provide assistance to small farmers to increase their palm oil yields and ensure sustainable livelihoods for Indonesian farming communities,” Kiki said. [3]

Hindun Mulaika, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Indonesia said that she hopes that President Joko Widodo’s announcement for a moratorium on mining permits will be urgently implemented via a legally binding presidential regulation.

"For too long mining permits have been obtained easily without considering the permanent environmental damage caused. In East Kalimantan province, mining concessions cover 75 percent of the total area of the province. An investigation by the Corruption Eradication Commission found 3,966 mining work permits still under Non Clean and Clear status. This is not to mention former mining areas, where abandoned pits have created a moonscape now treated as a no man's land.

“Mine reclamation will never be able to restore lost biodiversity. Coal mining’s incalculable impact through the loss of productive agricultural land, river water quality degradation and water scarcity can have dire consequences for local residents,” Hindun said.

 

Notes to editors:

[1] http://www.setneg.go.id/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11271&Itemid=55

[2] This includes >3.5 million ha in identified coal concessions and >4.5 million ha in identified oil palm concessions, as of 2013. The true extent could be larger given recent allocations and other concessions we could not identify. See http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Forests-Reports/Under-Fire/

[3] Following consumer demands, many companies have already committed to No Deforestation. The High Carbon Stock Approach provides a clear methodology to put those promises into practice, and with assistance, it could also be a guide for smallholders to comply with the spirit of the president’s new forest protection goals. See http://highcarbonstock.org/

[4] Report on Mining Concessions Polluting South Kalimantan Waters: http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/id/PageFiles/645408/EXSUMM%20INDONESIA.pdf

[5] Report on Dirty Work of Banpu: http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/id/press/reports/desa-terkepung-tambang-batubara/

 

Media Contacts:

Kiki Taufik, Greenpeace’s Global Lead for the Indonesia Forest Campaign, mob: +62 811 870 6074

Igor O'Neill, International Media for Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaign, mob +62 811 1923 721

Hindun Mulaika, Climate and Energy Campaigner Greenpeace Indonesia, +62 811 8407-113

Rahma Shofiana, Media Campaigner Greenpeace Indonesia, +62 811 1461-674

 

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