Jokowi’s Peat Protection Promise Let Down By Weak Draft Regulation

Joint Release by Coalition of Civil Society Organisations

Press release - May 31, 2016

JAKARTA, 31 MAY 2016 - A revised draft of Government Regulation (PP) No. 71 of 2014 on the Protection and Management of Peat Ecosystem that is currently being considered by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights is weak, lacks transparency, and provides opportunities for further destruction of peatland. The draft is not remotely in line with the strong commitment President Joko Widodo made to protect peat and save his people from the impact of forest fires.

Worries over the weak revised draft were raised earlier this week by the Civil Society Coalition for the Rescue of Indonesian Forest and the Global Climate. The member NGOs sent a letter setting out concerns to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, and the Secretary of State [1]. 

Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaigner said the closed process of the revision worsens the government's image related to the concept of good governance, especially in the forestry sector. "The government has failed to see the public as one of the interested parties in forest issues. While the implementation of the policy of a single map (One Map) remains  stagnant, the direction of President Jokowi’s commitment to protect forests and peatland has become more obscure." 

Last year, President Joko Widodo announced many promises about peatland protection. These included a moratorium on new permits for palm oil plantations, the construction of canal dams, as well as peatland restoration. However, based on the circulated revised draft peat protection regulation, as in the existing regulations, these commitments have been neglected. 

Bob Purba, Director of Forest Watch Indonesia, said: "New permits will no longer be given on peatland areas. But the damage continues. The existing government regulation fails to explain how peatlands, damaged and burnt as a result of drying through canalisation, can be restored. A plan is needed to provide a clear protection against concessions that damage peatland ecosystems using the restoration approach." 

Meanwhile, Nur Esau Yaung, Director of the Paradisea Foundation, highlighted the significant threat to 1,022,045 hectares of peatland in West Papua. "Based on provincial spatial plan (RTRWP) of West Papua, 83% of peatland is on the cultivation function list and only 17% are included on the protection list. The peatland area on the Indicative Map for New License (PIPPIB) has also been lessened to only ±551,315 ha. Furthermore there are overlaps between peatland and plantations of ±18,306 ha, and overlapping of sago industries in peatlands of ±51,770 ha." 

Abdon Nababan, Secretary General of the Alliance of Indigenous People, stated:
 "Preventing fires on peatland is not something that is difficult for indigenous communities. Knowledge and water management practices that allow peat to remain wet are the key to prevention of peat fires. Recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in the area of peatland restoration and the entire peat ecosystem in Indonesia is an important prerequisite to fire prevention and the effective protection of peat ecosystems in Indonesia." 

Henri Subagiyo, Director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) said:

"Now is the right time for the government to protect peatlands from being drained and destroyed. Protecting peat ecosystems to stop the pace of Indonesia's emissions can only be achieved if verbal commitments line up with regulations, and by involving all stakeholders. There are many agendas that must be resolved, ranging from the establishment of the function of different areas within the peatland ecosystem to opening the entire results of the process to monitoring and enforcement, as well as encouraging perpetrators to take responsibility for peat ecosystems that have been degraded." 

Notes to Editors:

[1]. Coalition Letter to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and the Secretary of State, can be seen here (in Indonesian).

2. The coalition consists of 1. Greenpeace Indonesia, 2. Indonesia Center for Environmental Law (ICEL),  3. YayasanPusaka, 4. Forest Watch Indonesia, 5. HuMA,  6. JIKALAHARI - Riau, 7. Serikat Petani Kelapa Sawit (SPKS), 8. Hutan Kita Institut (HaKI) – Sumatera Selatan, 9. Save Our Borneo (SOB) – Kalimantan Tengah, 10. Sawit Watch, 11. Badan RegistrasiWilayah Adat (BRWA),  12. AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat AdatNusantara), 13. Konsorsium Pendukung Sistem HutanKerakyatan (KPSHK), 14. Jaringan Kerja Pemetaan Partisipatif(JKPP), 15. Debt Watch, 16. Yayasan Merah Putih-Sulawesi Tengah, 17. KKI-Warsi- Jambi, 18. Yayasan Paradisea-Manokwari, 19. Yayasan Madani, 20. Epistema


 Media Contacts:

 1. Abdon Nababan, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara, 0811111365

2. Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Indonesia, 081226161759

3. Citra Hartati, Center for Environmental Law (ICEL), 081381260373

4. Bob Purba, Forest Watch Indonesia 08121105172