SBY can make 2011 a Landmark Year for Indonesia’s forests and global efforts to curb climate change

Press release - January 7, 2011
Greenpeace today called upon President Yudhoyono to fast track implementation of the two year moratorium on forest conversion, by ensuring transparency in the decision making process and allowing community involvement to put in place effective law enforcement and good governance measures for forest protection and sustainable development of the millions of forest dependent people.

2010 was an historic year for the protection of Indonesia’s last remaining forests following President Yudhoyono’s pronouncement of the two-year moratorium that was due to enter into force on 1 January 2011. However, forest clearance still continues due to the delay in the moratorium implementation. The moratorium is the critical first step for the US$1 billion forest protection funding from Norway to be allocated most effectively.

“2011 can be the landmark year for Indonesia’s forests and our contribution to global efforts to combat climate change, but President Yudhoyono’s commitment is being stalled and delayed by the usual set of vested interests within his own government,” said Joko Arif, Greenpeace Southeast Asia forests campaigner.

“Massive efforts are being made by the industry and its representatives in the government through the Ministry of Forestry to undermine, dilute and stall the action plan being recommended by the President’s special taskforce for implementation of the moratorium. The President must thwart these attempts and make sure that his government is able follow best practices as recommended by civil society and as required under the Norway agreement”, he added.

Norway and Indonesia have proposed a plan that has the potential to be a benchmark for future deals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by protecting Indonesia’s natural forests and carbon-rich peatlands.

This would be the first demonstration of the much awaited REDD in action, and if the rules are right, it will give much needed impetus to the ongoing efforts of the United Nations to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry sector. Some of the basic elements of the agreement are encouraging, such as its focus on providing additional emissions reductions, which means that emissions savings will not offset pollution in another part of the world in the form of carbon offsets; a moratorium on new concessions to convert forests into agricultural lands; transparent processes; and the delivery of national-level reductions and independent monitoring systems.

“However, the new moratorium will not cover the millions of hectares of forests already slated for destruction. What's more, as shown in the recent Greenpeace report, “REDD Alert: Protection Money”, deals such as this face serious risks as industries involved in forest destruction position themselves for REDD funds. In Indonesia, there is a push to reclassify the definition of forests in order to divert money earmarked for forest protection into destructive, business-as-usual practices. The Government has to finish its homework to ensure the moratorium can really save Indonesia’s forests. The different government ministries have to agree the scope of the moratorium, forests definition, and reviewing existing permits in natural forests and peatlands,” said Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Southeast Asia political campaigner.

“Indonesia cannot afford to miss this opportunity to save its remaining forests as millions people whose livelihoods depend on the forests and the climate cannot wait. If the government can provide transparency, shift to good governance and law enforcement, whilst involving local communities and civil society, we are positive that 2011 will indeed be a landmark year for Indonesia’s forests,” Yuyun concluded.

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.


Joko Arif, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forests Campaigner, tel: +628111 805390

Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Political Campaigner, tel: +628122 6161759

Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, tel: +628111 805394