Friday, April 20, 2018

“President Jokowi's policies and actions on peat recovery have been internationally recognized”

BRAZZAVILLE, 22 March 2018 --- As home to over 15 million ha of peatlands, Indonesia boasts a wide variety of peat ecosystems, including the coastal peatlands of the major islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua,upland peatlands in Papua, as well as peatlands in the basins of the large Mahakam and Kapuas rivers of East and West Kalimantan respectively.In fact, these basin peatlands are comparable to those in the basin of the mighty Congo River.

Indonesian Minister of the Environment and Forestry Dr Siti Nurbaya featured as the keynote speaker during a high-level ministerial dialogue at the Global Peatland Initiative’s Partners Meeting on Thursday, 22 March 2018 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. The minister’s appearance and role at the meeting took Indonesian diplomacy with regard to peatland management to the global level.

Despite the catastrophic 2015 peat fire disaster, the Government of Indonesia has undertaken a massive effort to control fire hotspots, resulting in a 93.6% reduction in just two years.President Joko Widodo has effectively established peatland management as a national priority and, in doing so,turned policy into action. Peatland management in Indonesia now involves collaborative work with stakeholders.

The Global Peatland Initiative, or GPI, represents an attempt on the part of leading experts and institutions to save peatlands - the world’s largest terrestrial areas of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks - and prevent the carbon within them from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The Indonesian delegation brought with it an inspiring story of successful peatland management which it had the chance to present on the world stage.The delegation had the opportunity explain how the Indonesian Government has renewed and reinforced the moratorium on peatland development, as well as stepped up law enforcement efforts aimed at combating peat-related violations. Among the violators that have already been brought to justice is a private corporation which was proven to have committed crimes against the environment and consequently fined an unprecedented USD1.2 million.

The two Congos, the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, are very keen to learn about the hugely successful institutional framework set up by the Indonesian Government. The Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency (BRG), which was formed by President Joko Widodo in 2016,supports the grand strategy for peatland management developed by the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry.

Minister Siti highlighted how important it is for Indonesia to remain vigilant at all levels when it comes to peat conservation,while also nurturing strong support from all stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.She also elaborated on how key concession holders are meeting their legal obligations by improving infrastructure-related peat fire control, using enhanced peat fire response technology while also working together with smallholders.

The GPI member countries benefit to a certain extent from an exchange of knowledge, both technical and with respect to policy initiatives, on peatland management. Indonesia can rightly claim to have an advanced capacity for developing peatland management at both the national and sub-national levels. It also provides substantial support for research on peat recovery and management, and has contributed to the development of water table and vegetation monitoring systems.

Furthermore, Indonesia serves as a knowledge portal on peatlands and the utilization of peatland maps containing information about biophysics, as well as social, legal, and administrative aspects which have been piloted in several districts. Indonesia also pioneered the “Peat-Care Village” program, a model of integrated peatland management involving local communities as the main stakeholders in peat conservation.

“Destroying peatlands around the world would be a grave assault on the Paris Agreement and a huge blow to future generations. Indonesia’s experience and positive leadership is therefore essential as we seek to boost global peatland management,” said Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Solheim went on to praise Indonesia's efforts in peat recovery. 'The Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo must learn from Indonesia which has successfully overcome earlier mistakes made in peatland management'. This has been especially true under the leadership of President Jokowi and Minister Siti Nurbaya, who have pursued effective coordination with the Indonesian military, police, NGOs as well as the general public.

In her closing remarks at the peatland diplomacy summit, Minister Siti said that, as the founding father of the Asia-Africa movement,Indonesia is ready to shape its foreign policy towards sharing its knowledge and expertise, and assisting other developing nations in advancing their peatland management through south-south and triangular cooperation.

In addition,Indonesia is set to establish an International Tropical Peatland Research Centre. The Minister concluded by expressing her confidence that in the near future, the world will acknowledge Indonesia’s peatland management as a world class achievement.***

For further information, please contact:

Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry:
Mr. Djati Witjaksono Hadi, Director of Public Relation, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; +6281510000808

Ms. Sri Murniningtyas, Director of International Cooperation, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; +6287883721859

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