Minister points to Leuser Ecosystem moratorium in UN speech as proof of Indonesia’s commitment


JAKARTA ( - The Indonesian government’s commitment to imposing a moratorium on palm oil and mining expansion in the Leuser Ecosystem now seems completely set in stone, after Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Dr Siti Nurbaya, mentioned the imposition of the moratorium in her speech following the signing of the Paris Agreementat UN Headquarters in New York on Friday (Apr 22). 

In her remarks, the minister explained that the announcement of the President of Indonesia on April 14, calling for a moratorium on palm oil and mining expansion, had already met with a positive response from two Indonesian governors. 

The Governor of Aceh has imposed a moratorium on palm oil and mining expansion in the Leuser Ecosystem, while similarly the Governor of East Kalimantan has imposed a moratorium on the expansion of coal mining in his province.

“Now is the time for action. 2016 will be a crucial moment for addressing climate change challenges and, as such, the implementation of the Paris Agreement should be prioritized,” the minister exhorted in her speech.

She pointed out that Indonesia is fully aware that forestry and landuse are among the most significant factors in climate change mitigation.

The minister added that Indonesia, as one of the world’s richest regions in biodiversity, had already taken several important steps to address climate change, among them the adoption of a no-peat development stance.

"Indonesia is home to about 15 million hectares of peatlands in all of its ecosystems, which have a significant correlation with emissions,” the minister continued in her remarks.

The minister went on to outline how the Indonesian government was continuing its policy of a moratorium on new licenses in primary forests and peatlands (areas included in the new licensing moratorium map).

She also emphasized that the Indonesian government had gone even further, by announcing a moratorium on palm oil and mining expansion, including for new licenses, even outside of the moratorium map.

“For Indonesia to meet its targets in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation, it is essential that we engage with communities, corporations and local governments,” the minister explained.

The minister’s speech also touched on the issue of last year’s forest and land fires, highlighting the Indonesian President’s quick response to this calamity by establishing the Peat Restoration Agency in January this year.

The Environment and Forestry Minister concluded her remarks by encouraging developed countries to show leadership and provide support to developing countries - in the form of finance, technology and capacity building - in their efforts to reduce emissions, both before and after 2020.