2016-05-21

Greenpeace backs moratorium, calling IPOP signatory statement unhelpful


JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - Greenpeace Indonesia has given its full backing to the recently announced moratorium on the expansion of palm oil and mining in Indonesia, hailing it as a positive move on a number of levels.

“From Greenpeace’s perspective, we support the moratorium on the expansion of palm oil and mining. We believe this is a good step and the right decision taken by the President to ensure long-term forest and peatland protection in Indonesia, and at the same time to provide benefits especially to smallholders and all the people of Indonesia,” Annisa Rahmawati, Senior Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia, told foresthints.news in an interview on Thursday (May 19).

Annisa disagreed with a recent statement made by one of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) signatories to the effect that the palm oil expansion moratorium would only benefit Indonesia in the short term.

“There are at least two implications of the moratorium. The first one is that it gives space and time for the government to review all permits and all concesions and to improve its good governance. It is a turning point where we can sit back and think about revising and mitigating for the excesses caused by the palm oil industry,” Annisa explained.

“The second one is also important in that this moratorium will raise competitiveness, because it ensures the long-term protection of peatlands and forests. It will increase the competitiveness of Indonesian products but it has to be a coupled with transparency and the improvement of all sectors, not only the palm oil and plantation sector but also the forestry sector and all other natural resources management in Indonesia,” she continued.

Annisa proceeded to elaborate further on how the moratorium would improve the competitiveness of the Indonesian palm oil industry and urged the government to enshrine it in law.

“It can increase the competitiveness of Indonesian palm oil itself, because nowadays the demand for deforestation free palm oil is really increasing. Indonesia can be the leader for deforestation free palm oil by using this moratorium, so Greenpeace supports the moratorium and we are looking forward to the next step from the government to implement the moratorium into a regulation. Such a moratorium only can be implemented if it is locked in a strong regulation.”

When suggested to her that the statement made by one of the IPOP signatories might create an unproductive situation in terms of weakening the Indonesian government’s leadership in implementing the moratorium policy for a longer period of time, Annisa was quick to assert her view on the matter.

“I think that IPOP management has already released a formal statement that it fully supports the President's step to ban the expansion of the palm oil and mining sectors, so for us it (the statement) is unthinkable, unbelievable, and it has created unnecessary debate when we have been facing so much deforestation.”

The Greenpeace campaigner encouraged IPOP members to show leadership by complying with all the relevant regulations as well as to practice sustainability on the ground rather than engaging in unnecessary and unhelpful debate.

“IPOP members should demonstrate their commitments and pledges on the ground. If we want to transform the palm oil industry and end deforestation by 2020, it is not the time or place for such unnecessary debate,” Annisa implored.