2016-02-17

Greenpeace: Quicker action required to achieve peatland restoration goals


JAKARTA
(foresthints.news) - Greenpeace Indonesia has stressed that the organizational structures of the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency should be quickly established so that it can soon start operations on the ground with a view to achieving its 2016 target of restoring 600 thousand hectares of peatland, as announced by President Joko Widodo.

Greenpeace also urged the peat agency to promptly make public the reference map that will be used in the restoration of burned peatland areas, which are estimated to extend to at least 2 million hectares.

"The peat agency must soon be provided with organizational structures so that it can move quickly in the field. If it takes too long to set up these structures, then the commitment to peatland restoration will be seen as nothing more than empty words," Greenpeace Indonesia spokesperson Yuyun Indradi told foresthints.news on Monday (Feb 15) in Jakarta.

He was responding to questions about how optimistic Greenpeace was about the success of the peat restoration effort.

Yuyun said that another serious issue that needed highlighting was funding, especially funding from the state budget, as well as the management and legal mechanisms governing the use of funds provided by from international donor groups.

"To what extent does the peat agency have leeway in the management of funds from international donor groups? If it has to be on-budget, what leeway does it have? If it can be off-budget, the legal basis for such leeway needs to be made clear. The Chief of the Peat Restoration Agency needs such leeway, with the target for the restoration of burned peatland being at least two million hectares through 2020," Yuyun said.

The Greenpeace spokesperson also said that local governments in the priority provinces would have an important role to play in the peat restoration efforts on the ground.

"Collaboration with companies whose concessions were burned will also be an important issue given that, whatever way we look at it, responsibility and participation in the restoration of the burned peatland on the concessions of these companies will be in their hands," he said.

Yuyun said that in Greenpeace's opinion, the peat agency should quickly release the operational maps for the peat restoration work in priority provinces.

"The peat restoration operational maps are very important. These maps will determine the peat restoration strategy on the ground," he said.

Yuyun said that Greenpeace remained optimistic that the peat agency would be able to restore at least two million hectares of burned peatland, provided that its structures were quickly established, budgetary issues were promptly sorted out, and effective collaboration with relevant stakeholders established.

"I'm optimistic that the peat agency will be able to restore two million hectares of burned peatland. Based on our calculations, the burned peatland areas extend to more than two million hectares. The reference map, which is the responsibility of the peat agency, should be published soon and the regulations relating to the protection of peat should be revised so as to ensure a high level of consistency between the reference map for the restoration of burned peatland and the regulatory references to support the restoration of the peatland by the peat agency," he said.

In early January 2016, Indonesian President Joko Widodo established the Peat Restoration Agency to help accelerate the rehabilitation of burned peatland areas, especially in a number of priority areas spread across four regencies in three provinces.