2016-05-21

WALHI praises moratorium as good move while criticizing IPOP signatory statement


JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - Nur Hidayati, Executive Director of WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia), insists that the recently announced moratorium on the expansion of palm oil is clearly beneficial for Indonesia, both in the short and long term, particularly given the parlous current state of Indonesian forests.

As such, she firmly expressed her opposition to the statement made by one of the Indonesian Palm Oil Pledge (IPOP) signatories (Bisnis Indonesia daily, Apr 26) to the effect that the palm oil expansion moratorium would only be beneficial in the short term that it may improve productivity, but in the longer term it could potentially limit the supply of Indonesian CPO to the global market.

“I don’t agree with the statement made by Mr Franky Widjaja saying that the moratorium will only benefit Indonesia in the short term,” Yaya, as she is commonly called, told foresthints.news on Friday (May 20) in Jakarta.

In her view, the palm oil expansion moratorium announced by President Joko Widodo in mid-April is a significant move in the right direction which needs to be continuously and consistently applied.

“I think it’s an important step for Indonesia which could improve the condition of forests in the long term. By stopping expansion, we can at least hope that there will be a reduction in forest fires because most of the fires happen due to the expansion of plantations which involves the conversion of forests,” Yaya explained.

She also pointed out several other potentially positive effects arising from the moratorium, including that it would allow for a recovery period for Indonesia’s beleaguered forests.

“For the longer term, the moratorium will give some time for Indonesian forests to recover and also open up opportunities for other types of forest use besides palm oil.”

In light of this, she reiterated her support for the imposition of the moratorium and appealed for IPOP signatories to be more proactive in terms of supporting forest protection.

“I think the decision from the goverment to stop expansion is a good thing. So I think the signatories who have made so-called pledges (IPOP) should do better for the forests,” Yaya urged.

She went on to reaffirm her opinion that the statement of Franky Widjaja was counterproductive to forest conservation efforts.

"I think it is not a good statement, because a (IPOP) signatory like this should at least show they have good intentions and really want to do better (for forest protection)," Yaya lamented.

Yaya took further aim at the statement, claiming that it would inevitably cast aspersions on the sincerity of IPOP signatories when it comes to protecting Indonesia’s forests in the future.

“This kind of this statement will only create doubt among others parties as to whether they (IPOP signatories) really have good intentions to perform better forest management in the future.”

WALHI’s new Executive Director concluded the interview with foresthints.news with a warning that such statements can only serve to erode the resolve of the government to oversee improved protection of the country’s forests, as reflected by the imposition of the palm oil expansion moratorium.

“It (the statement) could also weaken the commitment of the Indonesian government to make changes and do better for forests,” Yaya cautioned.