August 12, 2019

Special envoy: Permanent forest moratorium a fantastic move

JAKARTA ( - The Indonesian permanent primary forest and peatland moratorium announced by Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya (Aug 5) is a fantastic and extremely encouraging move which goes far beyond climate change issues.

The permanent moratorium not only deals with climate issues, but also ensures long-term food security and protects biodiversity and carbon rich areas by maintaining primary forests and peatlands over a very large area.

As such, President Joko Widodo’s signature on the 5-page permanent moratorium order is a gift for the Indonesian people, and is also very good for the entire world. 

Stig Ingemar Traavik, the special envoy for Norway's international climate and forest initiative, conveyed all of these views in a policy discussion with in Jakarta (Aug 9).

"I am very impressed with the permanent moratorium. This is a big win for President Jokowi and Minister Nurbaya," Traavik enthused. 

Conservation areas and protection forests covering more than 51 million hectares, or more than double the size of the UK, are the largest component in the permanent moratorium map.

The photos below are of Sebangau National Park, Indonesia's largest peat forest national park and also home to the Bornean orangutan. The permanent moratorium is expected to prevent any further slicing off of parts of this national park for palm oil permits, as happened under the previous administration.

In addition to covering conservation areas and protection forests, the permanent moratorium also encompasses production forests spanning 12.48 million hectares which are under the control of Jakarta.

Meanwhile, a further 2.25 million hectares of non-state forest areas under the authority of local governments also form part of the permanent moratorium. 

Strong policy, first country

Traavik believes that the permanent moratorium is a very modern, forward-looking policy and that relevant parties need to be aware of its significance.

“To my knowledge, Indonesia is the first country to come up with such a strong policy,” Traavik said in appreciation. 

“Many people don’t yet understand the significance of the permanent moratorium policy but in time they will become aware of this,” he explained. 

According to Traavik, if there are parties who criticize the permanent moratorium policy, they need to distinguish between mistakes, problems and good policy so that they are able to clearly see the spirit of the policy. 

The permanent moratorium is not the only order from President Jokowi aimed at reducing deforestation and forest degradation. In September last year, the President signed another order for a moratorium on the expansion of palm oil plantations in areas with good forest cover.