August 8, 2019

WRI: Indonesian permanent forest moratorium a huge step

JAKARTA ( - The World Resources Institute (WRI), a Washington DC-headquartered global research organization, views Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s recent move to sign a permanent moratorium on granting new permits for primary forests and peatlands in areas spanning more than 66 million hectares as a major advancement.

“The fact that it is now a permanent moratorium, encompassing a ban on new permits, is a huge step in the right direction which will ensure the conservation and preservation of Indonesia’s intact forests and peatlands.”

This was the opinion expressed by WRI Indonesia Country Director Nirarta “Koni” Samadhi when asked by for his stance on the permanent moratorium (Aug 7) in Jakarta.

Given that the President’s permanent moratorium is still in the legal process after signing prior to being officially issued, Koni gave his perspective based on benchmarks and figures from the President’s July 2017 order. The moratorium has now been made permanent, as reported by (Aug 5).

Significant impact

In addition to protecting primary forests and peatlands in areas equivalent to 844 the size of New York, the permanent moratorium, as previously announced by Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya (Aug 5), is also targeting continuing reductions in emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Koni believes that Indonesia will deliver a significant positive impact if the implementation of the permanent moratorium is effective, saying, “The permanent moratorium will prevent at least 32 GtCO2e of land use emissions from being emitted.” 

The photos below show parts of the protection forests situated at the tip of the island of Sumatera which also form part of the areas covered by the permanent moratorium map, which in their entirety are 21 times larger than Belgium.

Of the over 66 million hectares incorporated in the permanent moratorium map, more than 96% are in state forest areas which fall under the authority of the Environment and Forestry Minister, while the remaining less than 4% are in non-state forest areas under the control of governors and regents/mayors.

Governance improvement process 

Given that the permanent moratorium will remain in effect until enhanced forest and peatland governance is achieved, Koni considers the “one map policy” - another of President Jokowi’s key signature policies - to be aligned with the permanent moratorium as part of a key governance improvement process.

“The transformation of the indicative map into a definitive one would catalyse the governance improvement process, as aspired to by the permanent moratorium policy,” he cited as an example.  

Koni also gave his technical view on the monitoring efforts definitely required during the implementation of the permanent moratorium.

“The monitoring platform of the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry, Simontana, should be prioritized in monitoring the dynamics within the permanent moratorium area as a way of enhancing the governance improvement process,” he said.

“With an active and inclusive permanent monitoring platform, I am sure all relevant stakeholders, including NGOs and the private sector, will support Simontana in serving as an authoritative and credible platform for sustainable forest management, as envisioned by the Indonesian government,” Koni explained.