Indonesia: EU supports peatland recovery

Antara 16 Dec 15;

Palembang, S.Sumatra (ANTARA News) - The European Union will support Indonesia in recovering and managing the peat land that had burnt by providing Rp300 billion in 2016.

EU Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam Vincent Guerend said in Kayuagung, South Sumatra on Wednesday, that the aid was the EU countries support to the ASEAN countries decision to make a joint commitment to improve peatland management.

"Most of the aid will be absorbed by Indonesia because it has the largest peatland area in the ASEAN region. The rest will be donated to Malaysia and Thailand," Guerend noted.

He said the EU plans to run three programs related to fire disaster management in Indonesia that will begin in January 2016.

"For the EU, the forest fire in Indonesia is no longer a problem for Indonesia alone. Neither is it just a regional problem. Instead, it is a global problem," he said.

According to Guerend, the EU wants to help Indonesia because the current government is very concerned about the efforts being made to manage peatland, such as setting a moratorium on forest clearance.

The Indonesian government is also committed to reducing carbon emissions by 29 percent through its own efforts and 41 percent through the aid, a stance it expressed at the Climate Change Summit in Paris. It also plans to map peatland areas and to improve forest management.

During his visit to Kayuagung, Guerend directly observed the burnt peatland areas where fires occurred during the dry season, covering an area of 90 hectares.

As per data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, plantation concessions on peatlands in Indonesia has reached 8.2 million hectares, with 6.3 million hectares added in the last ten years.

With the third largest forest area and the largest peat bog in the world, sprawled over around 20.6 million hectares, Indonesia can be a carbon storage shed if the ecosystem is well maintained and conserved.(*)

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