Indonesia to Impose Five-Year Moratorium on New Palm Oil Concessions

Tabita Diela Jakarta Globe 15 Jul 16;

Jakarta. The Indonesian government will soon issue a presidential instruction that would serve as legal basis for a five-year moratorium on new palm oil concessions as part of the country's effort to reduce the negative impact of the plantations on the environment.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has put environmental issue as one of his administration priorities, seeking to put an end to Indonesia's deteriorating tropical forests.

Last year, the president extended a moratorium on peatland exploitation, which has been in place since 2011. Jokowi also said in April that he wanted to stop oil palm plantations and mining taking up forested land.

"The new policy is part of the previous ones, but this time, we come prepared with more data," Coordinating Economics Minister Darmin Nasution said on Friday (15/07).

Darmin said the government would make use of single base map — created in terms of the One Map Policy program that harmonizes all maps in the archipelago into one reference map — to ensure that the program does not overlap or conflict with other polices, such as on mining, agriculture or infrastructure development.

The minister's comment came after a meeting in Jakarta with his colleagues, including Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, Trade Minister Thomas Trikasih Lembong, Industry Minister Saleh Husin and Land and Spatial Planning Minister Ferry Mursyidan Baldan.

This was the first meeting at ministerial level for the implementation of the presidential order.

The follow-up meeting — which still has to be scheduled — will determine the details and norms in the regulation.

"We will also include the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil System standard [in the regulation], so please don't be too worried as there will also be a transition period," Darmin said in an effort to assuage concerns among palm oil producers who fear that the plan could undermine one of the country's largest raw commodity exports.

Indonesia, as the world's largest palm oil producer, has been criticized by activists and other Southeast Asian countries for years as it failed to stop or prevent the region's annual haze problem, caused by forest clearing for palm and pulp plantations.

Trade Minister Thomas said the policy would prop up Indonesia's image as it aspires to contribute to efforts to stem global warming.

Indonesia govt planning moratorium in new oil palm plantation
Antara 15 Jul 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is planning moratorium policy of opening new oil palm plantation especially in forest areas to be effective in five years.

Coordinating Minister for Economy Darmin Nasution said moratorium is ruled to concentrate more on replanting and improvement of productivity.

"We want to redress the system in the development of the oil palm plantation including improving productivity and replanting," Darmin said after chairing a meeting on withholding license for new oil palm plantations.

Taking part in the coordination meeting were Minister for the Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, Trade Minister Thomas Lembong, Industry Minister Saleh Husin and Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Lay out/head of the National Land Office Ferry Mursidan Baldan and leaders of palm oil companies.

Darmin said the moratorium is the continuation of the program postponing the opening of land for new oil palm plantations effective as from 2011.

"This time we have to prepare data. It happens we already have the Program of One Map Policy and the map. Therefore we hope this policy could be operational more effectively," he said.

He said the availability of data is crucial in the implementation of the planned moratorium as without the data it would be difficult to solve any problem in the field.

"We will also include standard such as ISPO (Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil System). Therefore, no need to worry too much as there would be a period of transition," he said.

Minister Siti Nurbaya said the government will issue a presidential instruction for the implementation of the program requiring all ministries to take any necessary steps in line with their respective functions.

"There would be no license to use forest and peat lands for oil palm plantations," she said.

The drafting of the presidential Instruction and the Inpres norms about moratorium for forest and peat lands to be used for oil palm plantation are expected to be ready in the next coordinating meeting.

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