Indonesia successful in peatland management: UN

Antara 24 Mar 18;

Illustration. Residents tried to wet the peat so that land fire did not spread to the pineapple garden area in Pekanbaru, Riau, last month. The provincial government of Riau establishes the emergency alert status of forest and land fires from 19 February to 31 May 2018. (ANTARA PHOTO/Rony Muharrman)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Erik Solheim, praised Indonesia`s efforts in restoring its peat ecosystems, saying it should serve as an example for other countries.

"The destruction of peatlands around the world will be a major blow to the Paris Treaty and for younger generations," Solheim said in a press release issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) on Friday.

Solheim says the international community is paying attention to Indonesia as one of the world`s largest peatlands with over 15 million hectares (ha).

After the great forest and land fires in 2015, particularly peatland fires which are highly difficult to put out, the Administration of President Joko Widodo made peat improvement and governance a national priority.

After a meeting on Thursday of the Peatland Global Initiative Partners (GPI) in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, Solheim requested the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo to learn from Indonesia`s experience in the recovery of peat ecosystems. "The Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo must learn from Indonesia," he said.

Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar was the event`s keynote speaker. Also present was Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, Clement Mouamba, Minister of Environment of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Amy Ambatobe Nyongolo and Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Congo, Arlette Soudan-Nonau.

Bakar explained the great land and forest fire in 2015, especially the peat fire, was a valuable lesson for the Indonesian Government which it responded to through policies to improve peat governance and prevention of peat fires.

"Indonesia managed to reduce the fires as much as 93.6 percent. This success is a testament to the seriousness of President Joko Widodo to make the most common land and forest fire prevention in peatlands as a national priority," Bakar said.

One of the key successes of Indonesia is the ability to effectively engage all parties across the board, including encouraging the involvement of the private sector to meet its legal obligation on peatland management.

The real efforts of President Joko Widodo in managing the peatland saved millions of Indonesians from forest and land fires in the 2016-2017 period, after occurring annually for almost two decades.

Strong and thorough peat governance undertaken by the Indonesian government is an exact example for all countries in the world who have similar problems.

This achievement is in line with President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla`s instructions in November 2015 which should be recognised internationally.

"Because the majority of land and forest fire problems in peatlands are universally applicable," Bakar said, during her visit to the 3rd Peatland Initiative Global Partner (GPI) meeting in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo.

In the future, two countries with the largest peat in the world, the Republic of Congo and Democratic Republic of Congo will soon undertake a study in Indonesia. "Indonesia will lead south-south cooperation to tackle the Congo Basin peat for the world," Bakar said.

The Congo Basin covers three countries that have the second largest peatland in the world. The three countries are Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon. In addition to Indonesia and the two Congos, the other largest peat country in the world is Peru.

(A014/INE)
(T.A014/A/KR-BSR/B003)
Editor: Heru Purwanto

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