Indonesia: Central, local govts not unified in protecting peatlands - Greenpeace

N. Adri The Jakarta Post 27 Sep 17;

Environmental activists said a lack of concrete action may hinder the success of agreements made by the governor’s Climate and Forest Task Force (GFC).

One thing that is disappointing is the fact that the central government and local administration are not speaking with one voice on the protection of peat lands, they said.

“Even a governor from one of the GFC member provinces has questioned the benefit of Government Regulation [PP] No.57/2016 on the protection and management of peat land ecosystems to President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo,” conservation group Greenpeace Indonesia’s global forest campaign head Kiki Taufik, said in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on Wednesday.

In a letter sent to Jokowi in April, West Kalimantan governor Cornelis said the implementation of PP No.57 and Environment and Forestry Minister Regulation No.P.17/2017 would affect the sustainability of investments from 43 companies that employ 20,000 people in the province.

“In fact, the forest and peat land fire level in West Kalimantan is quite high,” said Kiki.

Last month, National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said results of satellite monitoring, recorded at the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), detected 150 hot spots in areas across West Kalimantan.

The widespread hot spots have forced five regencies in West Kalimantan to declare an alert for land and forest fires. The five regencies are Bengkayang, Ketapang, Kubu Raya, Melawi and Sekadau.

Kiki said the central government and local administrations must uphold their commitment to tackle deforestation. (ebf)