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Indonesia: Academicians call for review of regulation on peat lands

Antara 18 Apr 17;

Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA News) - Academicians from the Peat Plantation and Village Research Center of the Riau University Dr Zaimi called for the review of the Government Regulation No. 57 of 2016 on Peat Ecosystem Protection and Management.

"All agree that the environment has to be preserved and protected, but the public interest also needs addressing," Dr Zaimi said here on Tuesday.

He said the regulation of the Environment and Forestry Minister No. P.17 of 2017 on forestry and Industrial Timber Estate (HTI) would have potential contribution to social and economic development.

However, the regulation has drawn wide criticism saying it would hurt the business sector and discourage investment as HTI and oil palm plantation would lose their lands.The negative impact is on economic development and potential number of workers losing jobs.

Therefore, there should be a forum that could bring all stakeholders to seat together and talk and discuss all aspects of the new regulation, Dr Zaimi said.

"Indeed, we have to meet - the government, academicians, non governmental organizations (NGOs), the corporations and community leaders concerned with the regulation," he said.

He strongly called for such a meeting to find a solution to the problem, acceptable to the government, corporations , the public and all other stakeholders.

If the meeting failed to find a solution, the problem could then be solved through judicial review, he said.

Tropical peat expert from the Riau University Dr Wawan said under the new regulation 45 percent of the peat lands in Riau are to be preserved and protected.

Dr Wawan said he feared the regulation if fully implemented would badly hurt investors already in operation in Riau and the farmers.

"If a regulation that turns out to be harmful to the public, while the duty of the government is to improve the welfare of the people, the regulation should then be reviewed," Dr Wawan said.(*)

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