On 2 – 5 February 2016 Norway’s new Minister for Climate and Environment Vidar Helgesen visited Indonesia and with among others with President Joko Widodo and Indonesia’s counterpart; Minister of Environment and Forest Siti Nurbaya Bakar. The two ministers, along with the Head of the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) Nazir Foead announced that in continuing the long-term bilateral partnership on climate and forests, Indonesia and Norway would collaborate to support Indonesia’s efforts to protect and restore its peat ecosystems.
Norway conveyed the commitment to continue the longstanding collaboration on helping Indonesia reducing its emissions from deforestation, Forest – and peatland degradation (REDD+).
Minister Siti Nurbaya quoted President Jokowi’s statement: “To avoid the haze crisis, it is necessary to enforce a moratorium on any clearing, drainage, and/or conversion of unopened peatland”.
“Norway congratulates Indonesia on its commitment to protect and restore all peatlands for its own national interest and the world, and we are ready to embark on a results-based support as part of the letter of intent between our two countries,” stated Minister Helgesen.
“Indonesia has already made a significant commitment in restoring two million hectares of peatland in 2020. President Joko Widodo has firmly mandated the Peatland Restoration Agency to execute an ambitious peat restoration plan as stated in the Presidential Decree Number 1/2016,” said Minister Siti Nurbaya.
To avoid the haze crisis, not only does degraded peatland need to be restored. As President Joko Widodo has announced, it is also necessary to enforce a moratorium on any clearing, drainage and/or conversion of currently unopened peatland. This announcement is being codified into a Regulation which will be promulgated by 1 June 2016. By 1 December 2016, BRG will have implemented a comprehensive and transparent monitoring system on the status of peatland restoration and protection, and enforcement of the moratorium.
“Norway congratulates Indonesia on its commitment to protect and restore all its peatlands for its own national interest and the world. We are ready to embark in a result-based support as part of the letter of intent between our countries,” said Minister Vidar Helgesen. “The Government of Norway stands ready to fully support Indonesia’s ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the loss and degradation of its forests and peatlands, based on the goals and principles of our Letter of Intent of 2010.”
The collaboration will support the mandate of Indonesia’s newly established BRG as part of the ongoing, long-term climate and forest partnership between the Governments of Indonesia and Norway.
However, Minister Helgesen added that no visible output was evident from the forest-related emissions reduction programs in the country, accodin to the Jakarta Post.
“Six years into the partnership, we are now impatient to see more results on the ground,” he said.
Helgesen said that the lack of progress in the actual implementation of the REDD+ in Indonesia was clear to see.
“We are very satisfied with the dialogue we have had [and] with the groundwork that has been put in place but I don’t think anyone can be satisfied when we see the fires last year, when we see continued deforestation [and] when we see continued peat conversion.”
“This is a positive step in the ongoing partnership between Indonesia and Norway and signals the serious commitment by our President to address the devastating fires,” commented Nazir Foead. “We applaud this important collaboration and hope it inspires others to make similar pledges.”
Peatland and forests are vital to millions of people in Indonesia. This effort to protect and restore peat forests will help secure their livelihoods.