03 March 2012

Indonesia investigates rainforest agreement breaches

Authorities in Indonesia are investigating what could be a violation of the forestry agreement held with Norway, reports say

by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith | The Foreigner | 29th February, 2012
rainforestRainforest. Photo: tauntingpanda/Flickr

The inquiry comes after the Aceh Province governor apparently gave permission for a palm oil plantation in one of the preserved parts.

Following an agreement between Norway and Indonesia, Norway promised up to six billion kroner if the country could preserve their rainforests and peat bogs. The area became protected in May 2011.

The deal stipulates maps for protected areas must be updated every six months, but the presentation of Decembers’ shows one protected area was no longer marked as so on the map.

Ambassador Evind Homme has said the Indonesian government is still looking into the issue.

“The moratorium is one of Indonesia's chosen tools for reducing deforestation. Any violation of the moratorium is taken seriously, therefore. We expect that the moratorium be followed up and any violations be prosecuted,” Aftenposten reports him as saying.

In a press release, Elfian Efendi, Greenomics Indonesia Executive Director, has called the affair shameful.

“The Secretary General of the Ministry of Forestry, Hadi Daryanto, has stated that the license issued by the Aceh Governor violates the indicative moratorium map. If that’s the case, why has the Minister of Forestry now gone ahead and removed the peatland area in question from the revised map? This is a truly embarrassing state of affairs.”

Norwegian Minister of the Environment Erik Solheim has already had to rap Indonesian authorities over the knuckles for decisions proposing to define palm oil plantations as forests, with reports of billions of kroner in wasted aid.

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