Greenpeace has welcomed Indonesia’s agreement with Norway to impose a two-year moratorium on deforestation, but urged Jakarta to re-evaluate permits already issued for forest clearance.
“We appreciate Indonesia and Norway’s cooperation and also Indonesia’s plan to introduce a two-year moratorium to stop conversion of peatlands and forests,” Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Joko Arif said on Thursday.
The moratorium was part of a deal reached with Norway, which has agreed to contribute up to US$1 billion to help preserve Indonesia’s forests, considered essential for protecting the world’s atmosphere.
“But to be more effective in combating deforestation, the government must evaluate existing permits as many of them have legal problems,” which allow the holders to clear peatlands, he said.
“Without evaluating existing permits, it’s like the government is closing one of its eyes to the present problems,” Arif said.
Indonesia accounts for much of the world’s deforestation, especially on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, where forests have been cleared for palm oil and acacia plantations.
Indonesia, along with neighbouring Malaysia, produces 80 percent of the world’s palm oil, used for among other things food and cosmetics.
Acacia plantations provide pulp for paper and packaging materials.
Because of the destruction of its forests, Indonesia is the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, a gas blamed for global warming, after the United States and China, according to some estimates.