Indonesia investigates violations of forest agreement with Norway
Stine Barstad 28 feb 2012
Aften Posten Norway
(note: This post is originally published in Norwegian and translated using google translate)
Governor would have palm oil plantation in the middle of an area that was protected by Norwegian forest-money. Now the conservation area removed from the map.
Indonesian authorities have started investigation into a possible violation of the forestry agreement with Norway, after the governor of Aceh province in Indonesia in august surprisingly gave the company permission to create a palm oil plantation in the middle of the province’s protected torvmyrområde.
The area was protected in May 2011 as part of the forest agreement between Norway and Indonesia – where the government has promised the country up to six billion in the years ahead if they manage to preserve the country’s rain forests and peat bogs.
Major CO2 savings
These are important repositories for the greenhouse gas CO 2, and a braking of deforestation in Indonesia is therefore an important and highly effective climate with global consequences.
As part of the agreement committed Indonesia to institute a two-year halt in the issuance of new licenses to clear natural forests and peatlands, and detailed maps were compiled to show which areas were covered by this logging-stop – the so-called moratorium.
– Fatal error
So, just three months after the agreement was in the box, sign the governor of Aceh province, an agreement that provides a palm oil company permission to remove 1600 hectares of the protected peat bog.
A map TKPRT – Coalition Team for the Rehabilitation of Trips – has drawn up clearly show that the entire plantation area is within protected areas.
Head of group president has appointed to overlook the implementation of forest agreement, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, told Reuters during the international climate negotiations in Durban in November last year that it was a “serious mistake” to open up the protected area for palm oil production.
– To sign a contract with a palm oil company that allows conversion of protected peatlands for palm oil plantations, clearly in breach of the moratorium, he told Reuters.
Clearing without a license
Also Indonesia’s forestry minister, Hadi Daryanto, told the Jakarta Post that the permit was a violation of the treaty:
– It violates the 2011 moratorium on new hugsttillatelser because Irwandi issued the permit after the moratorium was signed, he said, and asked the country’s interior minister to revoke the permit.
However, it seems to be too late: According to the Jakarta Post the company started PT Kallista Alam to clarify the area in January 2010 – over half a year before the permit was signed. TKPRT Data obtained show that the effort to prepare the area for palm oil production was virtually completed in October 2010.
Norwegian Ambassador: Surprised
According to the Forest Minister of the Ministry is currently working on gathering information to see whether the information is correct. If it proves to be the case, the Forest Department to go to court against the company.
– The governor of Aceh is considered a pioneer in terms of green development, and use the moratorium as a tool for this. Therefore, we are surprised to hear allegations that he may have violated the President’s moratorium. This is a case Indonesian authorities, including Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, should consider and take action, said the Norwegian ambassador in Jakarta, forever Homme, told Reuters at the UN climate talks in Durban.
Protected areas removed
Then the case took a strange turn.
According to the agreement between Norway and Indonesia to the maps for the areas covered by the moratorium is updated with the best data available every 6 month, as Indonesia gains more and better view of the country’s conservation areas.
After the first revision of the maps were presented last December, was the area where the controversial plantation is suddenly no longer marked as protected.
It was the Indonesian environmental organization Greenomics to react.
– Forest Minister has said that the license issued by the Aceh governor violates the first moratorium map. If true, why has he gone away and removed the peat bog in question from the revised map?This is truly an embarrassing situation, says the leader of Greenomisc Indonesia, Elfian Effendi, in a press release .
He now demands that the government is investigating his own actions to find out how and why this could happen.
Greenpeace: A new violation of the agreement
Several other protected areas are also removed from the map – according to Truls Gulowsen of Greenpeace Norway, a total of 3.6 million hectares of forests and bogs that were marked protection of the fetus moratorium map is no longer protected under the brand audit.
– The audit represents a further deterioration of an already very weak moratorium, and is a new violation of the rainforest agreement between Norway and Indonesia, says Gulowsen to Aftenposten.no.
According to Ambassador Homme, the Indonesian government has not yet reached the bottom of the matter.
– Indonesian authorities are still investigating this matter and we await their conclusion. Moratorium is one of Indonesia’s chosen tool for reducing deforestation, therefore, any violation of the moratorium seriously. We expect that the moratorium be followed up and prosecuted violations of the moratorium, he said.
Embassy: Do not be a violation
He stressed that it was expected that there would be changes to the protected areas along the way – and that changes in the map is not necessarily the same as a breach of the moratorium.
He points out that it is now developed more detailed maps with higher resolution level, and that one has a better overview of the licenses that were issued since the moratorium came into force. The areas that were already in use for agriculture, or where there are settlements, are now exempt from the moratorium. He says this reality need not mean loss of protected areas, but that one has a better correlation between map and terrain.