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Indonesia seeks to continue ban on forest clearings

 | May 14, 2015

Moratorium will provide room for the ecosystem to recover and government to improve its management of the environment


SINGAPORE: Indonesia is looking to extend a moratorium on forest clearing for plantation and mining activities, Channel News Asia reported Arief Yowono as saying yesterday.

Yowono, who is Indonesia’s Deputy Minister for Environment Degradation Control and Climate Change, was attending the second Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

He told reporters that his government was still working on the terms of the moratorium.

The two-year moratorium, which was initiated in 2011 to protect some 60 million hectares of primary forest and peatland mostly in Sumatra and Kalimantan, was extended in 2013. It expired yesterday, May 13.

The moratorium, he added, provided room for the ecosystem to recover as well as allowed time for the government to improve its management of the forest environment.

“We have to improve our monitoring operation systems,” he conceded, and “connect this moratorium implementation with other instruments, other laws and regulations, including law enforcement.”

He said that Indonesia, having ratified ASEAN’s Transboundary Haze Pollution Agreement in 2014, was now prepared to host its coordinating centre.

The centre is intended as a platform for decision-making on issues relating to forest fires.

Speaking during the dialogue, The Nation reported Yuwono as calling for a balance between economic development, social issues and the environment.

Acknowledging that Indonesia’s economy was heavily reliant on natural resources, he said that the centre of development was the sustainability of the environment to support social human welfare.

“Therefore, a synergised approach among social, economic and environmental principles was needed,” he added.

He also encouraged investment in Indonesia’s plantation-based industries, adding that although such industries were labour intensive, that was in actual fact a good thing as it would address Indonesia’s high unemployment rate.


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