News / Asia

    Indonesia's Deforestation Moratorium Still on Hold

    Deforestation, forest dependent community on the Kampar Peninsula in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia.
    Deforestation, forest dependent community on the Kampar Peninsula in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia.

    A two-year moratorium on the burning of forest lands in Indonesia, that was supposed to start at the beginning of the year, is still on hold.  The ban is part of a one billion-dollar deal with Norway to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that some scientists say are the primary cause of global warming.

    Indonesia is the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions.  Deforestation, mostly because of the burning of forests for palm oil farming and mining that currently happens at a rate of 100 million hectors a year, accounts for 50 percent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 26 percent by 2020.  A two-year moratorium on the development of new forest land, that was supposed to begin back in January, is a key part of Indonesia's environmental initiative and is part of a one billion dollar deal with Norway to protect forests and reduce emissions.

    But the ban has been delayed and the task force charged with developing the moratorium is struggling to come up with ways to make environmental gains without causing economic pain.

    Nur Masripatin, director of the Center for Standardization and Environment with the Ministry of Forestry, says it is not economically feasible to expect Indonesia to halt development in all rural areas.

    “If your country, having 70 percent of your country land is forest and your population keep growing, is it realistic that in the future, 30 years in the future, you expected your forest still [is] 70 percent of the forest area?" she asked.

    The task force is working on definitions she says that will help delineate what areas will be affected by the ban.

    Green Peace campaigner Yuyun Idradi is skeptical that the moratorium, when it is finally enacted, will have any environmental impact.   He says the ban will only cover new land permits, not existing ones, and that most of the areas to be covered are already designated as protected forests.   He says the whole process is being delayed by corporate lobbying.

    "Negotiation is being closed and there is no information at all up to now and we don't know how the new draft and when it is going to be signed," Idradi stated.

    Robert Daniel with the Climate Change Unit at the British Embassy in Jakarta says when the ban is enacted, it will not significantly reduce short-term emissions of greenhouse gases.

    "What you are talking about is climate change here,” Daniel said. “Very little forest will be protected as a result of the moratorium.  But that is not the point.  As we were saying before, this is a process.  It is a step along the road to reducing deforestation.”

    He says the process involves getting businesses to buy into the economic advantages of sustainable development practices.  Daniel says replanting trees in logging areas, increasing productivity in existing palm oil plantations to meet growing demand and developing geothermal energy will bring both economic benefit and reduce emissions, in the long term.

    The Forestry Ministry's Masripatin also sees the moratorium as part of a long-term process in managing its natural resources.

    "We should not see [the immediate] impact of the moratorium.  This is very important for us to give us time to review how we manage our forestry resources in the past and what will be needed in the future," Masripatin said.

    She says it is better to delay enacting the moratorium so as to develop a careful, workable plan, rather than to make a sweeping pronouncement that might damage the economy and be overturned in court.

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora