Indonesia Puts Moratorium on New Forest Clearing

JAKARTA: Indonesia will place a two-year moratorium on new concessions to clear natural forests and peatlands under a deal signed with Norway aimed at reducing greenhouse gases, the government said in a statement.

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday witnessed the signing of an agreement in Oslo under which Norway will invest US$1 billion (RM3.31 billion) in forest conservation projects in Indonesia.

“In the second phase of the partnership, Indonesia is prepared to suspend for two years new concessions for the conversion of peat and natural forest lands,” said the statement issued late on Wednesday after the talks.

“Sufficient non-forest lands exist for Indonesia to accommodate the growth of its vitally important plantation industries, a major source of livelihoods in Indonesia.”
The suspension would encourage the development of new plantations “on degraded lands rather than vulnerable forests and peatlands”.

Previous concessions granted to clear forest land are likely to still be honoured, since the statement only referred to new concessions.

Palm oil firms such as Wilmar and Indofood Agri Resources have big expansion plans in Indonesia, already the largest producer of an oil used to make everything from biscuits to soap.

Part of Norway’s US$1 billion will be spent on creating monitoring systems and pilot projects under a UN-backed forest preservation scheme . – Reuters

Source : Business Times

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