Jakarta mulls forest moratorium extension

Jakarta mulls forest moratorium extension

SINGAPORE: Indonesia is mulling extending a forest moratorium, a two-year suspension of forest concessions which expire this year, to battle growing deforestation.

Arief Tuwono, Deputy Minister for Environment, Degradation Control and Climate Change of Indonesia's Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the extension of the moratorium is to promote sustainable use of land and stabilise deforestation.

According to Mr Tuwono, the government is working on the final draft of the moratorium which will be issued with the focus on law enforcement. The minister was speaking at the 2nd Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources in Singapore.

Indonesia is blamed by the region for its trans-border haze problem caused by deforestation, and slash-and-burn practices on peat land and agricultural areas, especially palm oil plantations.

In Indonesia, around 60% of export commodities comprise natural resources-based industries including mineral fuels, lubricants, and animal and vegetable oils, said Mr Tuwono.

Large expansion of palm oil plantations and severe haze problems prompted Indonesia's government to declare a primary forest moratorium in 2011-2015 — a suspension on granting new permits.

Mr Tuwono said Indonesia will propose Asean countries meeting in September to establish an Asean Coordination Centre for forest fires as he said the problem needs regional engagement.

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