An Indonesian coalition of NGOs has released a joint statement to call for improved transparency and sustainability criteria in the new Indonesian government policy to protect peatlands.

The NGO coalition (Gemapala Fakfa, Belantara Papua, Auriga, Eyes on The Forest, WWF Indonesia, Wetlands International, ELSAM, Yayasan Pusaka, HaKi and Kemitraan) expressed its support for the Indonesian government plans to protect and restore Indonesia’s peatland. However, the NGOs are concerned with the “land swap” policy, issued in July 2017, which allocates new HTI concessions on mineral soils as compensation to forestry companies that will have to restore peatlands in their own concessions.

The land swap policy and the areas to be allocated to new plantations have been defined  without transparency or public input. As a result, 921,230 hectares of land in Kalimantan, Sumatra, and Papua will be designated for land swaps and converted into pulpwood plantations. This policy endangers Indonesia’s remaining natural forests and may cause more conflicts with customary/local communities.

Indonesian civil society coalition calls on Government for transparency and accountability to protect and restore peatlands and forests and suggest three guidelines:

– Prioritise mineral soils under existing licenses that are currently inactive;
– Avoid areas that have remaining natural forest, even if it is degraded;
– Do not issue licenses for lands that are claimed or managed by customary/local communities

The statement released today also calls for the publication of the results of work-plan revisions as well as the plans for restoration of peatland ecosystems, a public auction for companies to select concessions within the designated areas to reduce secrecy, and to improve the land swap policy by ensuring that companies which acquire new areas remain responsible for the restoration of the peatlands they leave behind.

Read the full statement: Land Swap – Joint Statement with Spatial Analysis (English)