2016-02-28

Budgetary governance by peat agency to be closely watched, activist group says


JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - The issues of budgetary governance and the way in which the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency sets about achieving its targets in a substantial manner are to be closely watched, given that these two issues are considered of primary importance in the view of the public.

The peat agency’s pursuit of its targets - whether by using the Indonesian state budget or international funds - unquestionably requires that the principles of transparency and accountability are clearly and properly applied so that the wider public has full trust in the operations of the agency.

"The chief of the peat agency is already very familiar with these issues as well as the importance of putting into practice the principles of transparency and accountability, thanks to his extensive experience related to these two key principles. Nevertheless, it is essential that the agency is closely and continuously monitored to ensure it prioritizes these two principles in its efforts to achieve its peat restoration targets," Sely Martini, Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW)'s activist, told foresthints.news on Tuesday (Feb 22) in Jakarta.

Sely stressed that it is not just the handling of international funds - one of the main sources of financing when it comes to peat restoration efforts - which requires transparency and accountability. These principles also extend to the matter of budgetary governance.

"Both the state budget and international funds have to be treated in the same way. The way in which both are used needs to be transparent and accountable, in particular when it comes to budgetary governance and how this could facilitate the achievement of predetermined peat restoration targets," she continued.

The activist also warned that one of main challenges facing the peat agency in the days ahead is how to develop a system of intergovernmental institution coordination and collaboration which consistently prioritizes the principles of transparency and accountability.

"It would be unfortunate if the peat agency finds itself trapped sometime in the future. To avoid this, it would be better for the agency to be transparent and accountable from the outset,” she urged, before going on to express her belief that only with the application of the principles of good governance can the peat agency achieve its desired targets.

"I’ve come to the conclusion that it is vital for civil society groups along with the greater public to monitor how the principles of good governance are being applied by the agency in pursuit of its peat restoration targets. What we really want is for burned and damaged peatlands to be restored in a way that unwaveringly adheres to the principles of good governance," Sely explained.

With respect to this matter, the Chief of the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency, Nazir Foead, had previously said that the peat agency needs to manage and utilize its funds with integrity and accountability, especially bearing in mind that the agency will be relying on international funding as one of its major financing sources for its operations until 2020.