2016-06-14

Data submitted by APP to peat agency still incomplete


JAKARTA
(foresthints.news) - The Chief of the Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency (BRG), Nazir Foead, has confirmed from Oslo, where he is attending the 2016 REDD Exchange conference, that the data submitted by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP)on Monday (Jun 13) to the peat agency has turned out to be incomplete.

“The data required which has not been included is essential as it shows the location of zones which are to be incorporated into protection zones,” Nazir told foresthints.news in a written statement on Tuesday (Jun 14).

He said that typically in a situation like this, the data should be received in full by the peat agency no later than Friday afternoon (Jun 17), so that it can be immediately reviewed as a complement to the government data already held by BRG, particularly with respect to designating peat protection zones especially in pulpwood concessions.

“There are definitely going to be newly-designated peat protection zones that involve production zones in the existing business operation plans (Rencana Kerja Usaha/RKU) of pulpwood concessions, most notably production zones that to date have been operating in peat domes.” Nazir then went a step further. “What’s more, burned peatlands located in production zones will also be taken over by the government.”

He asserted that the peat agency will play an active role in strengthening the revision of business operation plans for all pulpwood concessions operating in peatlands spread throughout seven priority provinces.

“The revision of business operation plans for all pulpwood concessions operating in peatlands, particularly in protection zones and burned peatlands, forms part of our peat restoration efforts.”

In Nazir’s view, the legal avenue for achieving these objectives is clear, in the form of the Environment and Forestry Minister's Decree which provides backing on an operational level. In addition, there is also the Presidential Regulation which established the peat agency as a legal umbrella entity.

He added that the data already submitted by business groups will undergo final verification by a team of experts, the members of which were previously appointed by the peat agency chief as a follow-up to the presidential decree forming the peat agency.

“This verification process has been designed in such a way as to rule out the possibility of anything occurring which conflicts with good governance,” Nazir explained.

The Peat Agency Chief emphasized that the designation of protection zones in pulpwood concessions would be carried out in accordance with legal and scientific procedures in a measured and rigorous manner. “What is important and should be noted is that these peat restoration efforts are being undertaken now. We are not waiting for concession permits to expire.”

The uncompromising attitude that the peat agency has adopted towards APP comes in the aftermath of last year’s massive forest and land fires which caused damage and losses amounting to billions of dollars - USD 16.1 billion to be exact. It is unquestionable that APP-linked concessions contributed significantly to these losses given that hundreds of thousands of hectares of these concessions situated in South Sumatra were burned.

Nazir concluded his remarks from the Norwegian capital by saying, “Priority will be given to the revision of business operation plans for pulpwood concessions located in priority regencies. In two such priority regencies in South Sumatra, for example, there are APP-linked concessions in which extremely severe burning of peatlands took place.”