2016-11-07

Minister designates Leuser Ecosystem as inseparable part of Aceh spatial plan

 



JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - After carrying out intensive monitoring as well as law enforcement efforts in the Leuser Ecosystem, as part of the implementation of the moratorium on the expansion of palm oil plantations and mining in the only ecosystem of its kind on earth, Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya, confirmed that legally the Leuser Ecosystem forms an integral part of the Aceh spatial plan.

The Qanun - a local regulation in Aceh - which established the Aceh spatial plan at the end of December 2013 stated that the Aceh state forest area map issued by the minister, formerly the Forestry Minister and now the Environment and Forestry Minister, represents an inseparable part of the Aceh spatial plan.

“I have already decided to incorporate the boundaries of the Leuser Ecosystem into the Aceh state forest area map,” the minister told foresthints.news on Thursday night (Nov 3) at a forestry discussion event held in Jakarta.

By incorporating the boundaries of the Leuser Ecosystem into the Aceh state forest area map, the minister continued, the Leuser Ecosystem would become in a legal sense an inseparable part of this map which, in turn, forms an inseparable part of the Aceh spatial plan.

Minister Siti Nurbaya said that this move was one of the legal measures she had at her disposal to incorporate the Leuser Ecosystem into the Aceh forest area map, which falls under her authority as minister.

“This is part of the government’s commitment to the Leuser Ecosystem, particularly from our ministry. It’s a really important development to follow up on the joint declaration made by myself and Aceh leaders with regard to the moratorium on the expansion of palm oil plantations and mining in the Leuser Ecosystem in April,” the minister explained.

When the Director General of Forestry Planology and Environmental Governance at the ministry, San Afri Awang, was asked for clarification about how far along the revision process for the map was, he said that it had already been completed last Friday (Nov 4).

“There’s just some administrative business left to take care of,” the Director General told foresthints.news on Monday (Nov 7).

A clear commitment

Greenomics Indonesia, the research-based NGO which has been extensively involved in Leuser Ecosystem protection efforts along with the ministry, as well as the Aceh government, praised the decision and move by the Environment and Forestry Minister to incorporate the boundaries of the Leuser Ecosystem into the Aceh state forest area map.

“From what I can see, the minister has a really clear commitment to the Leuser Ecosystem,” Vanda Mutia Dewi, Greenomics Indonesia Executive Director, told foresthint.news on Monday (Nov 7).

Vanda went on to say that based on the findings of on-the-ground monitoring conducted by the ministry, which included Greenomics as part of the monitoring team, Aceh’s forests remained intact to a significant extent, especially those distributed throughout the Leuser Ecosystem, and could still be preserved.