April 9, 2019

EU needs to take President Jokowi’s objections seriously

JAKARTA ( - President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has expressed his objections to the recently-adopted EU Delegated Act - which aims to phase out the use of palm oil in biofuels across EU countries - in a joint letter with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sent to the EU. 

President Jokowi’s objections should be taken very seriously by the EU, given that it is his two signatures that produced the legal framework for the policy of ending peat destruction and deforestation of good forest cover for the expansion of palm oil plantations

This move by the President to create a legal framework based on no peat and no deforestation of good forest cover was courageous as a lot of struggle was involved in getting it in place.

President Jokowi’s complaints about the recently-adopted EU delegated act shouldn’t simply be ignored by the EU, considering that he has the power to cancel the existing legal framework which is targeted towards ending peat drainage and deforestation of good forest cover.  

In this regard, the editorial team of is concerned about maintaining the existing legal framework which seeks to prevent peat destruction and deforestation of good forest cover. This requires the support and efforts of the government and all relevant stakeholders, including the EU. 

The following photos, first presented in a report by in April last year, show two palm oil concessions inhabited by the Bornean orangutan which were hit by sanctions from the Environment and Forestry Ministry requiring them to stop their operations, as they were engaged in new peat development in violation of the existing legal framework.


Although law enforcement efforts to date have not dealt with all the relevant cases, as reported by (Feb 25), these actions have been made possible by the existing legal framework prohibiting new peat development for palm oil expansion. 

Avoid counterproductive measures   

The EU delegated act should be providing options and solutions that are not potentially counterproductive to the existing legal framework behind Indonesia’s no peat and no deforestation of good forest cover policy. 

Indeed, if Indonesia is forced to abandon this legal framework as a result of its discouragement with the EU delegated act, it will be difficult for the country to return to the point where it is today.   

Concern about the potential loss of the legal framework for no peat and no deforestation of good forest cover due to President Jokowi’s disappointment with the EU delegated act was conveyed in a prior news report (Mar 26).

The loss of the existing legal framework underpinning the President’s palm oil expansion moratorium would be very significant, seeing that it has legally stopped the majority of processes for granting new palm oil permits - totaling over 100, equivalent to twenty times the size of Singapore - as previously reported by (Mar 29)

Moreover, the existing legal framework for no peat and no deforestation of good forest cover has resulted in millions of hectares of intact forests in West Papua and Papua provinces shifting status, from planned deforestation for palm oil expansion to unplanned deforestation, as also earlier reported by (Apr 2).