in Indonesia, Norway

Rainforest Action Network urges robust moratorium in Indonesia

Rainforest Action Network urges robust moratorium in IndonesiaRainforest Action Network has sent a briefing note to more than 100 companies that consume pulp, paper and palm oil, requesting that they support a robust moratorium on forest concessions in Indonesia. The companies include Staples, General Mills, Levis, and Bank of America.

According to a press release from Rainforest Action Network, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will sign a decree bringing the moratorium into effect in the next few days. Under the Letter of Intent for a REDD programme between Indonesia and Norway, through which Norway will potentially pay US$1 billion to Indonesia, the moratorium was supposed to start at the beginning of January 2011.

RAN’s briefing note for corporate consumers of pulp, paper and oil palm states that

The Rainforest Action Network welcomes President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s leadership and strong international commitments to reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions from its forest sector. We encourage international customers and investors to do the same, by adopting environmental and social safeguards relating to their own investments and supply chains and by supporting a broad, clear and verified moratorium administered by non-­interested parties that will effectively address deforestation and forest and peatland degradation.

The briefing explains that the moratorium could be an important tool in reducing deforestation and peatland destruction. “If designed and implemented effectively,” states RAN, “the moratorium offers a critical opportunity to initiate activities to recognize rural community tenure, and tackle corruption and illegal logging as well as to advance forest conservation goals.”

RAN notes that both version of the decree to implement the moratorium (one produced by the REDD-plus task force, the other by the Ministry of Economic Affairs) “have significant shortcomings and lack clarity relating to key issues such as:

  • participation and rights of indigenous peoples and other stakeholders;
  • which permits are to be subject to the moratorium
  • definitions of primary and secondary forests;
  • what data, decision making processes and governance will be used in the development of maps and implementation of the moratorium;
  • how information will be shared publicly; and
  • how the public will be involved in implementing the moratorium.

RAN calls on President Yudhoyono to ensure that the moratorium:

  • Covers all existing and proposed permits on conversion of all natural forests (both primary and secondary), high carbon (stock) landscapes and peatlands;
  • Recognizes indigenous community rights, tenures and title and ensures the right to free, prior and informed consent of affected communities;
  • Requires a review and prioritization of all permits containing natural forests and peat or involving social conflict, and identifies and suspends permits with irregularities;
  • Guarantees participation of impacted communities and other relevant stakeholders and includes dispute resolution procedures;
  • Adopts science based definitions of natural forests (including primary and secondary forests and “barren lands”), peatlands and high carbon (stock) forests and landscapes;
  • Provides clear and credible instructions and data sets consistent with the above points for the development of maps that will be used to implement the moratorium; and
  • Is administered by agencies/institutions that do not have a vested interest in forest conversion or a checkered track record such as the Ministry of Forests.

Rainforest Action Network Calls on Lead Palm Oil, Pulp and Paper Consumers to Support Indonesian Moratorium on Forest Destruction

Thursday, March 8, 2011

San Francisco, CA—Days before the President of Indonesian is expected to sign a moratorium on the expansion of logging on new pulp, paper and palm oil concessions, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) has warned leading consumer companies and investors of potential shortcomings in the moratorium. A Briefing Note about the moratorium was sent to almost 100 companies including Bank of America, General Mills, Target, Staples, Gucci Group, Office Depot, Scholastic, Levi’s, Safeway, and other leading brands.

RAN is urging companies to support Indonesia’s efforts to reign in deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions by adopting environmental and social safeguards on their supply chains as well as by advocating for a robust moratorium.

Indonesia is currently ranked as the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the US. Eighty percent of Indonesia’s emissions are the result of very high rates of rainforest and peatland loss, with the vast majority linked to large concessions for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations for international markets.

“At a time when Indonesia is ranked the third largest greenhouse gas emitter after China and the U.S., we welcome Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s continuing leadership to tackle deforestation and reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions.” Said Lafcadio Cortesi of Rainforest Action Network. “For the moratorium to halt deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it must be strengthened by Indonesia’s President and supported by private sector companies in the palm, pulp and paper sectors.”

The moratorium, which was agreed as part of the Letter of Intent on Cooperation on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation between the governments of Norway and Indonesia, is currently facing significant internal political disagreement about its scope, definitions and administration.

“The moratorium will not, on its own, eliminate the risk or controversy associated with Indonesian forest products,” continued Cortesi. “Meaningful implementation of this moratorium will require the active participation of corporate customers in the palm oil and pulp and paper sectors.”

Currently, there are two leading versions of the moratorium being considered by the president: one proposed by Indonesia’s National Task Force on REDD+ and one by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Rainforest Action Network’s Briefing suggests that both versions would require improvements to put in place the good governance, rights and transparency mechanisms that are essential for Indonesia to meet its climate pollution reduction targets and protect its forests andpeat lands.

“It’s vital that trading partners and investors in palm oil and pulp and paper advocate for a strong moratorium and they also need to adopt safeguards for their own businesses. This will help alleviate anticipated shortcomings with the moratorium and meet business interests in reducing environmental and socialrisk currently linked with these products,” said Cortesi.

The Briefing Note recommends companies:

  • Adopt and implement environmental and social safeguards throughout their supply chains to ensure emissions reductions and forest and peatland conservation as well as community rights and tenure;
  • Engage peers about deforestation issues in Indonesia and encourage them to adopt similar safeguards;
  • Engage with the U.S. government to support a robust moratorium and to provide financial, technical and political support to assist Indonesia in addressing corruption, community rights and tenure and conservation in its approach toreducing forest and peatland emissions; and,
  • Engage with the Indonesian government to encourage a robust moratorium and ensure that its implementation and administration are governed by parties without conflicts of interest.

Rainforest Action Network’s Tropical Forest Program has spent the last two years working with leading corporate consumers of pulp, paper and palm oil to tackle the greatest drivers of rainforest destruction in Indonesia.

To see the Briefing Note, please go to


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  1. As the leader of the team which produced the Agenda-21 document 15 years ago in Indonesia, I can only agree with your summary of the key issues and your call on president SBY and the palm oil and pulp and paper companies. You press release says it quite eloquently.

    My experience of the president is that he is a truly decent human being and will do what he feels is possible to implement the accord with Norway in spirit and letter. There are alos decent and concerned people in the corporate world and you are right to target them as well.

    All power to RAN on this one!

  2. I completely agree that safeguard should be established. However, listen to the past of forest projects as well as license bombarding Indonesian forest, it should be clear of what is meant by social and environmental safeguard. Indonesian government is a part of developing countries alliance that strongly demand for “national circumstances” ahead before going to any reference including safeguard to REDD. National circumstances are laid down in laws, practices even interpretations. They could be everything that are defined as national context. And many times it is a way to re-articulate laws and policies that blaming community’s rights as “rubbish” in what so called as “public interest”. If you look at the social and environmental safeguard of world bank to infrastructure guarantee fund, it refers to Indonesia’s national laws that give superpower mandate to project developers to excavate peoples from their land. It says “if you don’t agree with the projects, please get out of this region and we leave your compensation in the court”. It happens for the sake of what “public interest” which has a blur definition and justified as legal-political claim that is supposedly embedded with the existence of the state. According to the constitutional court’s definition on state-owned property that is challenged by lawyers of CSOs networking, state in Indonesian definition is coterminous to government. Simply put, State is government (see: Back to safeguard, it is important to really come out with some concrete proposal of principles, scope, indicators, definitions and other framework of safeguard. Otherwise, it is just like a proverb “non plaudite! Modo pecuniam jacite (Don’t applaud. Just throw money)…

  3. Steni …..safeguard means in the best interests of the UNFCCC and World Bank and their investors……..not the people or the environment , a complete twist of the word and its meaning by crooks.