Sunday, 30 May 2010

President to ensure deforestation efforts work

President to ensure deforestation efforts work

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo Sat, 05/29/

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono himself will directly monitor the implementation of a Norway-Indonesia partnership in reducing deforestation, which includes a two-year moratorium of new concessions of forest and peat land conversion.

"I will be active in at least two things: monitoring the implementation in the field, and secondly I will ask for regular periodical from the agency in charge so I will know the progress, which if anything happens we can work it out," he told a final briefing Friday noon at Holmenkollen Park Hotel Rica in Oslo.

Attending the briefing were related ministers, governors whose provinces might become pilot projects, House of Representatives lawmakers, members of the Regional Representatives Council and rectors of the Andalas Universities and the Bogor Institute of Agriculture.

Under the partnership signed on Wednesday Indonesia will receive US$1 billion in grant from Norway to preserve its forests. The money will be paid in stages, depending on Indonesia's progress in protecting the forests.

The terms agreed upon in the partnership include capacity building, in which Indonesia will develop an oversight agency to be led by Chairman of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Monitoring and Control Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, pilot projects in some areas to be selected by Indonesia and Norway; and, finally, nationwide projects.

No money will be disbursed if Norway does not see any progress, said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Yudhoyono earlier said this partnership would not hurt the "continuation" of palm oil industry, which he said could utilize degraded land.

The President said the partnership was very important to Indonesia that he would oversee regions where the pilot projects would take place. "I will go down to the field either by helicopter or land transportation," he said.