JAKARTA – A coalition of 12 civil society groups is calling for full transparency and also the involvement of the society in the implementation of a planned presidential instruction on a moratorium on new palm oil plantations.
“Civil society organizations support the government’s issuance of a Presidential Instruction (INPRES) on a Palm Oil Moratorium, on condition that for it to be perfect, it should be transparent and oriented towards the safeguarding of the environment and the respect of human rights,” said Muhammad Teguh Surya from the Madani Foundation, one of the members of the coalition.
The government, according to Surya, had already prepared a draft INPRES “for the Postponement and Evaluation of Permits for Palm Oil Plantation and Increasing the Productivity of Palm Oil Plantations,” better known as the Inpres Moratorium, and the coalition wanted to contribute a number of inputs.
Representatives of Madani, along with those from Kaoem Telapak, Kemitraan, ELSAM, KEHATI, SPSK, Sawit Watch, ICEL, WRI, FWI , Greenpeace and Tuk Indonesia, met with Moeldoko who heads the Ofice of the Presidential Staff, on February 26, 2018 to discuss the INPRES and provide their input,
Surya, who spoke to The Palm Scribe in a telephone interview, said that the coalition was also calling on the government to involve representatives from civil society organization in the working team to be set up under the Inpres to implement the policy.
He said that the involvement of the civil society in could “strengthen and assist the supervision of the implementation at the site level, for example through independent monitoring, data supply, regular communication and other means.”
Surya said that the coalition was fully in support of the government’s efforts to put the management of the palm oil sector in Indonesia in order so that it can become more sustainable.
A pointer released by the coalition after the meeting with Moeldoko, said that the moratorium and review of existing plantation permit, will curb the expansion of palm oil plantation,
“The civil society groupings support efforts to raise productivity through intensification and not the extensification of palm oil plantations,” the coalition said in the pointer.
Surya said that under the Inpers, the government will conduct a review of all existing Palm Oil Plantation Permits and that a working team would be formed under a Coordinating Ministry to implement it.
“The working team should be transparent and open, starting from its establishment up to whatever work it is doing, so that the public can monitor how the Inpres Moratorium is proceeding,” pointers issued by the coalition after the meeting with Moeldoko said.
Surya also pointed out that it was important for any of the palm oil companies which will be subject to the evaluation of their permit, not to be represented in the working team to avoid conflict of interest.
The pointers, meanwhile, said that the working team should synergize and synchronize with existing systems such as those built by the agriculture ministry, the Plantation Permit Information System (SIPERIBUN), the System of Information and Performance Monitoring for Sustainable Plantation (SIP Kebun).
It should also work together with the Corruption Eradication Commssion, local administrations and development partners.
It said that the moratorium should cover not only those in forest areas but also in land for other uses: “because the palm oil plantation coverage is already very high and most of it is problematic.”
The coalition also said that it was important for the government to prepare and announce the mechanism for verifying the achievements, the priority areas, and to guarantee that the results be open to the public, including on the matter of evaluation of concessions which had already been awarded and land swap plans.
It also said that the implementation of the INPRES should be divided into two parts. The postponement of new permits should start on the date the INPRES was issued and not by three years at the latest after its issuance.
The period for the evaluation of the permits should not be limited to three years but should be based on the related criteria and indicators.