Norway Agreement in Limbo, Waiting for SBY to Sign

sumber : JakartaGlobe

7 January 2011

Environmental groups have lambasted the government for failing to enact a much-hyped moratorium on granting logging concessions due to start on Jan. 1.

The two-year moratorium on granting new concessions in peatland and primary forests is part of a bilateral agreement with Norway, in exchange for which Indonesia will receive $1 billion in funding for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD-Plus) schemes.

In order for the moratorium to be legally binding, it must be backed by a presidential decree, which has still not been signed. Joko Arif, a forest campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, criticized President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s lack of leadership in deciding which of the draft decrees drawn up by various government bodies should be signed.

“The REDD task force is under his command, as are the ministries, so how is it that they’re competing with each other and causing confusion by proposing several different drafts?” Joko said on Friday.

“The president’s leadership here must be questioned because these are all institutions under his command. He should take a firm decision on this moratorium if he’s serious about it,” he added.

Bernadinus Steni, program coordinator for climate change and REDD from the Association for Community and Ecology-Based Law Reform (HuMa), said that while a presidential decree was necessary for domestic enforcement of the moratorium, there would be no international legal ramifications for Indonesia if the decree was not signed.

“We’ve basically already broken the agreement by failing to obey the deadline for the moratorium, but there won’t be any legal consequences for us because international law doesn’t really consider a letter of intent to be binding,” he said.

However, he said failure to act on the agreement could affect the disbursement of funding from the Norwegian government.

“That’s what happened with Brazil,” Bernadinus said, referring to the $1 billion Amazon Trust Fund, also set up by Norway, to protect the South American rainforest.

“That’s the strongest penalty Indonesia could face, which would mean we’d have to renegotiate the deal,” he added.

Heru Prasetyo, secretary of the government’s REDD task force, said his office was going ahead with preparations to implement the moratorium.

“Everyone knows we’re still waiting for the president’s decision,” he said.