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Papua deforestation threatens Indonesia's climate progress

Radio New Zealand - April 13, 2021

Greenpeace has warned that left unchecked, forest clearance in West Papua could undo Indonesia's progress in tackling climate change.

The environmental NGO has released a report looking at systematic violations on plantation and forest release permits in Indonesia-administered Papua region.

It said the land concessions marked for clearance in Papua hold an estimated 71.2 million tonnes of forest carbon.

If released, Greenpeace said this would make it almost impossible for Indonesia to meet its commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement.

The report, 'Licensed to Clear', details poor implementation of peatland and forest protection policies of the government of President Joko Widodo's administration.

These include forest and oil palm moratoriums which have lacked enforcement in Papua.

Greenpeace's researchers analysed Environment and Forestry Ministry records for the report which delves into the murky system of permits for forest clearance and palm oil plantations.

They found that the size of forest estate land released for plantations in Papua Province from 2000 to 2019 was almost a million hectares.

Both the national and provincial governments have been urged by Greenpeace to seize the opportunity for intervention in order to prevent further large-scale deforestation for palm oil in Papua.

The report said reversing efforts to clear trees and peatland on targetted concessions in Papua by providing meaningful protection for uncleared forest areas and customary land rights 'could be Indonesia's banner moment to take to the UN Conference of Parties later this year.'

Source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/440398/papua-deforestation-threatens-indonesia-s-climate-progres