The wait is over and it’s official. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed Presidential Decree this week marking the start of the two-year moratorium on forest conversion licenses. The much anticipated decree covers all primary forests and peatlands located in conversion forests, protected forests and production forests that had not been issued permits.
The reality is the moratorium was effectively put in place January 1, 2011 just as the government promised. No new licenses and no expansion of existing licenses has been the policy of action since the start of the year.
The primary difference now is that the wait – and the debate on what will and won’t or should and shouldn’t be included in the final language – is officially over. But the big question facing all of us involved in Indonesian forestry-related businesses remains: What do we do for the next two years?
It’s important to remember the moratorium is not primarily about what won’t take place during that two year-period, e.g. halting conversion of forest for economic development. Much more significant is what will take place during that same timeframe.
What happens in Indonesia over the next two years will shape the future of the Indonesian forestry sector. We want to emerge with a clear vision for Indonesian spatial planning and land management that holistically addresses the ecological, economic and social challenges we face in the future. An open and transparent process bringing together the full range of stakeholders from government (national, regional and local), private industry, academia and NGOs/social leaders will help us develop a plan that drives the most productive and sustainable use of our natural resources possible while balancing conservation and environmental issues with social and economic development needs.
We also must recognize that private industry is equally responsible for using the moratorium period to assess and advance internal sustainable forestry management practices and programs. Over the last three months the Asia Pulp & Paper Group has outlined a series of initiatives we will undertake in partnership with our pulpwood suppliers. Some of our recent announcements outlining our plans include:
- New research and development initiatives
- A pledge to 100% industry adherence to national wood legality laws
- A commitment to the UN CEO Water manage and partnership with Nalco to explore new water conservation technologies and practices
These initiatives will roll up into Vision 2020, an umbrella program to layout Asia Pulp & Paper Group’s vision for sustainable management practices across our mills, pulpwood concessions, conservation areas and social investment efforts.
Bottom line is that it’s not enough to just say we support the moratorium. What matters most are actions. Indonesia will take action to emerge from the moratorium with a healthier forestry industry guided by clear and definitive plan for the future development of our economy. While Asia Pulp & Paper will take action to emerge from the moratorium a healthier business with a clear and definitive vision for the future of our sustainable forestry management, manufacturing, conservation and social investment programs.
So now let the real work begin!
Tags: APP, Asia Pulp & Paper, Asia Pulp and Paper, conservation, forest certification, forest protection, Moratorium, Nalco, pulp and paper industry, Riau, sustainability, sustainable forest management, Vision 2020, water crisis