[Jakarta, 29 June 2016] The findings of a spatial analysis conducted by Greenomics Indonesia in relation to the Peatland Restoration Project Indicative Map have revealed that that the map is misleading as it is not based on the prevailing regulations. Consequently, the map, which was produced by the Peat Restoration Agency (BRG), should be immediately withdrawn from the public consultation process.
This was stated by Vanda Mutia Dewi, executive director of Greenomics Indonesia, in Jakarta on Wednesday (Jun 29).
Vanda stated that the bringing of pressure to bear by the BRG on President Jokowi to incorporate most peatlands in the moratorium zone was an example of how the agency was misleading the public, both in substantive terms and having regard to the legal aspects.
Vanda commented: "Most of the peatland areas that the BRG is asking to be incorporated in the moratorium zone are already designated as moratorium areas based on the Indicative Map for the Deferment of New License Issuance (PIPPIB) in primary forest and peatland areas. This shows that the BRG did not use the PIPPIB map as a reference during the preparation of its indicative map. Thus, the pressure that has been applied by the BRG may only be described as embarrassing from the technical perspective. The BRG now needs to issue a public apology to President Jokowi."
She said that this example of legal weakness in the BRG’s indicative map had been brought directly to the agency’s attention. It was proven that the BRG map had been prepared without using the PIPPIB map as a reference.
The Greenomics spatial analysis also revealed that the BRG’s indicative map identified illegal palm plantations located in state forest areas as being well-managed peatlands. Vanda pointed out that the BRG map was highly advantageous to a number of palm-oil groups.
"It's very clear that the BRG’s indicative map conflicts with the legal aspects. It also reveals the BRG’s lack of capacity to conduct mapping in accordance with the law," said Vanda.
She said that what was even more surprising was the fact that the BRG map characterized peat domes that had been planted with acacia and oil palms as “well-managed peatlands.”
"Consequently, the BRG’s indicative map greatly favors a particular pulp and paper company and a number of palm-oil companies headquartered in Singapore. This needs to be addressed and corrected,” said Vanda.
If the definition of the term "well-managed peat" refers to peatland that was not devastated by the fires of the past few years, then the use of the term is highly misleading from the technical perspective, Vanda pointed out.
She said that the BRG’s indicative map failed to reflect the BRG’s efforts to revegetate peat domes that had been drained and planted with acacia and oil palm. A good example of this, she continued, is Riau Province, one of the provinces prioritized for peat restoration.
"Both in substantive and legal terms, the BRG’s indicative map is misleading to all involved. We can prove it, both spatially and in the field," Vanda stressed.
Consequently, she urged BRG Chief Nazir Foead to not only issue a public apology to President Jokowi, but also to apologize to the public for providing public consultation material that included a legally misleading indicative map. ***