By Admin Pantau Gambut
President Joko Widodo once again made statements that contradict the situation on the ground at an international forum.
 ©Twitter @jokowi
©Twitter @jokowi

During his speech on April 16, 2023, at Hannover Messe 2023 in Hannover, Germany, the President claimed that the deforestation rate has significantly decreased and is at its lowest point in the past 20 years. He also mentioned that the number of forest and land fires (Karhutla) has decreased by 88%, although he did not specify the time period or measurement method. Ironically, just two days after the speech, Pantau Gambut discovered five hotspots in deep peatland areas within concessions in Medang Kampai, Dumai City, Riau Province. 

Land and forest fires in Dumai City, Riau ©Instagram @sepdum (SEPUTAR DUMAI)

The location mentioned is just a small part of the high-risk areas included in Pantau Gambut's analysis through the Karhutla Vulnerability Study 2023. The study, based on data from 2015 and 2019, found that 16.4 million hectares of the Peat Hydrological Unity (KHG) areas are susceptible to fires. Among them, 3.8 million hectares are categorized as high-risk areas, while 12.6 million hectares are classified as medium-risk areas. 

According to Wahyu Perdana, the Campaign Coordinator of Pantau Gambut, "The President is selectively choosing data that supports his statements because the reported figures on forest and land fires are not compared on an apple-to-apple basis." Without considering the climate cycle variables in Indonesia, the reduction in forest and land fires cannot be claimed. Wahyu suggests that it would be more objective for the President to specifically examine the years 2015 and 2019 when the largest forest and land fires occurred. 

In addition to contradicting the findings in the field, Jokowi's speech also goes against the government's commitment to climate justice. Through a Request for Judicial Review, the Supreme Court cleared President Jokowi and others from legal charges regarding the forest and land fire case in Central Kalimantan in 2015. This lawsuit should have compelled the President to issue regulations to address and prevent forest fires in Central Kalimantan. However, instead of taking appropriate action, the President issued a Perppu UUCK (Government Regulation in Lieu of Law) to strengthen the Omnibus Law, which ironically facilitates the whitewashing of concessions within forest areas. In fact, Pantau Gambut has recorded at least 857 palm oil plantations covering 3.4 million hectares that are actively operating within forest areas without valid forestry permits. Shockingly, the punishment imposed on these concessions is only limited to administrative sanctions. 

Wahyu added, "The government's claims of commitment, conveyed in both national and international forums, should align with the policies and strategic steps taken by the President." It is important to remember that peatlands in Indonesia store around 57 gigatons of carbon, accounting for approximately 30% of global carbon. The carbon reserves stored in peatlands will be released into the atmosphere if the peatlands are drained or converted, potentially contributing to 63% of total global carbon emissions. 

Media Contact

If you require guidance or consultation regarding this publication, you may contact:

Wahyu A Perdana  082112395919    Pantau Gambut's Campaigner
Yoga Aprillianno     081390203344    Pantau Gambut's Media Campaigner

Support Us

Share this information with your family and friends.