On 29 January 2019, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) released a press release entitled “KLHK and BRG has restored 4 million hectares of peatland”. The statement was made without reference to maps or details on where the restoration was completed.
How can independent civil society organizations and public verify the peatland restoration that has been claimed by the government?
The government should have learned from the 2015 disastrous forest fires. The government’s opacity on business permits, especially those located in peatlands, was one of the reasons the massive fire happened in the first place. Consequently, 2.6 million hectares of forest and land was burned, causing economic losses up to Rp 221 trillion and the evacuation of many people.
Given its non-transparent position on the peat restoration information, it seems the Ministry of Environment and Forestry is tempting yet another disaster. Not to mention that the lack of transparency in the process involving land allocation and use is prone to corruption and transactional behavior.