As world leaders prepared to sign the Paris Climate Agreement, Indonesian President Jokowi announced a plan to establish a country-wide moratorium on palm oil and mining permits, which has the potential to limit palm oil expansion in Indonesia. Yesterday, Siti Nurbaya, the Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry, together with Acehnese leaders, declared their commitment for the moratorium to be enforced in the Leuser Ecosystem—a large, critical area of intact forests threatened by palm oil expansion in the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra.
This announcement is a major milestone in the fight to protect the irreplaceable Leuser Ecosystem, the last place on Earth where critically endangered Sumatran elephants, rhinos, tigers and orangutans coexist in the wild. This valuable natural asset also helps to mitigate global climate change and provides a clean water supply, livelihoods and protection against flooding and other avoidable disasters for local communities.
It is clear that the only thing that can save the Leuser Ecosystem is strong, decisive action by the Indonesian and Aceh governments. In order for the moratorium to deliver real change on the ground, it must be enforced and extended to cover existing palm oil permits and all destructive activities.
All new palm oil permits must be cancelled and old plantation permits should be evaluated in accordance with existing national laws that govern their activities and protect the Leuser Ecosystem. Aceh’s Spatial Plan must also be formally rejected and revised to secure the long-term protection of the Leuser Ecosystem.
Sign on today to show your support for the moratorium and stand with communities working to halt the bulldozers, and create real change for the priceless Leuser Ecosystem and the people of Aceh.
Dear President Jokowi,
I am writing to express my support for the country-wide moratorium you have declared on new palm oil and mining permits.
Indonesia’s announced moratorium on palm oil and mining expansion, which touches down in the Leuser Ecosystem, is a hugely positive step forward in the fight for rainforests and forest species, the customary rights and livelihoods of local communities, and the climate.
The fact that this announcement was made days before the official signing of the Paris Agreement—an agreement that explicitly names the vital role that forests play in the fight against climate change—further underlines its importance.
The moratorium also highlights how much work still needs to be done to uphold customary rights and to protect critical habitats, intact forests and the climate from the threats posed by global demand for cheap commodities.
If implemented successfully, this effort could halt the destruction of forests and peatlands inside the Leuser Ecosystem, reduce Indonesia’s carbon footprint and the severity of the annual haze crisis, and secure the lives and livelihoods of countless communities.
The Leuser Ecosystem is an irreplaceable, valuable natural asset and it is clear that the only thing that can save it is strong, decisive action by the Indonesian and Aceh governments. The global community stands with local communities to request that the moratorium is enforced and extended to cover existing palm oil permits and all destructive activities. All new palm oil permits must be cancelled and old plantation permits must be evaluated in accordance with national laws governing their activities and with the national law No. 11/2006 that protects the Leuser Ecosystem. Aceh’s Spatial Plan must also be formally rejected and revised to secure the long-term protection of the Leuser Ecosystem.
Only through these actions will real change be delivered to the ground.