#Indonesia – NGO urges Jokowi to issue moratorium on oil palm plantations.

Environmental group Sawit Watch is urging President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to fulfill his pledge to declare a moratorium on the issuance of new permits for oil palm plantations, arguing that a moratorium will provide the necessary momentum to reorganize Indonesia’s palm oil industry.

The group said no progress had been made to follow up on Jokowi’s moratorium pledged in April last year, when he also promised to halt the issuance of new permits for coal mining operations.

Sawit Watch deputy director Achmad Surambo said in a press briefing on Friday that an oil palm moratorium was badly needed to stop environmental destruction in the form of land clearing for plantations.

Moreover, there was no sign that the government would revise Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 8/2015 on a moratorium of new permits for primary forest and peatland areas, which was due to expire on Saturday, he added.

Achmad said Inpres No. 8 and the promised oil palm moratorium were both important to ensure there would be no more land clearing for oil palm plantations. Land clearing was the prime driver of the annual land and forest fires across Indonesia.

“It will be better if Indonesia has a moratorium, as stipulated in Inpres No. 8 and another moratorium for oil palm plantations. They will complement each other,” said Achmad.

“During the moratorium, the government could revisit and then reform the management of the forests and the palm oil industry,” he went on.

Source – The JakartaPost

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Palangkaraya hopes to be chosen as Indonesia’s new capital

The Central Kalimantan administration said it was hopeful that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would move the nation’s capital to Palangkaraya, saying such a move would fulfill the “dream of Indonesia’s founding fathers.”

The province’s capital was reportedly among cities being studied in regard to their readiness to become Indonesia’s new capital.

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Central Kalimantan Governor Sugianto Sabran, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician, said he hoped Palangkaraya was named the country’s new capital during Jokowi’s presidency, claiming the province had the “potential to be on par with other more developed provinces” in Indonesia.

“We just pray the plan materializes […] Central Kalimantan is in the center of Indonesia and less prone to earthquakes,” Sugianto said at his official residence in Palangkaraya.

The government included Palangkaraya on the list because Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, had planned to move the capital city there.

National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told Antara earlier that the government had expected a final decision on an alternative capital city “within this year.”

(Read also: Indonesia studies new sites for capital city)

Source – TheJakartaPost