So­cial forestry pro­gram goals not achiev­able, say NGOs

The Jakarta Post - - NATIONAL - The Jakarta Post

Two civil so­ci­ety groups, the In­done­sia Bud­get Cen­ter (IBC) and the In­done­sian Fo­rum for the En­vi­ron­ment (Walhi), have ex­pressed doubts on whether Pres­i­dent Joko “Jokowi” Wi­dodo’s ad­min­is­tra­tion can ac­com­plish its 12.7-mil­lion-hectare (ha) tar­get for its so­cial forestry pro­gram.

The so­cial forestry pro­gram is part of the coun­try’s 2014 to 2019 medium-term de­vel­op­ment plan.

Jokowi plans to hand over 12.7 mil­lion ha to lo­cal res­i­dents over the five-year pe­riod. The pro­gram is ex­pected to pro­tect the lo­cals’ liveli­hood in the for­est.

A re­cent IBC re­search showed that, be­tween 2015 and June this year, the En­vi­ron­ment and Forestry Min­istry had only is­sued per­mits for 510,200 ha of so­cial forestry land. The fig­ure is only 4 per­cent of the 12.7 mil­lion ha tar­get.

“It’s im­pos­si­ble for Jokowi to reach the tar­get in 2019,” IBC re­searcher Mary­ono said on Wed­nes­day.

Mary­ono added that the al­lo­ca­tion of the bud­get had an im­pact on the re­al­iza­tion of so­cial forestry pro­gram, say­ing that be­tween 2015 and last year, the dis­burse­ment of funds for the pro­gram was un­sta­ble.

Last year, the al­lo­cated bud­get was Rp 32.56 bil­lion (US$ 2,43 mil­lion), which was 22 per­cent lower than the 2015 bud­get of Rp 41.49 bil­lion, while this year, the fig­ure in­creased by 30 per­cent to Rp 42.24 bil­lion.

“This caused an im­bal­ance be­tween the al­lo­cated bud­get and the tar­get to is­sue per­mits,” Mary­ono said, adding that the gov­ern­ment had not set the stan­dard bud­get for a per­mit is­suance of each ha of the so­cial forestry pro­gram.

Mary­ono said that if the bud­get in 2015 be­came the base­line, the gov­ern­ment should al­lo­cate Rp 217,000 per ha. There­fore, it should al­lo­cate Rp 4.15 tril­lion in five years or Rp 830.58 bil­lion per year for the 12.7 mil­lion ha of so­cial forestry pro­gram. The bud­get’s av­er­age per year dur­ing the last three years was only Rp 31.8 bil­lion.

Walhi’s Boy J. Even Sem­bir­ing saidthe gov­ern­ment should also im­prove the reg­u­la­tion to reach its tar­get.

“We doubt that Jokowi could reach the tar­get by the end of 2019 if he fails to cre­ate new op­ti­mism by mak­ing a new break­through in reg­u­la­tions,” he added.

On Fri­day, the IBC and Walhi had a meet­ing with the Fi­nance Min­istry’s di­rec­torate gen­eral of bud­get­ing to dis­cuss their rec­om­men­da­tions that call for in­creas­ing the bud­get to speed up the so­cial forestry pro­gram.

Wawan Su­narjo, an of­fi­cial at the Fi­nance Min­istry who met the groups, said that any bud­get ad­just­ment could weigh down the gov­ern­ment’s fi­nan­cial ca­pa­bil­ity, adding that the forestry pro­gram in fact was not part of Jokowi’s 10 pri­or­i­tized de­vel­op­ment pro­grams.

“We de­pend on the bud­get pro­posal pre­sented by the En­vi­ron­ment and Forestry Min­istry,” Wawan said, adding that the IBC and Walhi should not only fo­cus on the bud­get stan­dard, but should also com­mu­ni­cate with the en­vi­ron­ment min­istry.

En­vi­ron­ment and Forestry Min­istry di­rec­tor gen­eral for so­cial forestry Hadi Daryanto could not be reached for com­ment.

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