Collective efforts of the government, business circles and the community are considered successful in maintaining the sustainability of peatlands and oil palm. This was raised in a seminar entitled "Peat Contribution and Sustainable Palm Oil in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals" organized by the Indonesian Embassy in Oslo (28/6) in the Norwegian Business Confederation meeting building (Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon / NHO) in Oslo, Norway. The seminar was attended by around 80 (eighty) participants from government, academia, business, and NGOs in Norway.
The Indonesian Ambassador to Norway and Iceland, Todung Mulya Lubis, said that the seminar aimed to provide the Norwegian public with the latest understanding of the contribution of the sustainable palm oil and peat head industry to efforts to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in Indonesia.
"Indonesia's success in preserving oil palm and peat cannot be separated from the collective work of the government, business, and society," said Ambassador Mulya Lubis. "The visit of the Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway to West Papua in February 2019, can witness firsthand the success of Indonesia in preserving the environment. Indonesia can intensify sustainable palm production without reducing the area of forests in West Papua. "
Present as a speaker was Nazir Foead, Head of the Peat Restoration Agency (BRG); Dono Boestami, President Director of the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDP-KS); Vemund Olsen, Rainforest Foundation Norway; Prof. Yanto Santosa, Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB); Togar Sitanggang, Deputy General Chair of the Indonesian Palm Oil Businessmen Association (GAPKI); Kristine Vergli Grant-Carlsen, CEO of St1 Norway energy company; Axel Heiberg-Andersen, Corporate Communication Manager of Nestlé Norway; Prof. Pietro Paganini, John Cabot University, Rome; and moderator Pål Davidsen from Rud Pedersen.
Marit Vea, Political Advisor for Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment, said that Norway and Indonesia needed to find a solution to the palm oil issue. "We have managed to find a common interest in the REDD + environmental cooperation program and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)," said Marit Vea.
As is known, the Norwegian Parliament in 2017 issued a resolution to reduce the use of palm oil in circulating biodiesel products in Norway. On the other hand, Indonesia continues to strive for the quality of sustainable palm oil, one of which is through the biodiesel program.
"Indonesia is developing technology to convert palm oil into bio-hydrocarbon fuel to produce green diesel, green gasoline and green avtur," said Dono Boestami, Managing Director of BPDP-KS.
Rainforest Foundation Norway, NGOs that are critical of environmental policies in Indonesia actually appreciate the success of environmental preservation in the country lately. "This achievement needs to be appreciated, but a long-term policy is needed to maintain a good trend in environmental preservation in Indonesia," Vemund Olsen said.
Responding to this, the Head of BRG, Nazir Foead, revealed Indonesia's secrets of successfully reducing forest fire hotspots. "Indonesia is developing a peatland monitoring system technology called peatland resotration information and montoring system (PRIMS), which is integrated, online, and directly connected with the Office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia," said Nazir Foead.
Meanwhile, Prof. Yanto Santosa from IPB presented statistical data and historical facts that oil palm is not a direct cause of deforestation of tropical rainforests in Indonesia. The loss of tropical rainforests was drastically caused by transmigration policies in the 1960s, the issuance of Forest Concession Rights (HPH) in the 1970s, and massive forest fires. "The transmigration commodity was not originally oil palm, but coffee, chocolate, candlenut, pepper, and other plantation products. But people tend to compare between past and present only, but forget about the history. Instead, the oil palm planted began contributing to greening of deforested forests in the 1980s, "said the Professor of IPB.
Furthermore, ST1 Norway's energy company claimed at least 40% of the total biofuel was used in the Nordic region. Unfortunately, deforestation has resulted in palm oil getting a serious rejection in Norway. This was justified by Nestle Norway, which became the target of Greenpeace's environmental campaign in 2010. Since then, Nestle has been a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and targets 100% using certified palm oil products in 2020. (indonesian embassy Oslo)