Indonesia/Norway– The governments of Indonesia and Norway stepped up cooperation on efforts to prevent forest fire in Indonesia, particularly on peat land areas.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Norway’s Minister of Environment and Climate Vidar Helgesen at the State Palace on Wednesday, stressing commitment on strengthening efforts to protect peat land from forest fire.
Norway’s support on Indonesia’s efforts to restore peat land was inked in an agreement, said Nazir Foead, head of the Indonesia’s peat land restoration agency.
“This collaboration is a positive step and shows a seriousness of commitment of Indonesia and Norway to settle forest fore problem,” he said after the meeting.
“The president firmly stressed that during the moratorium there is no issuance of a license for new plantation at peat land, and it is not allowed to open new plantation on areas which has had a license for that but the land has been long not opened,” said Siti Nurbaya, Indonesian Minister for Environment and Forestry.
Indonesia took the policies after massive forest and agriculture fires which had happened for months across the nation last year, forcing the country to conduct the biggest firefighting operation with aid from foreign countries, deploying over 22,000 soldiers, police and officers to douse the blaze the fire.
The haze from the fires has enveloped neighboring ASEAN countries that caused huge economic loss.
Norwegian minister said his visit aims at strengthening cooperation with Indonesia in restring peat land.
“We will show a commitment of Norway in assisting Indonesia in protecting and restoring peat land owned by Indonesia,” he disclosed.
The minister also supported Indonesia’s effort in conducting moratorium on opening new plantation on peat land and measures to keep the humidity in the land to avoid it from fire.
“Those steps are good for Indonesia, Indonesia’s economy and the global climate,” said Helgesen.