The Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) rejects the substance of a recent report published by 11 NGOs regarding deforestation in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, as this report intentionally conceals facts about the locations where this deforestation took place and the permits involved in it.
On page 14, for example, the report alleges that the largest amount of deforestation, affecting an area of 298,687 hectares, has occurred during the ongoing tenure of Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya.
However, the report fails to mention who approved the release of state forest areas for oil palm plantation development which resulted in this extent of deforestation.
The report deliberately hides this fact in order to support its inaccurate conclusion that the greatest amount of deforestation in Papua & West Papua has come from permits issued since Minister Siti Nurbaya has been in office.
In the view of the Ministry, the report purports to discuss the legality of deforestation while, at the same time, failing to reveal who granted permits for the areas where deforestation occurred, and when these permits were granted.
The Ministry also points out that the release of state forest areas, including for the development of oil palm plantations, was initiated by letters of recommendation issued by local regents/mayors as well as the governors of both Papua and West Papua provinces.
The Ministry thus asserts that the report from the 11 NGOs is extremely premature given that it covers up facts about the distribution of deforestation areas from 2015-2019 without disclosing during which period the permits related to this deforestation were issued.
The Ministry will soon publish a report on the distribution of deforestation areas based on when the relevant permits were issued, particularly in Papua and West Papua.
It should be emphasized that almost all the deforestation in Papua and West Papua has originated from permits issued before President Joko Widodo and Minister Siti Nurbaya took office.
Jakarta, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 11 February 2021
Head of the Public Relations Bureau, KLHK
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