Indonesia will use REDD funds to restore its peat lands that have been devastated by raging fires this year, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said on Wednesday, as reported by Antara News.
Tens of thousands of hectares of Indonesia’s forests and peat lands have been burning for more than two months – fires caused by ‘slash and burn’ methods of clearing land for new crops including palm oil.
“We will discuss the concept of peat land restoration that complies with the REDD+ program and credits from carbon trading, and we will have to use a lot of funds from the national budget,” Kalla said.
REDD aims to incentivise developing nations to halt deforestation by offering them the opportunity to earn revenue through carbon credits generated by sustainable forest management.
However, the mechanism lacks a demand side beyond the voluntary market, while critics say that issues such as widespread corruption, power abuse and illegal logging threaten the credibility of projects in some host countries.
Kalla has also mandated a review of the country’s REDD programme to see if more funds can be diverted towards the restoration project, which is expected to take around five years and cost upwards of 1 trillion rupiahs ($73 million).
Indonesia’s government will also force companies that own the affected acreage to spearhead restoration efforts on it, Antara reported.
“So, automatically, funds from them will also be available. All (such companies) must be (held) responsible,” Kalla said.
Indonesia’s fires, which have been called a crime against humanity because they are estimated to have caused around 500,000 cases of respiratory infections, forced the country’s President Joko Widodo to cut short his visit to the US earlier this week.
Indonesia is the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, and has recently overtaken Brazil as the top deforesting nation.
According to recent estimates, the fires have caused the country’s GHG emissions to soar this year, potentially promoting Indonesia to the world’s top emitter spot.