Civil Society Coalition Press Release
Two Years of Presidential Instruction on Palm Oil Moratorium:
Government Needs to “Step on the Gas” to Improve Palm Oil Governance
[Jakarta, 20 September 2020] September 2020, Presidential Instruction (Inpres) Policy No. 8 of 2018 concerning Postponement and Evaluation of Oil Palm Plantation Permits and Increasing Productivity of Oil Palm Plantations, or what is known as the Inpres palm oil moratorium has entered its two years after its issuance. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government needs to ‘step on the gas’ to complete the various mandates of the Inpres on palm oil moratorium in improving Indonesian palm oil governance so that it can resolve 1053 conflicts in oil palm plantations and contribute optimally to the recovery of the national economy.
In the current context, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are currently facing together is more or less an external factor that affects the policy implementation process. Due to the focus of the central and local governments in dealing with the pandemic, the process of implementing this policy has been somewhat delayed. The hope is that the government can find an implementation work mechanism that is more adaptive to pandemic conditions so that this situation does not become a significant obstacle.
During a period of two years, the dynamics of development and achievements from the Ministries and / or Institutions in the central government to the regional governments have not been satisfactory due to the absence of significant achievements. At the national level, the central government, which is fronted by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, has formed a palm oil moratorium working team with inter-ministerial representatives as members. This team is known to have completed the coverage of oil palm areas in Indonesia as stipulated in Kepmentan No. 833 / KPTS / SR.020 / M / 12/2019, namely the area of oil palm plantation cover is 16.38 million hectares. The Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning / National Land Agency has validated data on Business Use Rights (HGU) in East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, West Sulawesi, Papua and Riau. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has postponed the issuance of new permits for releasing areas / swapping forest areas, establishing illegal oil palm plantations in forest areas and drafting a presidential regulation regarding the typology of settling oil palm in forest areas.
Meanwhile at the provincial and district levels, several local governments such as Aceh Province, Buol District, Sanggau District, Gorontalo District and North Aceh have responded to this policy by adapting it into local regulations through Surat Edaran (SE) and Peraturan Bupati (Perbup). Meanwhile, there are five provinces that have a positive commitment to this Inpres i.e. (East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Riau, West Papua and Riau Islands) and six cities / districts (Sintang, Kayong Utara, Barito Timur, Lingga, Banyuasin and Musi Banyuasin).
A number of these good achievements are inseparable from implementation obstacles and challenges that need to be fixed in the future. The Civil Society Coalition noted several things including i.e. First, the lack of policy socialization. Several regional heads at the Provincial and Regency / City levels still do not know about this policy. This shows a poor socialization process. Second, the work patterns of the central and local governments that are not synchronized. The work pattern in this Inpres is from regional to national, meaning that the findings of the local government will later be discussed in the national working team for follow-up. This is not the case. The central government only focuses on compiling oil palm area cover. Even the implementation strategy of the National Working Team’s Inpres by setting seven priority provinces (Jambi, Riau, South Sumatra, North Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan Provinces) was not in line with the Presidential Instruction, because the Inpres did not mandate this.
Third, there is no road map for implementing the Inpres. Some regions that are enthusiastic about implementing the presidential instruction are constrained by the absence of a reference document that can be used as a reference for implementing this Inpres. So it requires things such as road maps, implementing guidelines (operational guidelines) and technical guidelines (juknis), including budget allocations that are not mentioned in this Inpres.
Fourth, not prioritizing the principle of data openness. The six-monthly progress reports prepared by the national working team for reporting to the President are very difficult for civil society groups to access. Although there is no obligation to open this document to the public, it would be very good if this was done, so that we could see the process as a whole and provide appropriate suggestions. In addition, the absence of updates received by civil society regarding the transfer of the Deputy at the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs who is handling the Presidential Instruction is also very sad. In fact, the transparency process is an important factor to identify the holes that have existed and together to patch them up.
Another thing, related to the coverage of oil palm plantations in Indonesia that has been released, it also does not provide details regarding how many and where the oil palm is located in forest areas. In fact, if this is stated in the cover, it will be very easy for the work team to evaluate. So it is natural that until now there have been no cases of oil palm in forest areas that can be resolved through this Presidential Instruction. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has stated that there are 3.4 million (ha) of oil palm plantations in forest areas, but the fact is that until now there is no clarity regarding this statement; where it is, owned by whom and what is the follow-up process.
Fifth, the government does not yet have a clear direction about increasing palm productivity. This means that the government does not yet have how many targets or standards for palm oil productivity to aim for and what steps must be taken to achieve these targets. From the government’s point of view, increasing productivity is only limited to the People’s Oil Palm Rejuvenation Program (PSR) by utilizing BPDP-KS funds. Where the realization of this program is still minimal, in 2020 it will only cover 20,469 ha or 11.37% of the set target.
In addition, on the economic side, the contribution of oil palm to the regions is still considered less impactful. This is due to the absence of a balanced profit sharing scheme between palm oil producing regions and the central government. This revenue-sharing system is not equivalent to the impacts of oil palm plantation governance e.g. infrastructure damage due to CPO transportation to environmental damage which impacts on water, soil and air pollution, as well as forest and land fires.
It is hoped that a number of critical notes above will attract the attention of recipients of the mandate in this presidential instruction. The civil society coalition recommends several things i.e.
- The positive response of the local government at the provincial / district / city level needs to be welcomed by the central government by synergizing its work and facilitating it by preparing technical regulations for the implementation of the Presidential Instruction (juklak or juknis) including budget allocations.
- There must be targets and programs for increasing productivity by the government that are clearer and more measurable and have the time and location (district / city) to achieve these targets.
- Increase transparency and public access to the six-monthly reports on the progress of the Inpres moratorium as well as data on land use and permits for oil palm plantation companies.
- Involve cross-stakeholder in the implementation and supervision of the oil palm moratorium, such as civil society organizations and interfaith organizations.
- There must be an equitable profit-sharing fund scheme between palm oil producing regions and the central government so that the regions have the incentive to monitor and develop sustainable palm oil plantations.
- Creating a road map for the implementation of the palm oil moratorium. This is necessary to make the oil palm moratorium process effective so that bureaucratic and budgetary regulations do not overlap.
- The discussion on the Job Creation Bill should not be an excuse for the Government to delay the implementation of the Presidential Instruction on Palm Oil Moratorium. Completion of the moratorium with a focus on data consolidation and review of permits should be the first step in resolving plantation governance issues.
- Not allowed to prioritize certain areas in implementing the Inpres policy on palm oil moratorium, but all areas in Indonesia that have oil palm.
If the government still uses the same approach and strategy in carrying out its duties and mandates in this Presidential Instruction, it will be very difficult to achieve the improvement of palm oil governance that has been dreamed of during this narrow time.
The Civil Society Coalition sees that the extension of the Inpres moratorium on oil palm to improve the management of Indonesian oil palm plantations is something that can be done by the Government of Indonesia with a note that it must have measurable achievements in all aspects and also synchronize and consolidate with parties who have the same goals in realizing improvements in palm oil governance, for example with the National Movement to Save Natural Resources (GN PSDA), the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) in terms of lpermits reviews and together with ISPO and RSPO in terms of increasing productivity and standards for sustainable oil palm plantations through a certification mechanism.
On behalf of the Civil Society Coalition:
Sawit Watch, Kaoem Telapak, Madani Berkelanjutan, Forest Watch Indonesia and Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL)
Contact Person :
Abu Meridian_Direktur Eksekutif Kaoem Telapak (+6282311600535 / firstname.lastname@example.org )
Agung Ady Setiyawan_Perkampanye Forest Watch Indonesia (+6285783517913 / email@example.com ) Adrianus Eryan_Indonesian Center For Environmental Law (+6281386299786 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Inda Fatinaware_Direktur Eksekutif Sawit Watch (+62811448677 / email@example.com )
Teguh Surya_Direktur Eksekutif Madani Berkelanjutan (+6281294801453 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
 Of the 25 provinces and 247 districts / cities where there are oil palm plantations, only 5 provinces and 6 districts / cities gave a response, the rest have not responded (Sawit Watch etc, 2020).
 The Inpres moratorium mandates the existence of data and information from districts / cities and provinces to various Ministries / Agencies (see diagram in Inpres 8 of 2018), while the way of working in composing the area of oil palm cover through strategic provinces where this is not included in the Inpres and is visible from the central government to the province.
 The Civil Society Coalition has made efforts to various parties in the government to obtain this report, but until now this has been difficult to obtain.
 Retrieved from https://katadata.co.id/febrinaiskana/berita/5f0ef445e634f/pemerintah-siapan-aturan-perkebunan-sawit-dalam-kamatan-hutan/ In terms of the extent of oil palm plantations in forest areas, to date, a civil society coalition no significant overlapping conflict cases have yet been resolved by the government. Some K / L only stop at the area figures without mentioning which area and what scheme is used.
 Retrieved from https://www.infosawit.com/news/9910/realisasi-penyaluran-dana-peremajaan-sawit-rakyat-capai-rp-2-7-trillion, in the RAN KSB there is only a small increase in productivity, namely an increase in productivity of 10% each year. But it is not elaborated more than the baseline for each district, and how far the productivity target is for each year
 The Disbun of Sanggau District stated that the current budget is only capable of mapping 1,000 ha of smallholder oil palm plantations every year, if without the support of other parties, Sanggau District will only be able to complete the mapping of smallholder oil palm plantations 40 years later (Sawit Watch, 2020).
 In Presidential Decree No.8 of 2018, the national working team in which the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy was the coordinator for at least 6 months reported to the President on the progress of the implementation of Presidential Instruction No. 8 of 2018. But until now, the civil society coalition has not received the development report.