For Peat’s Sake: Jamboree to exchange knowledge and to advance peatland’s restoration
Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency, (Badan Restorasi Gambut - BRG) with the profound support from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry recently organized a Peat Jamboree (Jambore Masyarakat Peduli Gambut) in Banjar, South Kalimantan 28-30 April 2018. Hosted by the Government of South Kalimantan, the jamboree was participated by over 1,600 farmers and 1,000 partners, including media, civil societies and local government.
Secretary-General of the Ministry of Environment & Forestry, Bambang Hendroyono officially opened the event and addressing three main priorities of the national government to support peatland restoration. First, Ministry of Environment & Forestry provided access for forest management through provision of legal permit. Second, the Ministry provided socialisation and entrepreneurship assistance. And lastly, through capacity building for the community in order to advance their skill and capability in managing their asset.
Aimed to facilitate knowledge exchange; capacity building; and strengthening the network among communities to protect and manage peatlands, BRG works with partners including Norway and UNDP in conducting the event. BRG hopes each farmer could exchange knowledge and networks to business practitioners to increase their products’ value. “The people will have more confidence in expanding peat-based products. Here we can also see the potential of peat to increase economic productivity,” said Dr Myrna A. Safitri Head of BRG’s Education, Socialization, Participation and Partnership Unit.
South Kalimantan has a long history of managing peatland. It started with the Banjar tribe’s culture (a local tribe from South Kalimantan) and expanded to East Coast of Sumatera. “Our capacity in managing peatlands is strongly related to the local norms of the Banjar tribes and we need to continue this legacy,” said the Provincial Government representative, Kurnandiansyah S.Sos. In addition to South Kalimantan, BRG is also tasked to operate in other priority areas including Riau, South Sumatra, Jambi, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan and Papua.
Mandated to restore approximately two million hectares of degraded peatlands in five years (until 2020), BRG receives prominent support from its partners including Norway and UNDP. Also present at the jamboree, Norway’s Ambassador to Indonesia, Vergard Kaale acknowledged the important role of the farmers in contributing to the national economy. Ambassador Kaale was also impressed by the magnitude of the Jamboree. In his speech, Ambassador Kaale also promised continued support to the Government of Indonesia’s peat restoration efforts. “When the Government of Indonesia in 2015 said that a change was needed, many countries offered to work with Indonesia to find a better way. Norway was one of those countries, and we have supported the President’s peatland agenda from the start. With the Ministry of Environment and Forest and with BRG we are therefore working to find the new farming practices and products that could work well in peatlands. And we are looking for smart ways of protecting the peatlands,” said Ambassador Kaale.
Overall, Indonesia’s peatland occupies more than 15 million hectares of land which covers Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua. “UNDP has been supporting the efforts in restoring peatland and to create a more sustainable livelihood for peatland communities, as envisioned by the Global Goals, including Goal 15: Life on Land. We are grateful for the confidence given by the national government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to us, as well as support given by Norway, which allows us to empower the local communities and to support BRG’s institutional strengthening,” said Dr Abdul Situmorang, UNDP’s Technical Advisor at the event.
BRG is a non-structural organization that works directly under the President’s mandate with prominent support from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. It was formed on 6 January 2016 through the Presidential Decree No. 1, 2016. BRG works systematically, well-targeted and comprehensive to fasten the efforts in restoring peatlands and to repair peatland’s hydrological function which was damaged by drought and fire.
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