A fire fighter having a rest and a drink at Kerumutan Wildlife Preserve in Pelalawan district, Riau, on Oct. 28. The Environment and Forestry Ministry has said that around 1.7 million hectares of forest and land was burned in Sumatra and Kalimantan this year, causing haze to blanket the area for more than three months. (Antara/FB Anggoro)
Indonesia will present it’s ideas on how to prevent forest fires and rehabilitate damaged peatland as part of climate change mitigation efforts at the upcoming UN climate change conference in Paris, France.

National Development Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil said on Friday that Indonesia’s agenda at the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP21 conference scheduled to begin on Nov. 30 was to promote serious management of forest fires.

“The most important thing is serious prevention, so that there will be no more forest fires, especially ones caused by humans. If they were caused by natural factors it would be different, but we also need to emphasize readiness,” he said as quoted by Antara news agency.

The government has said it would accelerate peatland rehabilitation and halt new peatland clearing concessions following the massive forest fires that blanketed parts of the country over the last few months.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo will lead the Indonesian delegation to Paris and is scheduled to depart on Monday. The event will be attended by 147 state leaders with the aim of deliberating measures to address climate change.

Indonesia will bring its previously announced target of 29 percent lower carbon emissions by 2030 as it’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) as part of the climate negotiations.

Sofyan said that Indonesia would focus on energy, transportation, waste management, food and other sectors in its efforts to lower carbon emission.

Separately, cabinet secretary Pramono Anung said Indonesia would also raise global awareness about the forest and peatland fires.

“Indonesia expects that the world will also be concerned about [the fires] and not only blame us. Because they have said that our forests are the lungs of the world,” he said as quoted by

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi said the government would summarize Indonesia’s climate change policies in the conference and also remind the world that Indonesia was geographically prone to climate change, but at the same time, also needed space to boost its economic development.

Millions of Indonesians were affected by toxic haze due to severe forest and peatland fires in some parts of Kalimantan and Sumatra in recent months from slash-and-burn land clearing methods and a prolonged dry season.

Analysis using data from the NASA satellite has shown that Indonesia’s emissions from forest and land fires skyrocketed this year and surpassed those from the country’s severe 2006 fires, reported last month.

In October, total emissions from the fires soared from nearly one billion tonnes to nearly 1.4 billion tonnes. The fires also pushed Indonesia into the position of the country with the third-biggest polluter, after China and the US. (afr/rin)


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