Nazir Foead is inaugurated as head of the newly established peat management agency at the State Palace on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Widodo S Jusuf)

President Joko Appoints Conservationist as New Peat Restoration Agency Head

BY :NOVY LUMANAUW

JANUARY 20, 2016

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Wednesday inaugurated Nazir Foead, conservation director at the World Wildlife Fund, as head of the newly established Peat Restoration Agency, known as BRG.

“To me, Nazir Foead has the competencies and experiences in restoring the forests and peat lands, especially the skills to coordinate with the [related] ministries, [local] agencies and international agency networks,” Joko said ahead of the inauguration last week.

The BRG is tasked with restoring peat lands in Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Papua and across all of Kalimantan which have been affected by last year's disastrous forest and land fires. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of forests and peat lands were destroyed.

As a non-structural agency reporting directly to the president, the BRG will be responsbile for coordinating and reinforcing policies relating to peat restoration and cooperation among authorities to restore the areas. It has also been assigned to map and establish protection zones and provide training and the tools required to mitigate future fire seasons. Empowering local communities to end slash-and-burn practices is among the highest priority for the agency.

Nazir will be joined by a secretary-general and four deputies, alongside a technical team of senior officials from provincial government and related agencies and ministries. Nazir will also call on experts from universities and research groups.

BRG will work on the project until the end of 2020.

Indonesia lost over two million hectares of forest and peat lands last year between June and October during the crisis, National Space and Aviation Agency (Lapan) data has shown, causing massive economic losses, productivity issues and scores of health problems.

Joko has cracked down on the practice in an effort to stop the seasonal fires from recurring this year. On Tuesday he threatened fire, police and military officials with sanctions should the fail to prevent and mitigate similar problems in 2016.

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