President Joko Widodo has issued a presidential regulation which instructs a host of top officials at the central government and in the regions, to better handle prevention and mitigation of forest and ground fire and apply a more effective law enforcement related to the fires.
In a presidential instruction, number 3 of 2020 on Mitigation of Forest and Ground Fires dated February 28, 2020, President Joko Widodo ordered 16 ministers including one coordinating minister, the cabinet secretary, the attorney general, the heads of the national police and the armed forces, as well as the head of six state agencies, provincial governors, district heads and mayors to take all effort to prevent and fight forest and ground fires and take the appropriate post fire measures, the secretariat of the cabinet said in a release issued on the weekend.
“Besides that, the President also issued instruction to make more effective, law enforcement efforts against crimes related to forest and ground forests and also the payment of compensation commensurate with the level of damage or what is needed in costs of rehabilitation, restoration of forest and ground, or any other necessary action, and the application of administrative sanctions in line with the laws and regulations,” the release uploaded on the website of the secretariat of the cabinet.
The secretariat of the cabinet said in the release that the Presidential Instruction was issued in the framework of strengthening the prevention and law as part of efforts to mitigate forest and ground fires across the country.
The president instructed the Coordinating Minister for Politics, Legal and Security Affairs to coordinate policies and the concerned ministries in the mitigation of forest and ground fires, as well as in monitoring and evaluating the efforts taken.
“The finance minister and the minister for national development planning/ head of the National Development Planning agency, should provide support in the form of a synchronized planning and budgeting for mitigating forest and ground fires at the national, provincial and district/municipal levels,” it added.
Supervision of the implementation of this presidential instruction as well as the coordination of reporting to the president was assigned to the cabinet secretary.
“The financing of efforts to mitigate forest and ground fires will be from the state budget for the ministries and state institutions, the state budget of the regions and other lawful sources that are also not binding, in line with the prevailing laws and regulations,” it said.
Presidential Instruction number 3 of 2020 supersede Presidential Instruction number 11 of 2015 on Increasing Control over Forest and Ground Fires which was also revoked.
Forest and ground fires has become an annual occurrence in Indonesia in the past years, especially during the dry seasons. In 2019, the government said that less than 1.2 million hectares burned in seven Indonesian provinces between January and November while other estimates put the extent of the fires up to 1,6 million hectares.