Coinciding with International Forest Day, Deputy to the Coordinating Economics Minister, Musdalifah Mahmud and Expert Staff at the Office of the Vice President, Fadhil Hasan, write in The Jakarta Post that Indonesia’s forests, the largest forest area in Asia, “have long supported the welfare of communities and, above all, they form the backbone of the country’s vast natural beauty and biodiversity.”

Mahmud and Hasan discuss President Joko Widodo’s initiatives over the past 12 months in protecting Indonesia’s forests, which have led to “the lowest deforestation rate on record” dropping by nearly two-third from the previous year. Moreover, they write that there has been greater coordination with “allied countries like Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to enact strong forest governance laws, achieve better enforcement of those laws and implement the ban on forest-clearing introduced in 2019.”

Despite this, critics continue to undermine the Indonesian success story and attack President Joko Widodo’s efforts to improve forest governance and legality. Many of these critics are funded by the aforementioned countries Indonesia is allied with to improve forests.

Key to addressing questions over the legality and sustainability of Indonesian palm oil has been the “introduction of Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO).”

Mahmud and Hasan write, “ISPO – as a national standard – recognizes and reinforces Indonesia’s sustainability and sustainable development objectives…ISPO not only supports Indonesian sustainable palm oil; it supports the sustainability of Indonesian forests and livelihoods.”

Read the full article from The Jakarta Post here.