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Fresh Calls for Oil Palm Moratorium Renewal Mount after Jobs Law Ruling

Activists check a peat land being burned in preparation for the opening of a new palm oil plantation at protected area of the Rawa Singkil wildlife reserve as part of the Leuser Ecosystem in Trumon, Aceh, on October 24, 2021.(AFP/Chaideer Mahyuddin )

Civil groups say the government should renew the moratorium on oil palm plantations following the recent Constitutional Court ruling against the controversial Job Creation Law, which the government had sought to use in resolving issues arising from the expired moratorium.

Palm oil reform was left in limbo after the moratorium lapsed on Sept. 19, exactly three years after its inception through Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 8/2018. The moratorium was aimed at improving palm oil governance and responding to concerns about deforestation caused by oil palm plantations near or inside forest areas, and labor exploitation. The moratorium required government agencies to stop granting new licenses for palm oil concessions and to review existing ones every three years.

The government had yet to extend it despite calls for such an extension from environmentalists. Officials said in September that the moratorium was no longer relevant as the jobs law, enacted in late 2020, and its implementing regulations set new mechanisms more or less similar to the moratorium.


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