Based on the discussion and monitoring conducted by Publish What You Pay Indonesia (PWYP Indonesia), there are some focuses that are found. First, the recent damage, deforestation, and land degradation in Indonesia is in a high phase. Moreover,  there is an issue about data transparency from the government, especially the data about forest and land damage that is hard to access.  The information was derived based on the monitoring done on the webinar activity on the theme of “Society Participation in Saving Forest and Land in Indonesia” on Saturday, August 29, 2020.

Based on the result of PWYP-Indonesia discussion, there is a finding that suggests the region with the highest threat of forest damage and deforestation rate is actually the provinces on the islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan. Both of these regions are the places that experience the highest rate of deforestation and land degradation. It can be proved by looking at the data released by Global Forest Watch Indonesia that found the fact that about 27 million acres of land and forest has shifted its function or in other words. It is equal to 17 % of the land and forest that was damaged between 2001 and 2019. We can see from this fact that this incline of threat is seriously worrying for the forest and land in Indonesia.

Apart from those issues, the issue of data transparency which is the difficulties in data access is also discussed, especially the data about environmental damage occurring all over Indonesia. These data cannot be accessed from the government, as the body responsible for the facts, at all. This was delivered by Radikal Lukafiardi, a researcher from Indonesia.

In addition to the fact mentioned by PWYP Indonesia, another fact was also delivered by Andi Saragih, a researcher from “Perkumpulan Mnukwar Papua” that the deforestation and land degradation rate in Papua is at a concerning increase. He added that public participation is one of the factors that can be as a determiner to supervise and prevent the incident. From the discussion, there are factors that define the reasons for deforestation in Papua, one of which is land clearing done by the people in the place for gardening. This is not regulated at all, so it becomes the primary reason for land degradation and deforestation apart from all activities run by other parties and entrepreneurs in the area.

Meanwhile, Murdani from Walhi of Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) explained that today, the area of forests in NTB is at 1071 million for the last 10 years. NTB is facing a serious condition of disaster. This statement was supported by the research finding where there is 22 % of land closing and 1,4 % forest damage happens every single year. This threat will affect the condition of forest in NTB for the 20 years ahead. It is obvious that there will be no forest anymore in NTB. The worst effect of this forest damage crisis is actually the reduced number of springs found in the place, later this will become a new issue and big disaster for the people that will especially affect women and children that need water for their daily lives the most.

Moreover, another fact mentioned in the discussion is that the process and mechanism of law enforcement of environmental crime didn’t go well. There were 76 cases of environmental and forest crimes that were not seriously concerned by the law enforcer. There is actually a fact where the illegal loggers were not even processed. In 2019 alone, there were 23 new cases that in the law enforcement process seem to only targeted the workers in the cases where the company and practitioner themselves did not get processed by law.

Furthermore, based on the study findings conducted by Walhi of NTB, there are 221 mining permits recorded in NTB. There were also 228 thousand Acres of forest region being permitted that caused new damage due to the mining for instance. In addition, there is also proof that the funding allocation of the Reclamation Security Deposit (Jamrek) was actually not there at all. In fact, it is supposed to be the responsibility of the mining owners to actually conduct the reclamation for the forest damage that they have done. Moreover, the primary issues of land degradation in NTB were due to the mining permits, the overlapping permits, Right to Cultivate (HGU), and Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI).

Erwin Basrin from Akar Bengkulu also mentioned that there are needs to do the advocacy for forest issues. He also added that there is a fact that in Bengkulu, the law enforcer did not put their concern on the law enforcement for environmental and forest crime. While in fact, today’s condition is not even comparable to the high rate of recorded environmental damages that were caused by mining companies, especially ones with Right to Cultivate (HGU).

Ahmad a.k.a Among, the Director of PADI Balik Papan stated in his elaboration that the process for advocacy for the forest region is so important to do. This is because the needs for public empowerment that live around the forest, for example, on how to strengthen the role of society to conduct sustainable advocacy works in their own forest region especially the customary forest.

Based on all the facts mentioned previously, there are some quick steps that need to be done by the government. One of them is to prevent the deforestation and land degradation rate. This can be done by evaluating the issuing of mining permits for both the Right to Cultivate (HGU), and Industrial Plantation Forest (HTI) in all areas of Indonesia. Another action that can be taken by the government is to thoroughly review the permits that become the cause of deforestation and land degradation in Indonesia. Indeed, the most urgent action that should be done is the law enforcement that has been a serious issue to be solved well and proportionally.  (FD)