Indonesia halts verification process for carbon project amid regulatory concerns


Indonesia's Ministry of Environment and Forestry has confirmed the suspension of validating certain carbon projects in the country's Sumatra and Kalimantan regions since they didn’t comply with the country’s regulation.

One of the carbon projects involved is the Riau Ecosystem Restoration (RER), which is run by Singapore-based paper manufacturer APRIL and has received support from non-government organizations such as BIDARA, Fauna & Flora International and Laskar Alam. The projects, with the support from these organizations, is expected to restore 370,000 acres of peat swamp forest in Sumatra over a period of 60 years.

The ministry’ Sustainable Forest Management issued a statement last week saying that the decision to suspend the verification process of the RER project was made after discussions based on the verification report published by Verra, one of the world's major carbon offset accreditors.

An assessment of the RER carbon project by the Department of Sustainable Forest Management noted that the project did not comply with current laws and regulations. The unit also reminded that RER projects should abide by regulations related to forestry and climate change.

Agus Justianto, director general of Sustainable Forest Management, pointed out that he had ordered companies to stop the verification process in March, explaining that the verification reports of these projects did not provide the correct information about compliance. In addition, the companies involved unilaterally claimed that the project documents complied with Indonesian law without consulting the agency.

Justianto did not disclose whether or when the verification process will be able to resume.

In addition to RER, South Pole Ltd.'s carbon project in North Sumatra has also suspended its verification process as Verra is working to clarify the regulations with the Indonesian government.

Indonesia aims to reduce emissions by 41% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2060. In order to achieve the goals, the country is eager to become a model and destination for low-carbon investment across a wide range of industries, especially in energy, industry and transportation sectors. The country has recently signed a memorandum of cooperation with Singapore to jointly develop carbon-related initiatives and regional carbon trading hub.

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