Finland University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency on 9th October, 2017 in Helsinki.
- We recognise the experience Finland has on peatland restoration and management. Indonesia is now putting a lot of effort to improve this area and it is good to look for best-in-class lessons learned, says Mr. Nazir Foead, Head of Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency.
The Memorandum consist of activities to be developed jointly, including educational programmes regarding peatland and forest restoration, monitoring and management, and the development of a training programme targeted to government officials on subnational level.
The training programme will help technical officials in Indonesia to manage and monitor the peatland reservations in districts and provinces with huge peatlands.
The Finland University training programme will be tailored by the University of Eastern Finland, which is one of the leading universities in the world in the field of forest sciences.
- Finland University has for years collaborated with Indonesian partners, and we are glad to formalize and launch our cooperation with Peatland Restoration Agency with this Memorandum, says Mr. Kalervo Väänänen, the Rector of University of Turku.
The challenge of the fires
The Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency was established by President Joko Widodo, in response to the devastating fires that ravaged Indonesian forests and peatlands in 2015. The agency is responsible for accelerating the recovery and restauration of the peatlands.
- The peatland and forest fires are a huge challenge in Indonesia. The fires are one of the main sources of CO2 emissions in the region, affecting the lives of millions of people living in South-East Asia, says Mr. Tuomo Lähdesmäki, the Chairman of the Board of Finland University.
- The fires do not know any borders. There is a need to solve this problem and the government is fully engaged to do this, notes Mr. Foead.
- The situation in Indonesia is like Finland in the 1950s when the peatland fires were a constant threat. With good management and cooperation between public and private actors we have tackled this problem. Now it is our turn to help others to do the same, adds Mr. Lähdesmäki.
After the signing ceremony in Helsinki, the Indonesian delegation visited Joensuu for field trip, demonstrations and dialogues.
- We want not only tell but to show the delegation how this complex societal challenge is tackled in practice, and what similarities in the challenges related to peatlands in Indonesia can be seen in the Finnish experience, says Mr. Pasi Kaskinen, Executive Director of Finland University.
- We visited the Ministry of Environment in Helsinki and were impressed by the government programme. In Joensuu, we wait to see how the peatland conservation is being conducted, how the restoration is carried out, and how the monitoring system is working, concludes Mr. Foead.
Pekka T. Saavalainen, CEO Finland University Oy
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