Pelalawan Regency results from the division of Kampar Regency in Riau Province with an area of 1,306,729 Ha. Pelalawan has a peatland area of 679,731 hectares or about 52% of the total area. With most of the site being peatland, Pelalawan Regency has a high risk of forest and land fires (Karhutla). Based on data from BPBD Riau Province for the first semester of 2021 alone, land fires in the Pelalawan Regency area have reached an area of 70 hectares.
Aware of the risk of forest and land fires, the Pelalawan Government, through the support of KEMITRAAN, runs the Strengthening Indonesian Capacity for Anticipatory Peat Fire Management Program or SIAP-IFM for short, as part of forest fire prevention efforts by focusing on collaborative (cluster) prevention patterns. The program, supported by UNEP (United Nations of Environment Program) and in collaboration with the Kishugu institution, will start running in 2021. This program is expected to change the paradigm from prevention to prevention activities that are collaborative and involve all parties, such as local governments, Manggala Agni, TNI, Police, private sector and sub-districts and villages. Prevention and collaboration strategies are urgently needed because fires on peatlands are difficult to extinguish.
KEMITRAAN and Pelalawan Regency Government have carried out a series of activities in the context of the SIAP-IFM program. On November 10, 2021, a multi-stakeholder consultation regarding policies and institutions for preventing forest and land fires was held and a public test of the Pelalawan Ranperbup (Draft of Regent’s Regulation) regarding Cluster-Based Integrated Forest and Land Fire Prevention. The activity was attended by representatives of ministries and institutions, namely the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investments (Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment), KLHK (Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan/Ministry of Environment and Forestry), BNPB (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana/National Agency for Disaster Management), Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Home Affairs (Ministry of Home Affairs) virtually. The presence of government representatives to provide input and strengthen policies and institutions that support an integrated approach to preventing forest and land fires through a cluster approach.
Representatives of the Riau provincial government, namely BPBD and DLH, community organisations (Kalpitra, Fitra Riau, WALHI Riau and Rail Akhlag), Farmers’ Associations, Gapki and companies in the Pelalawan Regency area were also present in person or virtual. The Regent of Pelalawan, H. Zukri, conveyed that, in essence, the Pelalawan Regency Government is very serious about improving the environment in Pelalawan. “Our focus is more on prevention. This year, we are targeting reforestation by planting 1 million trees in Pelalawan; besides that the local government is also promoting socialization and installing warning signs in strategic locations prone to forest and land fires.” The Regent of Pelalawan also added that his party has also carried out various innovations in forest and land fire prevention activities, including by developing a simple environmentally friendly infiltration well which we call the Forest and Land Fire Anticipation Well (Akhlag), and starting to draw up regulations on collaborative prevention.
The Head of BPBD Riau Province, Eddy Afrizal, greatly appreciated the preparation of the Pelalawan Ranperbup on the Prevention of Integrated Cluster-Based Fires. “This draft regulation can be used as an example for other districts. The Province will push for this Regent’s Regulation to guide the parties in preventing forest and land fires in an integrated manner. We hope that this Ranperbup will become an implementable and operational Perbup (Regent Regulation),” said Eddy Afrizal. Radiant Plt. The Head of BPBD Pelalawan Regency said that drafting this Ranperbup was very long and involved multi-stakeholders, both from the Pelalawan Regency OPD, Provincial OPD, CSOs and Company Representatives facilitated by KEMITRAAN.
Johan Kieft as UNEP representative in Indonesia, said, “UNEP is very pleased to support the Government of Indonesia through the support of KEMITRAAN with USAID assistance to implement the cluster approach initiated by the Government of Indonesia in efforts to prevent forest and land fires.”This program was started in 2017 in collaboration with the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, which stopped in 2019 due to the Covid disaster. And now it is being continued together with the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment of the Republic of Indonesia and piloted in three districts, one of which is Pelalawan Regency, in collaboration to prevent forest and land fires with a cluster pattern.
“The initiative to draft regulation by the Regent of Pelalawan regarding the prevention of cluster-based integrated forest and land fires is an essential step for Pelalawan. This is the result that has been awaited from unifying various parties’ perceptions since April 2021. KEMITRAAN will continue to support the Pelalawan Regency Government in formulating strategies as well as implementing a cluster-based integrated forest and land fire prevention program, “said Hasbi Berliani as Program Director for Sustainable Governance Community KEMITRAAN.