THE first “cracks” in the UK Government’s deforestation deal have begun to show after an Indonesian minister called the deal “unfair”.

On Monday it was announced that more than 100 leaders have commited to halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030.

It was hailed as the first milestone agreement, as the countries who signed up to the pledge account for 85% of the world’s forests, and the pledge was backed by almost £14 billion in public and private funding.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said consumers would be key to holding companies and financial institutions to account on deforestation “even if governments do break the pledges that they’re making” as part of the COP26 Declaration On Forests And Land Use.

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But by Thursday, the first sign of those pledges potentially being broken began after Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister, released a lengthy statement on social media where she said forcing the country to zero deforestation by 2020 is “clearly inappropriate and unfair”.

Indonesia was a signatory on the deal.

Environmental campaigners have called the minister’s remarks “profoundly disappointing”.

Posting on Facebook, Bakar said that the “natural wealth” of Indonesia must be “managed to its utliisation” and must be “equitable”.

She also said she rejected “deforestation terminology” claiming that it is different in Indonesia compared to European countries.

The National:

Bakar (pictured above, centre) wrote: “Forcing Indonesia to zero deforestation in 2030, obviously inappropriate and unfair.

“Because every state has its own key issues and is shaded by the Basic Law to protect its people.

“For example in Kalimantan and Sumatra, many roads are cut off because they have to go through forest areas.

“While there are more than 34 thousands villages in forest and surrounding areas. If the concept is no deforestation, it means there must be no way, then what about the people, should they be isolated?

“While the country should really be present among its people.”

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Kiki Taufik, global head of Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Indonesian forests campaign, said: “The minister’s statement – that comes just one day after President Jokowi signed the COP26 Forests Deal – is profoundly disappointing. It’s clear where her loyalties lie.

“She should be at the vanguard of ensuring all Indonesian citizens can enjoy their right to an intact and healthy environment as mandated in the Indonesian Constitution.

“For Indonesia to have a Minister for Environment who supports large scale developments with clear potential for environmental destruction is deplorable.

“Rather than ensuring we protect the planet for future generations, this is doing the opposite.”

The National:

It comes just days after Johnson (above) said consumers would hold companies to account over deforestation.

On Tuesday evening, Johnson said: “The pressure comes from consumers around the world who will say to those banks – whether it’s Aviva, Barclays or whoever else, that if they break that pledge there will be a democratic, a consumer price to pay and the same goes for the companies that break that pledge.

“So there’s been a big shift in the balance of power I think over forests towards consumers, towards people who care about it and who want to stop the forests being chopped down… whatever governments… even if governments do break the pledges that they’re making.

“Do you see what I’m saying?”

Greenpeace said Johnson’s comments rendered the forest deal “pretty much meaningless” and shifted the responsibility on to consumers to hold companies and financial institutions to account.

They added that it showed the “first cracks in the deal” were starting to appear.