Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla says that Indonesia’s forests are being destroyed, and wants foreign countries to pay for the damage.

“What happens here is not only our problem. The foreign people also destroyed our forests,” said Kalla. He was speaking at the Indonesia Forest Congress in Jakarta yesterday.

“During a big conference in Tokyo, someone said that Indonesia has forests, but they are damaged and should be restored,” said Kalla. “I became angry in front of thousands of people. I said, ‘this is a chair, this is a door, this is a window from my country. You take, and pay $5, and you bring it here, and sell for $100. Indonesian companies just get $5’.

“There is Mitsubishi from Japan, Hyundai and others, they finished what we have. I told them, ‘you have to pay, if not we will cut down all the trees, and let the world feel the heat’. So, the world must also be responsible.”

He says Indonesia’s peatland restoration efforts should not be funded by the Indonesian government, instead the international community should pay for it. Indonesia set up the Peatland Restoration Agency after the massive forest fires last year. The agency’s goal is to restore some two million hectares of damaged peatland, and it needs at least US$1 billion in funding over five years.

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