JAKARTA: President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said the Indonesian government is aiming to restore 600 thousand hectares of mangrove forests in the country by 2024, Antara news agency (Antara) reported.

“We will fix our target for the next three years. We will rehabilitate 600 thousand hectares (of mangrove forests),” he said in Tana Tidung district, North Kalimantan on Tuesday.

He made the statement after planting mangroves with ambassadors of several countries and the people of Tana Tidung, it reported.

“The total of our mangrove forest (areas) is 3.6 million hectares,” he noted.

According to Antara, Jokowi said rehabilitation efforts are being undertaken to protect coastal areas from sea waves, seawater intrusion, and preserve the habitat of species, including birds, fishes, crabs, monkeys, and other flora and fauna, living in and around the mangrove forests.

"In North Kalimantan, there are 180 thousand hectares of mangrove forests which we will look at in more detail, and we will rehabilitate (them)," the President added.

The ambassadors who joined President Widodo in planting mangroves on Tuesday included the Czech Ambassador to Indonesia, Jaroslav Dolecek, and his wife; the Chilean Ambassador to Indonesia, Gustavo Nelson Ayares Ossandron; the Finnish Ambassador to Indonesia, Jari Sinkari; the Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia, Kurt Kunz; and the Deputy Ambassador of Brazil to Indonesia, Daniel Barra Ferreira. World Bank country director Satu Kahkonen also participated in the event.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, State Secretary Minister Pratikno, Governor of North Kalimantan Zainal Arifin Paliwang, and District Head of Tana Tidung Ibrahim Ali also attended the event.

Earlier, Minister Bakar had affirmed that the Indonesian government will accelerate mangrove rehabilitation to recover around 600 thousand hectares of mangrove land by 2024.

"There are many ways (for the acceleration). From the government side, there are state budget and regional budget. There are also the supports from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and SOEs (state-owned enterprises) as well as the outstanding initiatives from the community, for example, tree adoption,” she said.- Bernama