Saturday, 17 May 2008

First Lady, forestry minister honored for tree planting

Forestry Minister Kaban has received an award from UNEP for 'planting' trees whilst Ministry of Forestry personnel are being investigated (against Minister Kaban's wishes and despite his objections) for numerous alleged corrupt logging practices and, he sells (legally) licences to cut down protected forests inhabited by equally protected orangutans. Can this be the same UNEP who in February 2007 produced a scathing report on deforestation and the demise of orangutans? How can UNEP justify this award? What next? Maybe a special Nobel prize for Orangutan Conservation or, perhaps a job for the Minister in UNEP New York? It's (almost) beyond belief that UNEP could do this. Let's hope GRASP picks up on this and enlightens us all as to why UNEP chose Minister Kaban rather than any one of the 'really' hard-working, dedicated NGOs in Indonesia who, I suspect a lot of us believe are far more deserving of such recognition.

Please would you write to the head of UNEP and express your own views on his organisation rewarding Minister for cutting down PROTECTED forests? Please do so today, whilst it is fresh in your mind. His name is Mr Steiner:

First Lady, forestry minister honored for tree planting

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Thu, 05/15/2008

The United Nations awarded First Lady Any Yudhoyono with a special certificate for her role in promoting tree planting in Indonesia to support the global war against climate change.

The UN's Environment Programme (UNEP) also honored Forestry Minister Malam Sambat Ka'ban with the "Certificate of Global Leadership" for his support of the billion-tree planting campaign.

"The award is an encouragement for Indonesia to work harder and intensify tree planting activities to prevent natural disasters, such as floods and landslides, which often hit the country," Dana Kartakusuma, a staff expert to the environment minister at the UN headquarters in New York said as quoted by Antara.

Dana received the awards on Tuesday on behalf of Any and Ka'ban.
The government said at the climate change conference in Bali in December last year it had planted about 86 million trees in 2007. The conference resulted in a roadmap urging forest nations to end deforestation to reduce carbon emissions.

Indonesia has the third largest forest area in the world, with about 120 million hectares.
UNEP said the billion-tree planting campaign had catalyzed the planting of two billion trees in just 18 months.

"When the billion-tree campaign was launched at the Climate Convention meeting in Nairobi in 2006, no one would have imagined it could flow so fast and so far. Rather, it has given expression to the frustrations, but also the hopes, of millions of people around the world," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement.

"Having exceeded every target that has been set for the campaign, we are now calling on individuals, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments to evolve this initiative onto a new and even higher level by the time of the crucial climate change conference in Copenhagen in late 2009."