Tuesday, 22 September 2009

EU biofuels policy undermines governance in Indonesia, alleges report; re. Ketapang


A new report which confirms what COP, Nature Alert and UNEP have been saying for two years about the Ketapang region of West Kalimantan (Borneo). Loggers and palm oil companies (both work hand in hand with one another) are destroying rainforest and orangutans (not forgetting millions of other animals) on a massive scale.

Bearing in mind the exposure given to this disaster (there is no other word for it) over the same two years, does it make you wonder why major-league ($$$$£££) organisations like Conservation International, WWF, USAid (OCSP), WCS, HSUS, The Nature Conservancy, FFI, etc, all of whom have very substantial incomes, have been so spectacularly ineffective at even raising awareness of this situation, let alone make any discernable impact on stopping it? And what has GRASP done to try and stop the decimation in West Kalimantan? Have they sent a letter, even sent one of their experts to West Kalimantan? How come GRASP is not issuing alerts/reports instead of Nature Alert/COP/FOE/WALHI?

I could prepare quite a long list of people who are paid to help save orangutans and organisations who claim to be saving orangutans, for whom, what has been and continues today to happen in West Kalimantan, is little more than an inconvenient truth; to my mind, it is a scandal. Some of which I have referred to in our (Nature Alert/COP) own recent report available at www.naturealert.org .

The following is part of a letter I sent not long ago to Julian Wilson, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia, based in Jakarta, who subsequently told me of the great work FLEGT was doing in West Kalimantan - something he has since failed to substantiate, despite repeat requests. Keep in mind, the EU has given Indonesia at least €20,000,000 to protect its environment. Where has all this (your?) money gone and what has it achieved?

Extract from my letter to the EU Ambassador: What continues to happen to the environment in Indonesia, as I am sure you are very aware, is a disaster on a monumental scale. I visit often and am in daily contact with many colleagues there. Not once, never, whilst travelling across the length and breath of Kalimantan six times in the past 18 months alone, have I ever heard anyone talk about the work of FLEGT - other than themselves and this was in Jakarta, when they left me feeling very underwhelmed with their apparent lack of any real progress. So, where does the EC money go?

Finally. Who wants to ask The President and/or the USAid backed OCSP (Orangutan Conservation Services Programme with a budget 2004-8 of at least $11,500,000), how their Orangutan Action Plan is working, where does all the donor money go and what has been achieved to date?

The one thing about loggers and palm oil companies; you know their agenda. They don't exactly pretend to be anything different. Major-league organisations who claim to be helping save orangutans, are something else and some are worthy of investigation to see what, if anything, they are achieving for orangutans with donors money. It's pointless reading their own reports as these are largely written and designed in a way to keep funds flowing into their bank accounts. Ideally, all charities need to be externally audited to see if they really are doing, cost effectively, what they say they are. I would also add to this list, the EU, arguably the largest waster of time and money....all paid for by taxpayers.

What we are all witnessing and have been for a long time is, the decimation of orangutans with little, often nothing, to show for the tens of millions of pounds/dollars of public money shovelled into the bank accounts of many organisations. It is only a question of time until, as with tigers, we are down to just a couple of thousand orangutans clinging on in a few 'protected' areas. No doubt the big organisations will then switch their attention to the next big money-raising, high-profile mammal.

Thankfully, some organisations do care and do help in West Kalimantan; they know who they are and most can be found listed on my Blog or the web site of COP. But their help alone is nowhere near enough.