Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 11/20/2009
Prestigious awards, including Kalpataru, seem ineffective in promoting environment protection, especially because of strong pressures from the private sector, which exploits its huge capital to weaken the government’s nature conservation policies.
Former environment minister Juwono Sudarsono said Indonesia was facing a dilemma between protecting the environment and accommodating the greedy market force.
“With all my respect to Kalpataru, the value of the trophy has been eroded given the massive conversion of [state land] into real estate across the country,” Juwono told a discussion at the Office of the State Minister for the Environment, on Friday.
He said the private sector was armed with better capabilities in terms of technology, and capital, than the government.
“It makes the government so weak, including the Office of State Minister for the Environment, in fighting for public interests, including environmental protection,” he said.
Juwono held the ministerial post for 70 days under former president Abdurrahman Wahid.
The Kalpataru trophy is the most prestigious award given by the government to people or communities that contribute to the preservation and improvement of their environment.
Another former environment minister, Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, said the private sector played a major role in environmental degradation in the country.
“Worse, many of the current top politicians who are responsible for environment-related policies are businessmen,” he said.