Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Letter: All talk and no action

Letter: All talk and no action

The Jakarta Post Sat, 04/10/2010

At first glance President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s public condemnation of illegal logging is very necessary and welcome (see “SBY orders taskforce to tackle illegal logging”, the Post, March 8) particularly if, this time, it has been said with sincerity and conviction.

But, one cannot help notice a trend emerging of a President uttering such bold statements always prior to attending an international forum, presumably where he will once again solicit foreign aid to save forests his government in reality, enthusiastically condones the destruction of.

And this is the problem with SBY; if we are to judge him by what he has actually achieved by way of environmental protection and not by what he promises to do, we can see the net result is the continuing, indeed escalating catastrophic destruction of rainforests, polluting of rivers and vibrant trade in illegal wildlife.

Whatever happened to the Orangutan Conservation Strategy and Action Plan announced in a great blaze of publicity by SBY in December 2007 when he said “The fate of the orangutan is a subject which goes to the heart of sustainable forests. To save the orangutans we have to save the forests.”

Since then, the orangutan population decline has, if anything, increased above his own government’s estimate of 2500-3000 legally protected orangutans killed every year — without a single person being prosecuted.

And, as we know, forest loss continues unabated with the full backing of the Indonesian government.

In a nutshell, SBY has done nothing for the environment, other than make commitments he never keeps, and now this is his very real problem; no one believes a word he says anymore about saving the environment.

Sean Whyte