Friday, 16 April 2010

SBY Calls for Developed Countries to Help Indonesia in Battle Against Warming

Personal note: Judge the President by what he achieves, not by what he says which is really only for the benefit of the EC etc who shower money on Indonesia. Up to now the President has achieved nothing positive fro the environment, but his government has easily fooled the EC, British, US, Australian etc governments into sending tens of millions of dollars/pounds, but no one can say where it has gone exactly or what it has achieved.


April 16, 2010
Camelia Pasandaran The Jakarta Globe

SBY Calls for Developed Countries to Help Indonesia in Battle Against Warming

Indonesia remains steadfast in its commitment to protecting the environment, despite international differences over the issue, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono claimed on Friday, but a comprehensive national plan to reduce emissions remains out of reach.

“We realize we have to take steps to save the environment with our own resources and funding,” Yudhoyono said at the opening of a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Palace. “With help from developed countries, we can increase our target. But even without having crunched the numbers, we can’t be negligent in protecting the environment.”

He added that Indonesia should have a concrete plan in place that could be monitored.

“This is so we can tell the world that we understand the role we must play for the sake of the environment, and are willing to play it,” he said.

Yudhoyono said several international meetings to discuss the solution had not ended as desired. These included the summits in Kyoto, during which developed countries agreed to reach emissions targets by 2012, and in Copenhagen last year, where no major binding agreement was reached.

“Developed and developing countries are waiting for one another to take the first step,” he said. “But we can’t negotiate with the climate and the Earth. I’m afraid the upcoming Mexico conference will end much the same way as Copenhagen.”

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said part of the effort to protect the country’s environment and reduce carbon emissions by 26 percent was a massive reforestation drive.

“During the flurry over regional autonomy between 1997 and its peak in 2002, there was massive clearing of land of up to 3.5 million hectares a year,” Zulkifli said. “The current rate of deforestation is around 700,000 hectares a year.”

He claimed massive illegal logging was now concentrated in Papua, with the timber exported directly.

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said Yudhoyono had ordered the Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force to probe the light sentences given to those convicted of illegal logging.

“Of 92 illegal logging suspects tried at court, 49 were acquitted, 24 were sentenced to less than a year in prison and 19 were sentenced to between one and two years,” Tifatul said.

“The president has also advised governors and district heads to be more judicious when granting logging and mining concessions,” he added.

The issue of deforestation arose at Wednesday’s meeting between Vice President Boediono and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in Washington.

Boediono had highlighted three key problems in the country’s fight against the threat — fire, limited funding and capacity for reforestation and weak law enforcement.

Norway has reportedly offered technical guidance on monitoring and surveillance to prevent deforestation.

Major environmental groups in the country, such as Greenpeace and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), have blasted Yudhoyono’s leadership on climate change. They pointed out that overlapping policies from key national ministries result in accelerated deforestation.

Additional reporting by Fidelis Satriastanti


President orders examination of illegal loggers` light sentences
Friday, April 16, 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the task force for eradication of judicial mafia to examine the light sentences passed by courts in illegal logging cases.

He issued the order at a limited cabinet meeting on forestry and environmental problems and revitalization of the defense industry here Friday.

At a press conference after the meeting, Informatics and Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring said, according to available data, out of a total of 92 illegal logging cases heard in courts recently, 49 ended with acquittals, 24 with jail sentences averaging only one year and 19 with jail sentences between one and two years.

"This will not have a deterrent effect. Therefore, the President has ordered the task force to examine the court verdicts to see why they were so mild," he said.

At the meeting, the President also asked National Police chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri and Attorney General Hendarman Supandji about operations in the field against illegal loggers.

On the occasion, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan gave an expose on forest destruction.

Zulkifli said only 24 percent or 43 million of 130 million hectares of primary forests in the country still remained.

He said 40 million hectares were former production forests and half of them had been damaged or were in critical condition. The rest was no longer forested land, he said.

He said large-scale deforestation reached its peak in 2001-2002 following the euphoria of regional autonomy with the rate of destruction reaching 3.5 hectares per year.

To overcome the problem, he said, the government had no other choice but had to conduct a tree planting movement jointly with the people with a forestation target of at least 500,000 hectares a year and a special program for investors to restore industrial forests with a target of minimally 300,000 hectares a year.

He said the government was also planning to conduct replanting along catchment areas that had been deforested and were causing floods.

To slow deforestation, President Yudhoyono had ordered firm law enforcement against illegal loggers. He would also appeal to provincial governors and district heads to not easily issue a license for opening a forest for industrial or mining purposes.

He said by the end of 2010 at the latest, the economic zoning efforts in the provinces must be finished.

Development projects that must be oriented to environmental preservation would be discussed by the President and his cabinet ministers as well as provincial governors in Tampak Siring, Bali, on April 19-21, he said.(*)