Friday, 30 April 2010

Illegal logging linked to political funding by timber companies

Friday April 30, 2010

Illegal logging linked to political funding by timber companies
By NG CHENG YEE Malaysia



KUALA LUMPUR: Political funding by timber companies could be a reason why illegal logging is so rampant in the country, said Transparency International (TI) Malaysia president Datuk Paul Low.

Low said political funding was a grey area in Malaysia in that it was not necessary for political parties to declare their financial sources.

“Political parties have to look for funds from the private sector or individuals.
“There is a possibility that financial aid comes from loggers and these companies ask for favours to carry out illegal logging,” he told a press conference here at the opening ceremony of the Forest Gover-nance and Integrity Workshop here yesterday.

Low said TI Malaysia was currently working on a paper, in collaboration with TI in South East Asian countries, especially Indonesia, to identify corrupt practices in forestry.

“Having identified where corruption risk is highest, appropriate measures and recommendations will be needed to stop the practice,” he said, adding the research was expected to be completed in August.

He said corruption was not just limited to paying bribes but also the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain.

“It may not involve money but it is also about showing favouritism as well as granting concessions without proper evaluation or tender,” he said.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/4/30/nation/6159717&sec=nation

Lungs of the world are choking | Al Jazeera Blogs


Lungs of the world are choking Al Jazeera Blogs

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/asia/2010/04/30/lungs-world-are-choking

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Sending a Message With Our Money

The Jakarta Globe, 29th April 2010

Sending a Message With Our Money

It is hard to comprehend why some palm oil companies in Malaysia and Indonesia still do not understand why their members come in for so much international criticism (“Besieged Palm Oil Growers Plan Malaysia Strategy,” April 21).

The core issues are really very simple. The palm oil industry has been responsible for destroying millions of hectares of rain forest and wiping out tens of millions of animals in the process. The industry is responsible for the deaths of many thousands of orangutans and about 1,000 currently in rescue centers.

Such facts may not be of any concern to these companies, but they matter to consumers, who have every right to insist the products they use or consume do not contribute to such wholesale and wanton environmental destruction. Customers are increasingly using their buying power to send a message.

Finally, there is the question of integrity and trust. Even members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, working — in theory at least — to stringent regulations, have been caught breaking the rules.

If any palm oil company thinks a consumer would for a second trust a certificate conjured up by a bunch of RSPO renegades sitting around a table in either Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur, it could prove to be a very expensive error.

The smart companies will comply fully with the RSPO. It makes good commercial sense to do so. And it is these same companies that will reap the benefits of increased sales as more and more customers give them their business.

Sean Whyte

Chief Executive, Nature Alert England
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SBY, Time to Act To Save Orangutans

Why does it come as no surprise that a list published this month of the 12 most endangered species on the planet includes the Sumatran orangutan?

Shamefully for Indonesia, along with the Cuban crocodile, the Grenadian dove and the 59 white-headed langur monkeys left on an island off Vietnam, the Wildlife Conservation Society has identified a few thousand Sumatran orangutans left in small pockets of forest in Northern Sumatra.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke this month of the need to halt Indonesia’s massive illegal logging problem. Maybe if he stopped turning a blind eye to all the palm oil plantations, mining concessions and legal logging concessions his government allows and actually acted on his words, the Sumatran orangutan and its Bornean counterpart might actually survive past the next five years.

The power to remove the Sumatran orangutan from the endangered list lies entirely with the president and his colleagues in the Forestry Ministry. Orangutan charities with limited funds can only do so much by rescuing a small number of the thousands of orangutans stranded every year in palm oil plantations.

I implore the president of Indonesia to finally put the money foreign governments have given him to stop deforestation where his mouth is and act to save the orangutans before they disappear altogether.

Jeanie Elford
England

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/your-letters-domestic-protection-immigration-chaos-palm-oil-and-orangutans/372236

If you really care about animal's feelings, this will be of interest



SOME INTERESTING BOOKS ON THIS WEB SITE

http://www.ethologicalethics.org/

Illegal Logging Continues

Personal comment: More evidence of how the EC and British government have lied about illegal logging declining.

---------------------------

Illegal Logging Continues

Thursday, 29 April, 2010
TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:

The Director General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, Darori, has said that there are cases of illegal logging that are not well handled.

For example in Central Kalimantan, about 960,000 hectares of forest are being illegally logged.

In North Sumatra there are 16 companies operating illegally and in East Kalimantan 150 companies.

According to Darori, even for processed cases, the punishment is too light.

“From 92 cases handled by the Supreme Court, 36 are freed, 24 are punished with prison sentences of less than 1 year and 19 cases for 1-2 year, and the rest are still in process,” said Darori in Jakarta yesterday.

This year large scale illegal logging is still taking place in Papua, and small cases in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

PINGIT ARIA MUTIARA
http://www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nasional/2010/04/29/brk,20100429-244263,uk.html

Scoop: Big shift in office paper choices

Scoop: Big shift in office paper choices

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1004/S00783.htm

Forest of Problems Hinders Illegal Logging Fight

April 28, 2010
Fidelis E Satriastanti The Jakarta Globe

CLICK ON LINK BELOW TO SEE PHOTO
Workers preparing to lift a number of logs into a large vessel, in Siak Kecil River in Riau. Illegal logging activities in the river is quite rampant forest endangerment resulting in Tasik Serai. Police and Riau Forestry Service has shut down this river flows out of wood. Besides the timber sold in the domestic market are also taken abroad, particularly neighboring Malaysia. (Antara PHOTO/Gema Setara)

Forest of Problems Hinders Illegal Logging Fight

The illegal logging cases in Riau in 2008 are an indicator of widespread forestry-related crimes in a country where for years an estimated four of five trees were allegedly cut down illegally with the sanction of officials and law enforcers, activists say.

The activists filed a report on April 22 with the Judicial Mafia Task Force, saying the illegal logging cases in Riau involving 14 paper and pulp companies were suspended by the police in 2008 due to lack of evidence. The contentious legal decision sparked anger among activists at the time. Located on Sumatra, Riau has the most extensively degraded forests in the country, mostly due to industrial and urban development.

Hapsoro, program director at environmental group Telapak, said on Tuesday that illegal logging has continued to spread.

“The difference [in the scale of illegal logging in specific areas] depends on the range of forest cover and also the quality of the wood,” Hapsoro said. “For instance, on Java Island, forest coverage is not that vast and timber values are not also worth much, so not many loggers would eye Java Island,” he said.

“[Illegal logging] threats are actually threatening eastern parts [of the country], such as Papua or Sulawesi, because of lack of monitoring and supervision in the areas results in loggers being able to conduct their operations freely,” he said.

However, he said Java still played a part in the trade. It serves as the main gateway to receive illegally logged timber through ports at Jakarta, Semarang and Surabaya.

Data from various environmental groups shows that between 2000 and 2004, the illegal logging rate in Indonesia stood at a staggering 80 percent, meaning that four out of five trees cut down were cut down illegally. Indonesia’s forest losses hit the roof during this period of time, reaching around 2.8 million hectares per year.

In 2005, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono launched a crackdowns on illegal loggers in Papua. The operations, dubbed collectively the Hutan Lestari Operation II, utilized 1,500 personnel with a budget of Rp 12 billion ($1.3 million) and identified 186 suspects, comprised of 172 Indonesians, 13 Malaysians and a Korean, and secured almost 400,000 cubic meters of illegally harvested timber. But only 13 suspects — none of them major players — were convicted. The toughest punishment handed out was a two-year prison sentence for one of the offenders.

Julian Newman, campaign director at the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “It would be good to re-examine the evidence including the reason for stopping the case. But the [Mafia Eradication] Task Force should not be restricted to Riau. Other cases include the suspicious acquittal of Adelin Lis.”

Adelin is believed to be the owner of a palm oil company linked to illegal logging and suspected of money laundering.

There are many laws relating to forest management and the timber industry in the country. Felling trees is not allowed in protected areas, logging can only take place in authorized areas within forest concessions and export of raw logs is banned.

“It is when these laws are broken that illegal logging is said to occur. The main problem is that relevant forestry laws only usually catch the people at the bottom of the chain, such as chainsaw operators or truck drivers. The powerful people behind illegal logging are not touched, although there have been efforts to use anti-money laundering and corruption laws against them, but so far with little success,” Hapsoro said.

He stressed that curbing illegal logging required “good governance starting from local to central governments.”

“Such efforts involve a lot of people, starting from villages, subdistricts, districts, central governments and even the police force.”

“It also doesn’t just revolve around the forestry sector but also [involves] trade and commerce agencies, customs and even politicians and political parties because illegal logging has high value, so no wonder that members of the House of Representatives are also involved. Illegal logging is very political,” he said. “As long as there is no good intention to deal with this issue then illegal logging will just keep on going.”

Mas Achmad Santosa, an environmental law expert, said that the definition on illegal logging was clear, although there were differences between the 1999 Law on Forestry and the 2009 Law on Environmental Protection and Management Law.

“The forestry law is much more lenient than the environmental law, which has stricter sanctions on corporate crimes and acknowledges corporate crimes in this case” he said. “However, on the implementation level coordination [to uphold these laws] has not gone anywhere, for instance, between prosecutors and investigators.”

There was also the problem of judges’ understanding of the definition of forests, with most of them considering forests as “just standing trees” and not as natural resources with economic or aesthetic value.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/forest-of-problems-hinders-illegal-logging-fight/372046

As Indonesia's Forests Continue to Fall, Forestry Minister Says Blame Lies Elsewhere

April 28, 2010

Arti Ekawati & Nivell Rayda The Jakarta Globe

As Indonesia's Forests Continue to Fall, Forestry Minister Says Blame Lies Elsewhere

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan on Wednesday tried to distance his ministry from the rash of illegal logging cases and the so-called logging mafia, saying they also involved rogue provincial officials and legislators.

“Don’t blame it on the Ministry of Forestry because the ministry only processes requests from district governments,” Zulkifli said at a meeting of the Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force.

“There is a whole process that needs to be gone through. After the district makes a request, an Environmental Impact Analysis is conducted and the House of Representatives issues a permit. The best we can do [to combat illegal logging] is to revoke logging permits.”

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has told the task force to focus on illegal logging because of the environmental damage and lost income involved.

The president also has told the task force to evaluate the legal process involved in combating illegal logging, as well as allegations of bribery in the logging permit process.

The task force took a special interest in a 2008 case in Riau.

Riau Police dropped their investigation of 14 pulp and paper companies after 22 months of work, saying there was a lack of evidence.

Environmental groups claimed the decision was an indication the government was not serious about tackling illegal logging.

According to estimates from Jikalahari, a forest protection network, the country lost Rp 2.8 trillion ($310 million) from the activities of the 11 companies involved in the investigation.

Task force secretary Denny Indrayana said it was examining the decision to drop the case.

“We will look at anomalies, especially if we feel that the police had enough of a case to continue to prosecution. However, we need clear evidence that bribery occurred,” he said.

Zulkifli said such cases were common. “The government has lost so many cases. Our burden had been eased now that the task force is examining the legal process,” the minister said. “In 10 years only one major company was found guilty but law enforcers did not try to execute the court sentence.”

Mas Achmad Santosa, a task force member, said the ministry needed to review existing regulations that overlapped and contradicted other regulations.

“There has to be transparency in the permit process and an effective system to take public complaints and evaluate irregular permits,” he said.

Zulkifli said another problem was that many heads of subdistricts did not understand the issues involved.

“Up until now, about two million hectares [of forest] have been illegally encroached upon by mines and plantations,” he said.

Zulkifli said his ministry was probing a big case in Padang Lawas, North Sumatra.

Activists warn that continued illegal logging could spell an environmental disaster for the country. Indonesia has 42 million hectares of primary forest, 40 million hectares of degraded forest and 48 million hectares of irretrievably damaged forest areas. 

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/as-indonesias-forests-continue-to-fall-forestry-minister-says-blame-lies-elsewhere/372043

Blood on our hands: Ireland's role in illegal logging

Blood on our hands: Ireland's role in illegal logging

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0429/1224269286779.html

Controversial palm oil firm Golden Agri-Resources asks Bell Pottinger for help

Controversial palm oil firm Golden Agri-Resources asks Bell Pottinger for help

http://www.prweek.com/channel/ConsumerEntertainment/article/999738/Controversial%20palm%20oil%20firm%20Golden%20Agri-Resources%20asks%20Bell%20Pottinger%20for%20help/

Highest number of suspicious transactions in forestry in 2006

Personal note: EC and British government officials please note the sentence highlighted below. Was this not a time when you were pouring ever more money into forestry projects in Indonesia and indirectly into personal bank accounts in Singapore?
-----------------------------------------------

Highest number of suspicious transactions in forestry in 2006: PPATK

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Wed, 04/28/2010l

The Financial Transaction and Analysis Center (PPATK) said Wednesday that it found the highest number of suspicious transactions related to the forestry sector was recording in the period between 2006 and 2007.

PPATK chairman Yunus Husein said that the suspicious transactions involved those belonging to law enforcers, including local forestry officers.

“The highest number of the suspicious transactions was between 2006 and 2007. Since then it continues to decline with only less than 10 cases in 2009,” he said without giving details.

He said that most of the suspicious transactions were made during the launching of sustainable forest operation aimed to tackle illegal logging in the country.

Yunus declined to elaborate, saying the suspicious transactions had been reported to the National Police and Attorney General office.

He made the statement at a meeting between Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Anti Judiciary Mafia Task Force at the forestry ministry office in Jakarta.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/28/highest-number-suspicious-transactions-forestry-2006-ppatk.html

New pictures show palm oil giant obliteraters critical orangutan habitat and lies about it

New pictures show palm oil giant obliteraters critical orangutan habitat and lies about it

http://www.examiner.com/x-4002-Green-Living-Examiner~y2010m4d28-New-pictures-show-palm-oil-giant-obliteraters-critical-orangutan-habitat-and-lies-about-it

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

*Indonesia's palm oil giant Sinar Mas continues to break sustainability commitments

*Indonesia's palm oil giant Sinar Mas continues to break sustainability commitments

Greenpeace releases new evidence of rainforest destruction in advance of Sinar Mas AGM
*
*27 April, 2010 - Singapore/Jakarta:* Today, as shareholders arrived at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Golden Agri Resources (GAR), the palm oil arm of Sinar Mas, Greenpeace released fresh evidence showing how Sinar Mas continues to destroy Indonesia's rainforests despite promises to stop.

Deforestation for palm oil expansion is driving climate change and pushing endangered orang-utans to the brink of extinction.

"This evidence shows that Sinar Mas continues to lie to its shareholders and customers about its environmental standards. Whatever new promises it makes today, it is clear the company intends to continue trashing rainforests and destroying orang-utan habitat. We will continue to press Sinar Mas'

customers to stop all business with this forest destroyer until it cleans up its act," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Team Leader
(1)

A policy statement released by Sinar Mas in early February and the GAR 2009 Annual Report presented today at its AGM claims commitments to the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and a halt to clearing in High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, primary forests and peatlands.

"Two weeks ago we revealed how Sinar Mas subsidiary PT ALM is currently destroying deep peatland and high conservation value forest in West Kalimantan. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Within the last few days we have caught Sinar Mas subsidiary PT BAT clearing rainforest bordering orang-utan habitat in Central Kalimantan. This subsidiary has also been illegally destroying orang-utan habitat in the past. These cases show that Sinar Mas' commitments are meaningless and nothing but greenwash. (2)

Greenpeace has also been targeting food and drink giant, Nestle, for using palm oil from Sinar Mas in products like KitKat. The multinational terminated its direct palm oil contract with the company last month, (3) but continues to buy palm oil and paper products indirectly from it, through suppliers like Cargill. Nestle has said it expects Cargill to stop supplying Sinar Mas palm oil unless the company adequately answers to Greenpeace's evidence of deforestation and illegality by the end of April. (4)

"Sinar Mas has just days left to clean up its act or risk losing huge contracts with Cargill," said Maitar. "Greenpeace is not against palm oil plantations, our campaign is to stop companies like Sinar Mas from destroying the world s remaining rainforests. The Indonesian government must take tough action against companies like this and protect the country's carbon rich peatland and rainforests."

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction on the planet, with palm oil and pulp and paper plantations being major causes. As a result, it is now the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter, after China and the United States. (5)

AFP: Indonesian palm oil giant broke commitments: Greenpeace

AFP: Indonesian palm oil giant broke commitments: Greenpeace

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hlM9yXMGGeOWNpvIfjqFBQkPnLxA

Indonesia's forestry industry risks to go bankrupt due to illegal logging

Personal note to EC and British government officials:

This is the very same illegal logging you bureaucrats in the EC and British DFID claim has been on the decline....and even have the nerve to claim credit for. Why is it the media are forever reporting ‘rampant illegal logging continues’ and yet the EC and British DFID, plus Chatham House, say otherwise? Presumably it is to try and explain away the millions of pounds wasted.

I mean, even here in this article you have the logging industry saying illegal logging is a “chronic problem”. If, and I doubt you do, you want to know where the money has gone, try reading
http://news.malaysia.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4056245

The EC and British DFID are a BIG part of the problem as all they do is to encourage complacency, bureaucracy and corruption in Indonesia. SHAME ON THE PEOPLE CONCERNED. It’s time you employed some people in Indonesia prepared to report the truth.

------------------------------------

Indonesia's forestry industry risks to go bankrupt due to illegal logging

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

JAKARTA, Apr. 28, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Indonesia's forestry industry risks to go bankrupt due to illegal logging which triggers lack of material and reduces ability of local companies to compete with foreign counterparts, an official said here on Wednesday.

Sudradjat Djajapertjunda, the chairman of the Indonesian Forest Society, an organization of forestry companies, told a seminar that illegal logging is one of chronic problems in the sector that pose a massive negative effect. "In the popular term, the threat of bankruptcy on forestry activities and industry is known as forestry de-industrialization," said Sudradjat.

According to him, the national forestry industry which was the main player in the world's wood market has turned to be blur picture of forestry sector now. "It is dying or at the brink of destruction more precisely," said Sudradjat. "Many forestry companies go bankrupt, factories closed while employers and capital owners switched to other countries with much conducive economic climate," said Sudradjat.

According to him, rampant illegal logging plays a big role in rising wood smuggling to overseas, killing Indonesian forestry industry in the international market.

He also said that more expensive official wood price bought by legal wood processing companies make them uncompetitive in competing with illegal ones.

Furthermore, he said, the forestry sector de-industrialization will carry follow-up effects. "Obviously, the gross domestic product in regions with significant forestry sector like provinces of East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Riau and Papua will decrease," said Sudradjat.

Besides, he said, it risks to pose mass layoff whereas the sector provides jobs for 16 million of people.

In larger scale, he said, the de-industrialization will trigger political and security instability.

(Source: iStockAnalyst )

Indonesia chafes at graft 'safe haven' in Singapore

Personal note: Almost certainly a lot of foreign aid (including USA/EC and British government) money will have ended up in Singapore bank accounts belonging to corrupt Indonesian officials.
--------------------------

Indonesia chafes at graft 'safe haven' in Singapore
http://news.malaysia.msn.com/business/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4056245

Greenpeace says Indonesian palm oil producer broke forest pledge

Greenpeace says Indonesian palm oil producer broke forest pledge

http://australianetworknews.com/stories/201004/2884404.htm?desktop

Grocery Council palms off animal activists

Grocery Council palms off animal activists

http://www.foodweek.com.au/main-features-page.aspx?ID=7129

Greenpeace slams firm

Greenpeace slams firm

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_520090.htm

Scientist Warns Indonesia to Take Reports of New Deadly Strain of Malaria Seriously

Scientist Warns Indonesia to Take Reports of New Deadly Strain of Malaria Seriously


http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/scientist-warns-indonesia-to-take-reports-of-new-deadly-strain-of-malaria-seriously/371832

Finland agree to cooperate in bio-energy development

Personal note: How likely is it the government of Finland REALLY care about forests in Borneo? Or could this have more to do with commercial interests?

----------------------------------------------

Finland agree to cooperate in bio-energy development

http://www.antara.co.id/en/news/1272377983/ri-finland-agree-to-cooperate-in-bio-energy-development

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Animal groups in protest over planned animal test lab

Personal note: Nature Alert cares about all wildlife but to try and make a difference we focus on orangutans as this is what we know most about. The following article is included to illustrate what happens beneath the glossy PR image put out by Malaysia. Make no mistake, this country is extremely bad for animal trafficking and cruelty, helped by it's own forestry police having so many corrupt senior officials.



Animal groups in protest over planned animal test lab
http://www.mmail.com.my/content/34684-animal-groups-protest-over-planned-animal-test-lab

Indonesia's palm oil giant Sinar Mas continues to break sustainability commitments

Indonesia's palm oil giant Sinar Mas continues to break sustainability commitments

Greenpeace releases new evidence of rainforest destruction in advance of Sinar Mas AGM

27 April, 2010 - Singapore/Jakarta: Today, as shareholders arrived at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Golden Agri Resources (GAR), the palm oil arm of Sinar Mas, Greenpeace released fresh evidence showing how Sinar Mas continues to destroy Indonesia's rainforests despite promises to stop. Deforestation for palm oil expansion is driving climate change and pushing endangered orang-utans to the brink of extinction.

"This evidence shows that Sinar Mas continues to lie to its shareholders and customers about its environmental standards. Whatever new promises it makes today, it is clear the company intends to continue trashing rainforests and destroying orang-utan habitat. We will continue to press Sinar Mas' customers to stop all business with this forest destroyer until it cleans up its act," said Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest Team Leader (1)

A policy statement released by Sinar Mas in early February and the GAR 2009 Annual Report presented today at its AGM claims commitments to the principles of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and a halt to clearing in High Conservation Value (HCV) areas, primary forests and peatlands.

"Two weeks ago we revealed how Sinar Mas subsidiary PT ALM is currently destroying deep peatland and high conservation value forest in West Kalimantan. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Within the last few days we have caught Sinar Mas subsidiary PT BAT clearing rainforest bordering orang-utan habitat in Central Kalimantan. This subsidiary has also been illegally destroying orang-utan habitat in the past. These cases show that Sinar Mas' commitments are meaningless and nothing but greenwash. (2)

Greenpeace has also been targeting food and drink giant, Nestle, for using palm oil from Sinar Mas in products like KitKat. The multinational terminated its direct palm oil contract with the company last month, (3) but continues to buy palm oil and paper products indirectly from it, through suppliers like Cargill. Nestle has said it expects Cargill to stop supplying Sinar Mas palm oil unless the company adequately answers to Greenpeace's evidence of deforestation and illegality by the end of April. (4)

"Sinar Mas has just days left to clean up its act or risk losing huge contracts with Cargill," said Maitar. "Greenpeace is not against palm oil plantations, our campaign is to stop companies like Sinar Mas from destroying the world’s remaining rainforests. The Indonesian government must take tough action against companies like this and protect the country's carbon rich peatland and rainforests."

Indonesia has one of the fastest rates of forest destruction on the planet, with palm oil and pulp and paper plantations being major causes. As a result, it is now the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitter, after China and the United States. (5)

Heat on Indonesian palm oil firm

Heat on Indonesian palm oil firm

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2010/04/201042784547904122.html


Includes video.

Disgraced Politician Released from Jail for 'Amnesia Therapy'

Disgraced Politician Released from Jail for 'Amnesia Therapy'

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/disgraced-politician-released-from-jail-for-amnesia-therapy/371729


Personal note: apparently suffering from what you might call 'selective/convenient amnesia'! Maybe he is trying to forget the virtual destruction of the Kutai National Park.

The Body Shop

LETTER RECEIVED BY A SUPPORTER
-------------------------------

Thank you for your e-mail,

Palm oil is the world’s second most used vegetable oil, with an annual production of 400 million tonnes. Millions of people rely on palm oil for their livelihood and for nutrition. However, palm oil has recently been highlighted as a crop that is often grown on deforested land, destroying fragile ecosystems and wildlife and linked to severe human rights and worker abuses.

Over the past few years, we have taken a leading role in the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), working alongside NGOs such as Oxfam and WWF, plantations and other actors in our supply chain to change the way palm oil is grown and plantations are managed. This has resulted in a groundbreaking standard for the production of sustainable palm oil, taking into account all aspects of biodiversity and human rights.

The roundtable has been successful in bringing together the business sector and NGOs to tackle the problem and create a more sustainable approach. More than 40% of the world’s palm oil production is now represented in the initiative and some of the world’s largest consumer brands and retailers have joined the RSPO, sending a clear signal that there is a demand for sustainable palm oil. In particular, we are delighted that L'Oréal joined the RSPO at the beginning of 2007.

Through the roundtable we have helped develop high standards. We have provided practical advice on human rights to plantations and The Body Shop Foundation has co-funded important work to make sure small-scale farmers are not disadvantaged by the RSPO standard.

In June 2007 we changed our entire soap range to be manufactured using palm oil from one of the leading sustainable plantations – Daabon in Colombia. We supported Daabon to achieve RSPO certification, which they were awarded in 2008. We also visited the plantation to ensure that the protection and welfare of communities, workers and the surrounding jungle is preserved and promoted. Throughout 2009 we will continue to assess our product range to see if there is further scope to source RSPO certified palm.


Kind Regards,

John Quinn
The Body Shop Online Team

FLORA

LETTER RECEIVED FROM A SUPPORTER
-----------------------------


Thank you for your recent email. I can confirm that all the Flora range of products contain palm oil.

Palm Oil is an ingredient which is used in many food products, toiletry and cosmetic products. Due to our broad portfolio and scale of business, Unilever is the world's largest user of palm oil.

Hence we are leading the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, a not-for-profit association set up to ensure that companies will be able to purchase certified sustainable palm oil as soon as possible. The challenge in finding an effective and long term solution is the problem of "traceability" (being able to trace every palm kernel back to the plantation which grew it). This is complex in an extended supply chain where there are many thousands of growers - both large and small.

Unfortunately, due to the brands and number of products that Unilever produces, we are unable to provide the generic ingredient details that you are asking for. We are nevertheless committing to traceability in our European supply chain for straight palm oil by 2012.

If you have particular concerns surrounding a brand or product please call or email us and we will do our best to provide the information.

Kind regards,

Martyn Williams-Ellis
Careline Advisor

Lindt chocolate

LETTER RECEIVED BY A SUPPORTER
------------------------------------------


Thank you for your email we received.

Correspondence from consumers who enjoy Lindt chocolate are always welcome.
Lindor contains only a minor amount of palm. The palm oil is not yet sustainably certified, but we intend to switch to RSPO certified palm oil in the course of this year.

We would like to thank you for taking the time to contact us with your comments.

Yours sincerely,
Eileen Lidgett
Consumer Service
Lindt & Sprüngli (UK) Ltd.
Top Floor # 4 New Square
TW14 8HA Middlesex GB
01044 +44 20 8602 41 00
consumerservice-uk@lindt.com
http://www.lindt.co.uk

MORRISON'S SUPERMARKETS

LETTER RECEIVED BY A SUPPORTER
---------------------------


Thank you for contacting us regarding the use of palm oil in Morrisons products.

I can assure you that we take your concern about palm oil extremely seriously. Indeed, we are committed to encouraging the responsible sourcing of palm oil and ensuring that its cultivation is not threatening forests or natural habitats.

As part of this commitment, in 2008 Morrison was accepted into the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which is supported by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), to help promote best practice for the cultivation and use of sustainable palm oil throughout the supply chain.

Palm oil is an important and versatile raw material for both food and non-food industries, which contributes to the economic development of the producing countries and to the diets of millions of people around the world. Although palm oil is entirely GM free and has the highest yield per hectare than any oil or oilseed crop, it is recognized that there are environmental pressures on its expansion to eco-sensitive areas, particularly as oil palm can only be cultivated in tropical areas of Asia, Africa and South America. It is therefore vital that production and use of palm oil must be done in a sustainable manner based on economic, social and environmental viability.

Given the global nature of the palm oil market there is the need for collective action on an international basis and we do believe that the Roundtable process provides the best means of achieving this. In addition, we intend to strengthen our position in 2009 in ensuring that palm oil used as an ingredient in our own-brand products is from a sustainable source, and to monitor this through supplier audit activity.

I do hope that this letter has gone some way to reassuring you that we take our responsibilities in the area very seriously indeed. Please rest assured that your comments and views are very valuable to us; it is always our intention that our customers are satisfied with everything that they buy from us and with the service we provide.
Yours sincerely

A Spence

--
Customer Services Department
WM Morrisons Supermarkets PLC
Consider the environment...Please think before you print this email

Tackling illegal logging

Tackling illegal logging

Ahmad Maryudi, Yogyakarta Tue, 04/27/2010 Opinion

Illegal logging has long been identified as a prominent forest problem with detrimental impacts — ecologically, socially and economically.

It is now targeted by the Judicial Mafia Taskforce amid numerous controversial verdicts favoring the suspects (The Jakarta Post, April 19, 2010: “Taskforce sets sights on illegal logging mafia allegations”, also April 8, 2010: “SBY orders taskforce to tackle illegal logging”).

To tackle illegal logging, investigating those alleged to have been involved in the judicial process favoring the suspects is important.

The process nonetheless occurs after the damage has been done. Problems of illegal logging are extensive in that the country’s forest systems cannot effectively prevent illegal logging.

A closer look on “forest processes”, which might have contributed to favoring illegal activities, is therefore not less imperative than the former.

By definition, there are two forms of illegal logging. People might need not further explanation on timber poaching by unauthorized loggers, but they might raise their eyebrows knowing that illegal logging, as a matter of fact in our country, is often wrapped in legal processes that hence cannot easily be detected.

In general, management plans are set in place to ensure how much and where timber can be legally logged from the forests, but they are often abused.

For instance, some logging activities occur outside the approved compartments, or the actual harvest is beyond the set limits.

A prominent example is illegal logging by Adelin Lis’ companies, which were granted legal forest utilization licenses.

His forest management companies were found to be logging trees in protected areas in Mandailing and Batang Gadis National Park of North Sumatra, which both restrict logging activity.

As reports suggest, despite only securing an annual harvest limit of 50,000 cubic meters, its downstream industry processed nearly 1 million cubic meters.

In most cases, violence on the management plans should not be hard to detect nonetheless. It then becomes difficult to track down when the annual harvest limits are set and officially approved by forest authorities beyond the capacity of the forests to regenerate themselves.
It is not uncommon that forest officials conspire with forest companies to raise the harvest bars, allowing the companies to harvest more, of course illegally.

Technically, they are those who are appointed to check whether the management plans are sound enough, but field inspections are often insufficient, if not non-existent. Reports also suggest that legal harvest licenses are “on-sale” to undertake in illegal activities.

The message here is again that tackling down on illegal logging should also touch the governance system of the Forest Ministry. Models of licenses and approvals might not be best anymore.

Being objective, too many requirements and pre-conditions incurred to forest companies, on the one hand, create hospitable environments for corrupt officials to benefit from circumstances in which forest companies are no wish to comply with.

On the other hand, being burdened with formal and informal fees, the forest managers are likely to compensate to more harvests from the forests.

This becomes a vicious circle and all contributes to persistent illegal logging in the country.
There is an increasingly apparent need of simplified, but of course effective, surveillance systems on forest companies.

Approaches on independent assessments, which have been recently implemented, generate a glimpse of enthusiasm and optimism, but indeed have no guarantee as well.

Recently, the Forestry Ministry has exercised the implementation of regular inventory systems imposed on forest companies to monitor the forest condition from time to time.
It is an innovative experiment, but as said, this will burden the forest companies more.

Hence, this innovation should be followed with the removal of some overlapping, and ineffective requirements to limit people’s desire for compensation from the forests.
It is perhaps well-worth for forest companies practicing wise forest operation and management to experiment with incentive-based approaches.

The incentives can vary from having reduced financial obligations on harvesting timber from forests to a simpler bureaucracy processes, which certainly leads to lower management costs. Such lowered financial burdens should draw interest from managers.


The writer is a lecturer at the Forestry Faculty, Gadjah Mada University.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/27/tackling-illegal-logging.html

Penan Score Victory as Logging Road Blockades Halt Timber Giant's Encroachment

Penan Score Victory as Logging Road Blockades Halt Timber Giant's Encroachment

http://www.world-wire.com/news/1004260003.html

Tories accused of hypocrisy over destruction of (Sumatran) orang-utan habitat - Times

Tories accused of hypocrisy over destruction of (Sumatran) orang-utan habitat - Times

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article7108921.ece

Monday, 26 April 2010

Worth thinking about?



"Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly"

Robert Schuller

A message VERY applicable to some who proclaim publicly to be helping orangutans. These same people never take a risk - everything has to be just perfect, which of course nothing ever is, and so they do nothing - which is the easiest, less risky thing to do, which suits them just fine. Me - I think people should take risks for what they believe in. How about you?

No Forestry Mafia in National Police, Chief Says

Personal note: You can be certain the Mafia has infiltrated the police.
--------------------------------------------


April 26, 2010
Farouk Arnaz & Fidelis E Satriastanti The Jakarta Globe

No Forestry Mafia in National Police, Chief Says

After allegations that two high-ranking police officials were involved in the halting of an investigation into a major case of illegal logging, National Police Chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri on Monday declared there was no forestry mafia in his force.

On Thursday, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations including Indonesia Corruption Watch, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), and Sawit Watch reported 12 public officials to the presidentially appointed Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force for halting the probe into 13 pulp-and-paper companies accused of illegal logging in Riau Province.

The 12 reportedly included two high-ranking police officials, a high-ranking official of the Ministry of Forestry, a governor, four district heads, and four former officials from Riau’s forestry agency.

In December 2008, the Riau Police, under former chief Hadiat¬moko, issued the halt order, known as an SP3, after being advised by experts that the companies had not broken any laws. The SP3 in effect ended 23 months of investigation under the previous Riau Police chief, Suciptadi.

“It’s everyone’s right to report or make allegations, but I guarantee that there is no such thing as a forestry mafia” in the police force, Bambang said, adding that the decision to issue the SP3 “was done professionally and is accountable.”

Furthermore, he said the decision had been reported to Jusuf Kalla, then vice president.

“The SP3 is not final and if there is any new evidence, [the case] can be reopened,” he said.

During the meeting with the task force, ICW legal coordinator Febri Diansyah said two high-ranking officials based at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta were directly involved in issuing the SP3 recommendation or acted as policy makers when it was issued.

“If you classify the positions at the National Police as lower, middle, and higher, then these officials are on the higher level,” Febri said.

Furthermore, he said Suciptadi, when he headed the Riau Police, had declared 200 suspects connected with the case and evidence against them was very strong, but then the “newcomer” from the National Police, Hadiatmoko, said it was not strong enough after consulting new experts.

Teguh Surya, head of advocacy at Walhi, said the issuance of the SP3 was questionable because of “the decision to switch to new expert witnesses by the Forestry Ministry and Riau head of police while the investigation process was still ongoing.”

He added that the case was going to be a difficult one for the task force because it involved so many big names.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/no-forestry-mafia-in-national-police-chief-says/371640

Govt says no pardon for forest mafia

Govt says no pardon for forest mafia

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Mon, 04/26/2010

The government asserted that it would not issue any write-off for those who illegally converted forests as a move to root out forest mafia practices in the country.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan has sent letters to the governors to report the amount of converted forests, mostly done before their land use permits were issued, and overlapping permits in their respected areas.

The governors should submit their finding to Jakarta this month.

“The team will assess on whether illegal forest shift is due to permit snags or overlapping policies between central government and local administrations,” Hadi Daryanto, director general of forest production development at the forestry ministry, told reporters on Monday.

He said that the move was made to support the plan by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to fight against the forest mafia in the country.

The team will consist of officials from the Forestry Ministry, Environmental Ministry, Indonesian Police, Attorney General Office and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

The letter sent in February asked the governors to include name of illegal companies, the location on whether in production forest, protected forest or conservation area.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/26/govt-says-no-pardon-forest-mafia.html

A CHANCE TO GET MORE INVOLVED.

DO YOU LIVE IN THAILAND OR MALAYSIA AND WANT TO DO MORE TO HELP WILDLIFE?

IF SO, PLEASE email your details to sw@naturealert.org

Does this apply to you?



It is far more powerful to live your truth than to preach it...

Or, how about this?

procrastinate, procrastinate procrastinate... the route to living a life unfulfilled.

Australia helping deforestation and decimation of wildlife in Borneo

The Australian government using the cover of 'Aid' assistance is now contributing to deforestation all over Indonesian Borneo. The so-called 'Aid' is used to help Australian companies increase their presence with mining activities as illustrated in this photo taken in East Kalimantan by COP in March this year. It is VERY common to find orphaned orangutans held as pets in areas surrounding coal mines.


Sunday, 25 April 2010

The great aid scam

The great aid scam


http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article7107052.ece


Warning to EC, USAid and British government officials; this may make uncomfortable reading - if you have a conscience.

CHARITY'S DIRTY SECRETS

If you live in the UK you might want to read in today’s
Sunday Times a full page review of a new book called

"Charity's dirty secrets" by Linda Polman.

Presumably this book will soon be available on Amazon.

A sample exert reads “....The main reason for what amounts to a conspiracy of silence on their (charity’s and their employees) part is that if the general public were to know what happens to their charitable donations, they might never give again to such ventures”.

The newspaper review does not yet appear online.


The book goes on to talk about government aid projects, which as I keep on saying are little more than a scam to entice countries into being influenced (bought) by other countries. USAid might be an excellent example, and the British government as well as the EC are amongst the worst deceivers. ...................and you try and get them to prove where all this ‘Aid’ goes – they either cannot or will not, making them all part of the conspiracy the author mentions.

This book is a 'must read' for anyone who donates to charity....anywhere in the world.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The school where the pupils go ape

The school where the pupils go ape

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/2945951/The-school-where-the-pupils-go-ape.html

Comply fully with RSPO

Letter: Comply fully with RSPO

The Jakarta Post Fri, 04/23/2010

It is hard to comprehend why some palm oil companies in Malaysia and Indonesia still do not understand why their members receive much international criticism. (See “Indonesia-Malaysia producers may decide to ignore RSPO”, the Post, April 21)

Perhaps I can help them. The core issues are simple to explain and for most people to understand.

The palm oil industry has been responsible for destroying millions of hectares of rainforest and wiping out tens of millions of animals in the process.

The palm oil industry is responsible for the deaths of many thousands of orangutans and about 1000 currently being cared for in rescue centers.

Such facts may not be of any concern to these companies, but they matter to consumers who have every right to insist the products they use or consume do not contribute to such wholesale and wanton environmental destruction. Consumers have a choice, as do palm oil companies; you can be either part of the problem or part of the solution. Customers are increasingly using their buying power to avoid being part of the problem.

Finally, there is the question of integrity and trust. Even Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) members working, in theory at least, to quite stringent regulations, have been caught breaking the rules.

Now, if any palm oil company thinks a consumer would for a second trust a “certificate” conjured up by a bunch of RSPO renegades sat around a table in either Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur, it could prove to be a very expensive error of judgment on their part.

The really smart palm oil companies will comply fully with the RSPO, it makes good commercial sense to do so, and it is these same companies who will reap the benefits of increased sales as more and more customers move their business to them.

Sean Whyte
England
http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/23/letter-comply-fully-with-rspo.html


the above letter was in response to this article below

Indonesia-Malaysia producers may decide to ignore RSPO

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Wed, 04/21/2010

Major producers of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia say they may disregard the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) if the international forum insists on raising the threshold on the principles and criteria for certification of mills and plantations.

Indonesian producers have even moved further teaming up with government to establish a domestic forum in a bid to create principles and criteria that are compatible with conditions specific to the country.

RSPO is currently reviewing the certification criteria and may adopt new provisions, which may be deemed too restrictive by most producers in developing countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

A working group under RSPO said the new certification criteria should include routine monitoring of carbon intensity standards in all palm oil plantations.

All palm oil plantation areas, the working group proposes, must produce no more than 35 tons of carbon per hectare and cannot be allowed to be established on peat lands.

The working group is scheduled to meet with all and any stakeholders in Kuching, Malaysia, in May, to decide on these revisions.

Joko Supriyono, the secretary-general for the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers’ Association (Gapki), said six palm oil associations from both countries had agreed to reject the above amendments to the certification process.

“The existing certification process, which includes nine principles and 139 criteria for CPO certification, has already caused many difficulties for the industry … they cost so much and consume so much time, usually a year,” Joko said.

Joko said there were now only three Indonesian palm oil firms that could pass the certification process.

Palm oil producers, Joko said, only controlled about 30 percent of the voting rights in the palm oil forum while the rest were controlled by NGOs, big buyers, and banks.

“We will lose in the voting process … if the forum disregards our concerns, we will walk out and refuse to use our right to vote,” he said.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Bayu Khrisnamurti said Indonesia would soon have its own roundtable on sustainable palm oil. The ministry, he said, is currently working with the office of the coordinating economic minister to draft the provisions necessary for establishing the local forum.

Bayu said the domestic roundtable would be a response to unfair proceedings in RSPO, which had been heavily influenced by European perspectives.

“Some RSPO members are inconsistent. Take Unilever, it did not consult the forum when it made its decision based on reports from NGOs, instead they panicked,“ he said referring to the decision by the world’s biggest palm oil buyer to terminate all deals with Indonesian company, Sinar Mas, due to environmental concerns put forward by NGOs.

Indonesia is the biggest producer of palm oil, having contributed 44.5 percent to the world’s total output of 42.9 million tons in 2008, while Malaysia was the second biggest, having contributed 41 percent.

As from 2015, the entire group of European Union member states will only import CPO from companies whose production is certified by RSPO. (rch)

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/21/indonesiamalaysia-producers-may-decide-ignore-rspo.html

Friday, 23 April 2010

REDD further exposed

Bolivian climate conference condemns forest programme

April 22, 2010
22 Apr 2010,

As Earth Day celebrations commence around the world, Indigenous Peoples from across the Americas are in Cochabamba, Bolivia today to close the historic conference on climate change and the “Rights of Mother Earth” hosted by President Evo Morales. Morales, the only Indigenous Head of State in the world, called this conference in the wake of failed climate talks in Copenhagen. As the world prepares for the next round of talks in Cancún, Mexico, Indigenous Peoples vowed today to push for proposals that keep fossil fuels in the ground, protect Indigenous rights, and reject predatory policies like REDD (Reducing Emissions Through Deforestation & Degradation).

“REDD is branded as a friendly forest conservation program, yet it is backed by big polluters and climate profiteers. We cannot solve this crisis with out addressing the root cause: a fossil fuel economy that disregards the rights of Mother Earth,” said Alberto Saldamando, legal counsel for the International Indian Treaty Council. “President Morales has heard our recommendations on the structural causes of climate change and predatory carbon schemes like REDDs, and will bring our voices to the world stage in Cancún later this year.”

This morning President Morales was joined by representatives of 90 governments and several Heads of State to receive the findings of the conference on topics such as a Climate Tribunal, Climate Debt, just finance for mitigation and adaptation, agriculture, and forests.

The working group on forests held one of the more hotly contested negotiations of the summit, but with the leadership of Indigenous Peoples, a consensus was reached to reject REDD and call for wide-scale grassroots reforestation programs. The final declaration on forests states, “We condemn the mechanisms of the neoliberal market, such as the REDD mechanism and its versions REDD+ and REDD++, which are violating the sovereignty of our Peoples and their rights to free, prior and informed consent and self determination.” The working group on forests also challenged the definition of forests used by the United Nations, which permits plantations and transgenic trees, saying, “Monocultures are not forests.”

“REDD is not a solution to climate change,” said Marlon Santi, President of CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, the largest Indigenous organization in that country. “REDD has been created by multilateral institutions like the World Bank that routinely violate Indigenous Peoples’ rights and pollute Mother Earth. It is perverse that these institutions are pretending to have the ’solution’ when they have actually caused the climate crisis. REDD should not be implemented in any country or community.”

“REDD is a predatory program that pretends to save forests and the climate, while backhandedly selling forests out from under our Indigenous Peoples,” said Tom Goldtooth, Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), based in Bemidji, MN. “REDD will encourage continuing pollution and global warming, while displacing those of us least responsible for the crisis, who have been stewards of the forests since time immemorial.”

The declarations forged by the working groups in Cochabamba will be taken to the Cancún summit by President Morales as a counter-proposal to the widely criticized “Copenhagen Accord.” Movements of Indigenous Peoples, trade unions, farmers and environmentalists are also building momentum out of Cochabamba with plans for mass demonstrations in Cancún.

Environmental Group Confronts Authority for Forest Destruction

Environmental Group Confronts Authority for Forest Destruction

Friday, 23 April, 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: A regional environmental group in Sumatra's province of Jambi regretted violation in conservation forest in the province by mining companies and questioned the regional authorities handling towards the condition.

In a meeting with Jambi Forestry Office yesterday, the Alliance of Community for Forest demanded explanation about mining operations in over 632 thousand hectares of conservation zones including in Kerinci Seblat National Park.

The group said the fact proves regional government's lack of commitment in the preserving the forest and even indicates that offficials have conspired and contribute to the forest destruction.

Of 5.19 million hectares of conservation areas in the province about 4.34 million hectares have been controlled for business purposes, the group reported. It found 1,3 million hectares of industrial estates, 507 thousand hectares of licensed forest for logging, 61.3 thousand hectares of forest concession, 1.2 million hectares of palm oil plantations, 633.7 thousand hectares of rubber plantations, and 632.3 thousand hectares of mining.

Head of the provincial Forestry Office Budi Daya acknowledged the facts especially on mining activities but claimed that mining operations have been running without consent from the local authority.

SYAIPUL BAKHORI
http://www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nusa/sumatera/2010/04/23/brk,20100423-242775,uk.html

Palm oil action in Australia

Palm oil action in Australia

It's about time something like this was formed in other countries, particularly the USA

http://www.palmoilaction.org.au/

Officials Accused of Ending Probe in Riau Logging Case

April 22, 2010
Camelia Pasandaran & Fidelis E Satriastanti Jakarta Globe

Officials Accused of Ending Probe in Riau Logging Case

A coalition of activist groups on Thursday reported 12 public officials to the presidential Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force for suspected involvement in a major illegal logging case in Riau province.

The public officials include one governor, four district heads, two high-ranking police officials, an official from the Ministry of Forestry and four former officials from Riau’s forestry agency.

The coalition said that in December 2008, the Riau Police halted a probe into 13 companies suspected of illegal logging after being advised by “an expert” that the companies had not broken any laws.

The case had been investigated for about two years under Sutjiptadi, who was then head of the Riau Police, the activists said, but was immediately put on hold when it came to the current deputy chief of its criminal investigation division, Hadiatmoko.

Other high-ranking officials accused of involvement in the dropping of the case included Riau Governor Rusli Zaenal and the former Forestry Minister MS Kaban.

“We think the decision to stop the investigation is controversial and suspect that a ‘forestry mafia’ is involved,” said Febri Diansyah, legal coordinator at Indonesia Corruption Watch, which was part of the coalition.

He said the groups had leveled 15 charges against the public officials, including alleged abuse of power in issuing permits and paying bribes to central and local government officials.

Riau Police spokesman Zulkili said he had not yet heard about the allegations and declined to comment.

The head of the mafia eradication task force, Denny Indrayana, said it planned to re-open the illegal logging case.

“We will see whether there was indications of a judicial mafia,” he said.

Denny said many illegal logging cases, in other provinces as well as Riau, had been dropped under suspicious circumstances.

“Vast areas of our forests have been destroyed,” he said. “We need to send a clear message, a message that will make people involved in illegal logging think twice.”

Denny said the task force would comply with an order issued last week by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to investigate the country’s notoriously corrupt forestry sector.

“We will follow up the president’s directives,” he said. “The mafia task force has accepted, and will always accept, input from any party regarding illegal logging and indications of mafia involvement.”

Denny said the mafia eradication task force would work with the Forestry Ministry to investigate the illegal logging claims.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan recently said that up to 3.5 million hectares of land was cleared each year between 1997 and 2002.

The current rate of deforestation is about 700,000 hectares a year, mostly in Papua.

Of the 131 million hectares of forests across the country, only about a third is estimated to be original old-growth forest.



Additional reporting by Budi Otmansyah
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/officials-accused-of-ending-probe-in-riau-logging-case/371003

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Worth thinking about?

"Challenges make life interesting,

however, overcoming them is what

makes life meaningful."

Mark Twain

Encouraging news from Western Borneo

Many will no doubt remember the many photos and reports filed by COP and Nature Alert concerning orangutans in Western Kalimantan (Borneo)

Just to let you know International Animal Rescue have, for about the past year, been developing an orangutan rescue centre they took over. Although neither COP or I are associated with IAR, we are delighted with their presence and the work they do. It is early days yet but they are, against all odds, making things happen in this remote region.

This link will take you to a page on their web site which you will probably find interesting.

http://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/video_gallery.php

Forestry Department to Lift Suspension on RAPP

The very same corrupt Forestry Department the EC and British government gives its taxpayers money to. Shame on them.


Forestry Department to Lift Suspension on RAPP

Thursday, 22 April, 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The Forestry Department said to give green light for Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper to resume its operation in Riau after about four months of suspension following Greenpeace protest accusing the Asia Paper Resources International Limited of illegal logging in conservation zone which prompted revoke eco-certificate on RAPP's product.

Budi Setiawan coordinator of the expert team of the Forestry Department said on Wednesday (21/4) before the Earth Day that the company will be allowed to operate if “if they pledge to comply with recommendation from the department.”

Firstly, the paper company is required to apply greater involvemnet of local community in its operations, secondly manage and maintain hydro-ecological system in Kampar, and manage and ensure sustainability of the whole ecology in the region.

The recommendation was issued after a 15 day examination on RAPP, following protest by Greenpeace late last year. The Forestry Ministry suspended forest exploitation license for the company in November.


PINGIT AR
http://www.tempointeractive.com/hg/nusa/sumatera/2010/04/22/brk,20100422-242424,uk.htmlIA

Palm oil campaigners win over Woolies

Palm oil campaigners win over Woolies


http://www.echonews.com.au/story/2010/04/22/palm-oil-campaigners-win-over-woolies/

Orangutans protest against food giant

Orangutans protest against food giant

http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2010/04/22/2879895.htm

Virgin forest disappearing for human's desire

Sumatra

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90783/91321/6959744.html



Amazing photos.
All the more amazing they appear in a Chinese online newspaper

General Election 2010: Nick Clegg uncovered

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7617709/General-Election-2010-Nick-Clegg-uncovered.html


And what of Mr Clegg personally? Well, he has fiercely condemned the
influence of lobbyists as part of the "old politics" and called for "reform
on lobbying". But he has been distinctly coy about his own two past spells
as a lobbyist, leaving them off his official biography on the Lib Dem
website. Most interesting and recent is Mr Clegg's high-level stint, in the
middle of his political career, with GPlus, the influential and
controversial Brussels company.

Peter Guilford, GPlus's founder, explicitly pitches his firm as the place
for organisations with "a real problem affecting their reputation". Its
clients have included the Malaysian Palm Oil Council, whose plantations are
accused of contributing to tropical deforestation (GPlus argued for a
relaxation of EU regulations to allow more palm oil imports),
and
representatives of the Russian government, whose PR corner it fought during
the recent war with Georgia.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

SHAME ON THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT

These photos were taken three weeks ago at the A'Famosa Safari Park, Malaysia. The poor orangutans are forced to perform in circus/clown-like shows in front of jeering crowds who laugh at them. Note the thin, anorexic looking orangutan. We have reported to the authorities our concerns for this orangutan's health. During these daily shows not one word is said about the conservation of the orangutans. At this same park three years ago Nature Alert was successful in identifying several illegally held orangutans (wild caught in Indonesia) which were eventually repatriated to Indonesia.

If these photos upset you, please look back to this blog over the coming days and see what you can do to help them.
























SHAME ON THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT

A'Famosa park in October 2009. Note the very thin orangutan, and in the 'group' photo the female orangutan is being told what to do to get ready to have her photo taken with people. The trainer carries an albino python around his neck.





MORE SHAME ON MALAYSIA

Photos taken one month earlier at the same A'Famosa park
LOOK AT HOW THIN THIS ORANGUTAN IS.






SHAME ON THE MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT


A'Famosa park October 2009. After we submitted a report to the Malaysian authorities on this park it 'appears' they have stopped the orangutans being dressed up.
Would you visit a country which treats orangutans like this?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Besieged Palm Oil Growers Plan Malaysia Strategy Meet

Besieged Palm Oil Growers Plan Malaysia Strategy Meet

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/business/besieged-palm-oil-growers-plan-malaysia-strategy-meet/370588

WWF - Sustainable palm oil purchases hit record high

WWF - Sustainable palm oil purchases hit record high


http://www.panda.org/?192867/Sustainable-palm-oil-purchases-hit-record-high

Indonesia plans own "green" certification for palm oil

Personal note: This, in a country where you can have more or less anything certified to be whatever you want; it just takes money. Of course, I am not suggesting for a moment a plam oil company would do such a thing.

----------------------------
Indonesia plans own "green" certification for palm oil

Wednesday April 21, 2010


http://www.forexyard.com/en/news/Indonesia-plans-own-green-certification-for-palm-oil-2010-04-20T111238Z

RI Gets Int`l Support For Its Climate Change Fight

RI Gets Int`l Support For Its Climate Change Fight

http://www.antara.co.id/en/news/1271742729/rii-gets-intl-support-for-its-climate-change-fight-by-fardah-d

Lack of transparency hinders fight against logging mafia

Lack of transparency hinders fight against logging mafia

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Tue, 04/20/2010

A lack of public data on illegal logging cases could prove to be the undoing of the government’s plans to root out illegal logging syndicates in the country, activists said.

Activists from the Natural Resources Law Institute (IHSA), which recently published its annual report on illegal logging cases in Indonesia, said organized crime syndicates that masterminded illegal logging were difficult to trace.

“In our experience, the most difficult task is to get data on illegal logging cases. Officials seem reluctant to release it to the public,” said Fadli Moh. Noch, an IHSA researcher dealing with illegal logging in East Kalimantan, on Monday.

“Until now, it remains unclear which institution manages the data on illegal logging cases.”
The IHSA said it had obtained data on illegal logging cases from at four institutions, the police, the regional forestry office, the provincial prosecutor’s office and the high court.

Fadli said organized crime syndicates could have infiltrated the forestry permit process because many companies that were cutting down trees did not have Environmental Impact Analysis (Amdal) documents, which is required in filing for permission to log.

“By law, it is impossible for companies without the Amdal document to operate in a forest, but the fact is that we keep finding many companies cutting down trees without documentation. This is also the doing of the forest mafia,” he said.

He said another indication that corruption had infiltrated the government was the lenient enforcement of illegal logging laws.

“Most illegal logging suspects are field operators. The average punishment [for such convicted suspects] is typically less than two years,” he said.

Researcher Achmad Djefrianto questioned the government’s claim that illegal logging had decreased of late.

“How could the government have calculated an increase or a decrease if they don’t have good records or data,” he said.

The IHSA published illegal logging cases in Jambi, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan, from 2007 to 2008.

In East Kalimantan, police data shows that forest crime, including illegal logging, hit 314 cases in 2007, of which 187 were handed over to the East Kalimantan prosecutor’s office.
In 2008, there were 220 cases, 92 of which were brought to the prosecutor’s office.

However the city’s forestry office recorded only two illegal logging cases in 2008.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last month ordered a taskforce to investigate forest crime as part of an effort to save Indonesia’s remaining rain forests.

A member of the Judicial Mafia Taskforce Mas Achmad Santosa said Sunday the taskforce was studying controversial verdicts in illegal logging cases, including that of fugitive Adelin Lis, who fled the country after the Supreme Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

President Yudhoyono issued a 2005 instruction tasking 18 departments to monitor and evaluate illegal logging, but the effort has not produced names of any major perpetrators.
A coalition of activists including the Indonesia Corruption Watch, the Indonesian Environmental Forum, Kalimantan-based Save Our Borneo and Sawit Watch have repeatedly called on the government to root out and take stern action against those masterminding illegal logging.

They said corruption involving government officials and corporations had damaged the country’s forest through illegal logging and license brokering for forest conversion.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/20/lack-transparency-hinders-fight-against-logging-mafia.html

environmentally friendly soaps etc.

Although we do not endorse anyone's products or services we are always happy to mention companies etc which we belive will be of interest to some readers.

This one makes environmentally friendly soaps etc.
Well worth checking out.


http://www.blueearth.co.nz/

Monday, 19 April 2010

Paper company loses green certification after rainforest destruction in Indonesia

Paper company loses green certification after rainforest destruction in Indonesia

http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0418-hance_april.html

Multilateral approach needed to battle illicit wildlife trade

Multilateral approach needed to battle illicit wildlife trade

http://news.brunei.fm/2010/04/19/multilateral-approach-needed-to-battle-illicit-wildlife-trade/

Rogue Mining, Energy Sector Practices Blasted

Another wake up call for the dozey EC and the UK government. Or, is it all too much on an inconvenient truth?
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April 18, 2010
Nurfika Osman The Jakarta Globe

Rogue Mining, Energy Sector Practices Blasted

The government must take stringent measures to root out corruption and rogue governance in the lucrative mining and energy sectors, which are stunting the country’s development, activists say.

“The government actually plays a role in fostering illegal mining in the country, especially in Kalimantan, by issuing permits to companies that don’t meet environmental requirements,” said Maryati Abdullah, a researcher for the nongovernmental organization Pattiro, which focuses on transparency and development.

“The government is allowing these companies, including the major ones, to mine just about anywhere as long as it gets its take from them.”

The Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force is in South Kali¬mantan to probe allegations of conspiracy in mining and energy projects. Task force secretary Denny Indrayana said on Saturday that the team was focusing on violations in the tax and excise, mining and energy, forestry, banking and finance, and agrarian and fisheries sectors.

“As long as we still have rogue governance, it’ll be difficult for the country to progress,” he said.

“What we need to do is what President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono prescribed: clean it out.”

On Friday, Yudhoyono ordered the task force to investigate why courts consistently handed down light sentences to illegal loggers.

At a news conference later in the day, Communication and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring said that of the 92 cases of alleged illegal logging tried recently, 49 had ended in acquittals, 24 in jail sentences of less than a year and 19 in sentences of between one and two years.

Maryati said a lack of coordination between local administrations and the central government had made it easier for rogue governance to flourish in the mining and forestry sectors.

“This lack of coordination has resulted in illegal mining practices continuing, and it sometimes seems we’re selling off our country bit by bit, because many of the companies operating in this field are multinationals,” she said.

Indonesia Corruption Watch researcher Febri Diansyah said the war against the judicial mafia should be waged institutionally.

“We can’t eradicate it case by case,” he said.

“Now is the right time to clean out whole institutions such as the National Police, the tax office, the Attorney General’s Office and district attorney’s offices through reform.

“This can be done through new regulations, the promotion or rotation of officials, the monitoring of individual officials’ wealth and punishing those proven guilty,” Febri said.

“We’re in a ‘mafia emergency.’ The country’s laws are toothless, and the institutions in question are tainted. This makes everything worse, because it also impacts on our ability to uphold human rights as well as to improve our citizens’ quality of living.

“We should throw out the presumption of innocence for state officials who have amassed great wealth, to force them to prove they did not acquire it illegally,” he said.

Additional reporting by Antara
http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/rogue-mining-energy-sector-practices-blasted/370190

Taskforce sets sights on illegal logging mafia allegations

Personal note: See below re Minister Kaban, unquestionably a friend of the illegal loggers, recipient of EC and British government (amongst others) funds and host to Prince Charles. Kaban, who personally saw millions of hectares of rainforest destroyed during his reign, has been alleged to be corrupt, and the EC (including its own Ambassador Wilson in Jakarta), UK government and Prince Charles all knew this.

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Taskforce sets sights on illegal logging mafia allegations

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta Mon, 04/19/2010

The Judicial Mafia Taskforce is looking into allegations that case brokers played a role in a number of illegal logging cases as the country strives to protect forests to fulfill a pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Taskforce member Mas Achmad Santosa said they were studying controversial verdicts in illegal logging cases, including the case of fugitive convict Adelin Lis who fled the country after the Supreme Court sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

“We suspect the judicial mafia played a key role in the illegal logging cases,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

He said the taskforce would initially focus on cases occurring after 2000 and probe the involvement of official in these cases.

“Our target is to investigate major illegal logging cases in large forests involving officials,” Achmad said, adding that the taskforce planned to meet the Judicial Commission this week to discuss logging mafia and the Adelin case.

He said the taskforce had studied documents on certain verdicts. He didn’t identify any specific cases.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered the taskforce to investigate illegal logging networks earlier this month.

The President issued an instruction in 2005 tasking 18 departments under the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister’s Office to root out illegal logging.

The ministry set up a working group to monitor and evaluate illegal logging, but it has not publicly named any major suspects.

Former forestry minister M.S Kaban has repeatedly claimed that the number of illegal logging cases dropped during his tenure that began in 2004.

The controversial Adelin case took place in 2006 after North Sumatra Police charged Adelin with illegally felling trees in protected areas in Mandailing Natal regency and Batang Gadis National Park, both in North Sumatra.

The Medan District Court, however, acquitted Adelin of all charges. The Supreme Court annulled the ruling, convicting Adelin of illegal logging and sentencing him to 10 years in prison.

However, Adelin fled the country before an arrest could be made.
Indonesia has the world’s third largest forested area with 120 million hectares of rainforest. However, 1 million hectares are lost annually to forest fires and illegal logging.

Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said his office had a target of reducing illegal logging cases to 12 or less per year. There were 700 reported cases in 2008.

The ministry estimated the financial loss from illegal logging at Rp 30 trillion (US$3.3 billion) per year.

On Friday Zulkifli reported to the President that primary forests in Indonesia now only made up 24 percent of total forest cover from the previous 71 percent.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring said the President expressed concern over forest damage.

Tifatul said the President ordered the taskforce to find out why many illegal logging suspects received lenient sentences or were acquitted.

He said that of 92 suspects, 49 were acquitted, 24 received a one-year prison sentence and the others received sentences of between one and two years.

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/04/19/taskforce-sets-sights-illegal-logging-mafia-allegations.html

Despite billions in U.S. aid, Colombia struggles to reduce poverty

Personal note: Only included because of similarities with Indonesia. Read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" and see the bigger picture behind 'Aid'.

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Despite billions in U.S. aid, Colombia struggles to reduce poverty

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-yn/content/article/2010/04/18/AR2010041803090.html

Friday, 16 April 2010

The shame of zoos and conservation organisations



Time and again people write to me, worried about this or that orangutan being abused in one zoo or another. What you all need to know is, it is a safe bet that any wildlife charity you donate money to will refuse to help these and a great many other orangutans. If you don't believe me, all you need do is to ask them. I'd like to see their reply.

All over the world, but especially so in the USA, Australia and UK you have so-called animal charities who won't lift a finger to stop this kind of abuse - and I could fill this blog with a great many more examples. Charities with hundreds of thousands (in some cases millions) of pounds/dollars income every year, and they won't help orangutans and other animals like them.

I can only speak regarding my own experiences in SE Asia and what people tell me about other regions of the world, the zoo industry in general leaves me feeling it is rotten from top to bottom in illegal/legal trading of wildlife and guilty of often keeping animals in horrific conditions, etc etc.
Conversely (or should I say, perversely), some zoos, particularly in the USA and UK, will spend millions of dollars on building a new enclosure for a few animals, pretending to the public this helps save that species and may one day help to return it to the (what?) wild; but the same zoos would never give even a fraction of this money to help where it is needed in the wild.



I shall be returning to these issues with a lot more photos in the future.

If you take anything away from reading this, please remember this, conservation groups will not help these animals and neither will zoos which have now largely become money-making enterprises.........much like charities

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LOCATION: PATA ZOO, BANGKOK, THAILAND. Wild animals are caged in horrific conditions on the sixth and seventh floors of a departmental store in central. It has to be hell for the animals. They barely see natural daylight. They never feel the sun on their backs, or raindrops on their heads, the only air they breath is the notoriously heavily polluted air of Bangkok.