Environment, Carbon and Forests
Conservationists get used to hearing bad news. But here is some outstanding news, as announced globally today in an ALERT press release.
An Indonesian Province the size of Norway has just committed publicly to protect at least 83 percent of its land area as undisturbed natural habitat—a goal that immediately marks it as a world leader in environmental conservation.Promise for Papua
The Province of Papua, which comprises four-tenths of the South Pacific island of New Guinea, announced its commitment at the end of meetings this week in Jayapura, the Provincial capital.
The commitment was made by Assistant Governor Elia Loupatty, accompanied by the heads or representatives of 13 provincial agencies in Papua. ALERT director Bill Laurance briefed the group on conservation research before the announcement.
Assistant Governor Elia Loupatty presents the Papua government's plan outlining its conservation pledge to ALERT director Bill Laurance (photo by Mohammed Alamgir)
“This is a remarkable milestone—one that should echo around the world,” said Judith Dipodiputro, coordinator of Project Papua, an initiative of Indonesian President Joko Widodo that is promoting sustainable development in the region.
The 83 percent figure for conservation—which could reach as high as 90 percent—follows from a government plan that maps future development in the province.
Colorful weevil beetle from Papua (photo (c) Rhett Butler/Mongabay)Challenges and Opportunities
A key challenge for Papua Province is balancing economic and social development with conservation.
The province has some 3.5 million inhabitants, many living in remote villages, who aspire for better living conditions.
A warrior from a highland village in Asmat District, Papua Province (photo (c) Dani Ancil)
And it is building some 4,000 kilometers of major new roads, known as the Trans-Papuan Highway, that will stretch across the province. By opening up many formerly inaccessible areas, the new roads will bring both increased development opportunities and sizable environmental risks.
For example, the Trans-Papuan Highway is cutting through Lorentz National Park, which harbors outstanding natural and cultural values. A World Heritage site spanning 2.35 million hectares, Lorentz is the largest protected area in the entire Asia-Pacific region.
A road project cuts through a rainforest in northern Papua Province (photo by Bill Laurance)
Despite such serious challenges, the 83-percent commitment is a remarkable pledge for conservation in one of the world’s most biologically and culturally rich regions.
Clearly, the Papua government is going to need significant support—both from the international community and the Indonesian federal government—to achieve its ambitious conservation commitment.
But who could doubt the timeliness of such investments? It appears to be one of our very best chances today to protect a vast and vital region for the benefit of nature, Indonesians, and future generations.
Laurance meets with Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry, Dr Siti Nurbaya, and her staff in Jakarta. Nurbaya has strongly supported efforts to protect forests and reduce wildfires in Indonesia (photo by Mohammed Alamgir)
Lead image: Victoria Crowned Pigeon (photo (c) Ruth Choi).
Critical fire weather conditions will be present over the Texas Plains region Thursday and Friday. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center has issued an alert putting western portions of the state in the
IUFRO Spotlight #44 – Evidence linking community forest rights and improved forest condition inconclusive
IUFRO Spotlight #44 - Evidence linking community forest rights and improved forest condition inconclusive
By Marlène Elias, Gender Specialist, Conservation and Management of Forest Genetic Resources, Bioversity International, and Gender Coordinator of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) In 2017, we will build on progress made in Phase I to strengthen capacities for gender analysis, equip scientists and partners with the latest thinking on gender in Natural Resource Management (NRM), […]
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We the undersigned representatives of indigenous peoples, local communities and civil society organisations from Indonesia and around the world have travelled to Pekanbaru to highlight the impact of timber, palm oil and other agricultural commodity supply chains on our communities, lands and forests.
We have information in a letter from Long Isun community; and research and report to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that violation has occurred and is done by PT Kemakmuran Berkah Timber (PT KBT), a subsidiary Roda Mas Group. The investigation found that PT KBT is actively logging primary forest in the area called the 'Heart of Borneo'. And this against the will of indigenous peoples in Long Isun village.
We urge the Government of Indonesia, of the Province of East Kalimantan and the District of Mahakam Hulu, as well as KomNas HAM and the Forest Stewardship Council to take urgent action to redress violations committed by PT Kemakmuran Berkah Timber (PT KBT), Roda Mas Group, which is actively logging primary forests in the Heart of Borneo against the will of the indigenous people.
Giving first-hand testimonies at Forest Peoples Programme partners’ meeting between 7 and 8 February, we have heard evidence and messages:
- Expressing grave concern regarding the serious negative impacts of PT KBT operations on human rights of the indigenous peoples of Long Isun, Long Pahangai sub-district, Mahakam Hulu district, East Kalimantan. These operations have led to violations of: the community’s rights to their lands and territory; rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC); rights to traditional livelihoods and; to food.
- Expressing alarm at the continued activities of PT KBT on the customary land of the community of Long Isun without their consent. PT KBT has never reached an agreement with the self-chosen community representatives through due FPIC processes and continues to operate despite repeated rejections by the community of the company’s presence and activities.
We communicate our deep concern at the criminalization of community member Theodorus Tekwan Yeq, falsely accused of trespassing on his community’s customary lands, and the continued intimidation of community leaders who attempt to defend their customary land.
- Noting with concern the delayed response by the above in addressing these grave human rights violations and request that these be corrected immediately.
- Welcoming the Government of Indonesia’s renewed commitment to agrarian reform, indigenous peoples’ rights, social forestry, conflict resolution and a moratorium on coal and palm oil concessions. We trust this will lead to greater efforts to now implement these policies on the ground and guarantee the protection of human rights, land rights and traditional livelihoods.
We call on the Government of Indonesia, the private sector, certification bodies, investors, financial institutions and the wider public to heed our concerns and take urgent action to resolve this case.
We hereby make the following specific calls to action:
- The SK Bupati Kutai Barat Decree No.136.143/K.917/2011 dated 4 November 2011 be revoked.
- The indigenous peoples of Long Isun have their customary boundaries restored in accordance to the 1966 map agreed between the indigenous communities of the Upper Mahakam.
- The customary land of the village of Long Isun be removed from all company concessions.
- The indigenous peoples of Long Isun manage their own lands and forests.
- This case puts the Forest Stewardship Council’s credibility into question, we therefore call on the Forest Stewardship Council to resolve this case with urgency.
We ask the State to solve transmigration land cases, without jeopardizing transmigrants’ rights or affected indigenous groups. Furthermore, involving transmigrants organization, indigenous peoples and/or local communities representatives will be vital in transmigrants’ settlement planning.
AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara), Jakarta
AsM Law Office, Batam
Yayasan Betang Borneo (YBB), Palangkaraya
Hutan Kita Institute (HAKI), Palembang
Hutan Rakyat Institute (HaRi), Medan
JMGR (Jaringan Masyarakat Gambut Riau), Pekanbaru
KSPPM (Kelompok Studi dan Pengembangan Prakarsa Masyarakat), Parapat
KPA (Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria), Jakarta
Link-AR Borneo, Pontianak
Nagari Kapa Community, Pasaman Barat
Yayasan Petak Danum (YPD), Palangkaraya
Perkumpulan Nurani Perempuan (PNP), Samarinda
Yayasan PUSAKA, Jakarta
Sawit Watch, Bogor
SKP – Keuskupan Agung Merauke (Archdiocese of Merauke), Merauke
Sorong Customary Community (Masyarakat Adat Sorong), Sorong
WALHI (Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia) Jambi, Jambi
WALHI (Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia) Kalimantan Barat, Pontianak
Yerisiam Community (Masyarakat Yerisiam), Nabire
Forest Peoples Programme, UK
Rainforest Action Network, USA
In 2017, Tropenbos International (TBI) will start working as a managing partner of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). TBI was invited to become a partner as a boundary organization with the special responsibility to link the high-level research from FTA research with policy making at the national level and practice at the landscape level. Who […]
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