Environmental issues have not become an important part of policymakers. There is no strong commitment in that direction. In addition, understanding of environmental issues is still minimal so they are not an important consideration in formulating policies. In fact, Indonesia is already in an environmental crisis. Until this issue can no longer be just a perspective but must become a priority and a core part of policy in this country. The Indonesian Green Party (PHI) was initiated by the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi). The party which will be filled with activists and figures concerned with the environment will be declared in June 2012.
Walhi Executive Director, Abetnego Tarigan, said that consolidation was being carried out by activists. “If it goes according to plan, it will be declared the formation of PHI in June or July,” he said in Jakarta, Friday (11/5).
Currently, said Abed, in development policies, environmental issues seem to always be in conflict with development. This view is of course unfair, where the economic aspect is more dominant so that it is always face-to-face with environmental issues. “That is a wrong way of thinking when placing development as centered on only one sector or field of the economy,” said the former Director of Sawit Watch.
Walhi activists have also formed a mass organization, the Indonesian Green Union. However, if you only put an approach based on the format of the non-governmental organization (NGO) movement and mass organizations, it is not enough. Then came the bigger idea and expanded reach through PHI. “However, there is one thing I need to convey here, there is no Walhi official who is in the Green Party. The management is active, there is none,” said Abet.
Abet also emphasized that those who sit in the PHI are structurally not related to Walhi. “It has nothing to do with structure. There is no program either. But in terms of thoughts and views, of course, many things are the same.” This is because those who are mobilized or who move into the political space are former Walhi activists or environmental activists more broadly.
When talking about parties, said Abet, it would cover broader issues. Those who are concerned about the environmental movement will join in. “Those who are concerned with conservation, those who are concerned with environmental education will join.”
Walhi itself, as an NGO, has its own character. He is a pressure group that always keeps a distance and builds relationships with the right parties. “Until we don’t have to eliminate Walhi’s mandate as a pressure group.”
Berau Makmur HAPK
The Regent of Berau Makmur HAPK attended and officially opened the socialization event for the Berau – East Kutai karst area which took place on 9-10 May 2012 in Berau District. This outreach activity was a follow-up to a workshop held in early March 2012 by the Provincial Government of East Kalimantan together with the Ministry of Forestry’s Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) in the framework of preparing an action plan for the management of the Berau – East Kutai karst area. The socialization of karst will be attended by various stakeholders from the regional work unit (SKPD) of Berau Regency, private companies, non-governmental organizations, and various community leaders in Berau Regency.
Karst is a form of the earth’s surface that is generally characterized by closed pressure, surface drainage, and caves. This area is formed mainly by the discharge of rocks, especially limestone. Karst ecosystems are unique, both physically and in terms of biodiversity. In the karst area, there are many underground caves and rivers which supply the availability of groundwater / fresh water which is very useful for life, both for daily needs and for agriculture and plantations.
The main resource person for this socialization event was Dr. Pindi Setiawan, a researcher from the Center for the Study of Fine Arts, Bandung Institute of Technology, who will present material on the important values of the Sangkulirang – Mangkalihat karst area. From this socialization event, participants are expected to get accurate and up-to-date information regarding the potential of the area from scientific, economic, and socio-cultural aspects.
Dr. Pindi Setiawan from the Bandung Institute of Technology’s Center for Fine, Arts Studies added that there are three benefits of the Sangkulirang – Mangkalihat Karst, namely scientific, socio-cultural, and economic benefits/values. more Dr. Pindi said that scientific value relates to geology, lithology, geological and mineral structures, fossil sites, archeology, and planetology as well as shelters for endemic flora and fauna. Socio-cultural values include spiritual aspects of religion, especially regarding the existence of caves as sacred places for ritual purposes, aesthetic value, recreation, and education. As for the economic value, this karst area is a source of underground river water.
With an area of 1,867,676 hectares based on the Watershed approach of Berau and East Kutai Regencies, the area is upstream of 5 main rivers in Berau and East Kutai and is one of the main sources of water for the community in nearly 100 villages with a population of about 105,000 inhabitants. In addition, the Sangkulirang-Mangkalihat karst area is also the main producer and largest contributor of natural swiftlet nests in East Kalimantan. With proper management, this area can provide benefits to Berau and East Kutai Regencies with very high economic value every year.
Lesan Forest Will Become a Protected Area in Berau District
Forests in the Lesan River area covering 11 thousand hectares in the Berau Regency area are planned to change their status to a protected area and become a special area for orangutan protection, as stated by Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan. “In the near future, we will declare this area a protected area. We will issue regulations regarding this matter, because this matter has been proposed by the East Kalimantan provincial government, and is already in the General Spatial Plan for the Province,” said the Minister of Forestry.
Meanwhile, the Regent of Berau, Makmur HAPK stated that since 2007 his party has issued a regulation declaring the Lesan River area a protected area. “This is our commitment to always protect our humans. This area is inhabited by hundreds of orangutans and is now being looked after by the local community,” said Makmur.
The existence of orangutans in this area is still being studied by the East Kalimantan BKSDA, including the Kalimantan elephant, because both are considered pests in plantation activities, industrial plantation forests, and mining concessions. If these species are found in the Lesan Forest area, their status can be changed to a conservation area.
PT Kalista Alam’s permit will be revoked
MINISTER of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan, Wednesday (23/5/12), confirmed the revocation of the oil palm plantation business permit, PT Kalista Alam, covering an area of 1,605 hectares (ha) in the Tripa Swamp peatland, Leuser Ecosystem Area (KEL), Aceh. Regional heads are also asked to be careful before issuing land conversion permits.
“I have met the elected Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, and (deputy) Muzakir Manaf. The license will be revoked after being inaugurated,” he said as quoted by Kompas. The couple will be sworn in on June 4, 2012.
In Aceh, the elected Governor of Aceh, Zaini Abdullah, said he was ready to stop granting permits to clear plantation land to companies proven to have violated laws and threatened forest sustainability. This also applies to PT Kalista Alam in Rawa Tripa, Nagan Raya.
According to Zaini, the President’s instructions are clear that Tripa Swamp is included in KEL, a protected forest area. “The President’s instruction states that it must be stopped. In the future, we will pay attention, we will stop permits that do not comply with the Presidential Instruction.”
The REDD+ Task Force team went to the field and saw several violations.
Zulkifli said that the 1,605 ha of land in Tripa Swamp has the status of another use area. This means that the authority to use lies with the local government, not the Ministry of Forestry.
He asked regional heads to be careful about issuing permits in protected areas. “I used to, in 2009, just sign (permit-permit-ed) because I didn’t understand. Now, first, open the map, enter the moratorium area or not.”