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Banda Aceh - A Workshop on the Roadmap of Advocacy on Aceh's Spatial Plan organised by the Coalition on the Protection of Aceh Forest (KPHA) was closed last Friday,22/11/2013.

Aceh – A Workshop on the Roadmap of Advocacy on Aceh’s Spatial Plan
organised by the Coalition on the Protection of Aceh Forest (KPHA) was
closed last Friday,22/11/2013.

The two-day event (20 to 21 Nov) was attended by representatives of Mukim Association, NGOs, UKP4, donor institutions and academicians. The workshop event was intended to criticize and to advocate the Draft Provincial Law (Qanun) on Aceh’s Spatial Plan, which will be approved by the Parliament of Aceh by the end of this year. The workshop has resulted following recommendations:

1. That spatial plan of Aceh does not yet balance the ecological, economical and social interests, therefore the needs for inclusion of articles in the draft law in terms of adjusting economic activities within ecological areas for not to disturb the areas protection functions; to evaluate companies abandoning their existing concessions; to add point e at the end of Paragraph 2 of the Article 47 with “Leuser Ecosystem as National Strategic Area” (in conjunction
with other Articles related to Leuser Ecosystem); to include Ulu Masen into Aceh Provincial Strategic Area (preparation for carbon stock); to include spatial plan of the area of mukim; to include wildlife corridor; to establish a special team to evaluate the development of economic zones that consider the environmental aspects;

2. Considering Water Catchment Areas, some steps are to be taken: to give directions in the management of water catchment areas based on the principles of local knowledge; reforestation;

3. Recommendations in the aspects of natural disaster, consisting of: data crosscheck with institutions holding disaster data such as soil sensitivity maps, wild life conflict and wildlife corridors; comprehensive review of the aspects of natural disaster of Aceh’s spatial plan;

4. Concerning disharmony at national, provincial and district levels, following ssteps are recommended: academic studies on the harmonisation of the existing regulations at both central and provincial levels focusing in those related to Aceh’s spatial plan, including considerate studies and profound studies.

Recommendations resulted from this workshop will be submitted to the provincial government and the Parliament of Aceh that are now “cooking” the spatial plan.

Meanwhile, Frans Siahaan from Asia Foundation addressed in his closing speech that until now this institution has no special program for Aceh. “We have yet no program for Aceh. But all that achieved together today can hopefully accepted as our starting commitment”.

As for the speaker of KPHA, Efendi Isma, hoped that the recommendations resulted by the workshop participants can be useful for Aceh. “I will keep everyone updated. Thank you for the participation in these two days, hopefully this can become useful for Aceh,” concluded Efendi Isma. (Arunda) RTRWA

Indonesia: Forestry Failures Jeopardize ‘Green Growth’

Region’s Smog Shows Need for Better Oversight; More Than US$7 Billion Lost
July 16, 2013  Human Rights Watch
(Jakarta) – Government corruption and mismanagement plague Indonesia’s forestry sector, with serious consequences for human rights and the environment, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The smog roiling Indonesia and its neighbors is partly a result of Indonesia’s ‘green growth’ strategy, which involves clearing forests for the rapid expansion of oil palm and pulp plantations.

The 61-page report, “The Dark Side of Green Growth: Human Rights Impacts of Weak Governance in Indonesia’s Forestry Sector,” finds that illegal logging and forest-sector mismanagement resulted in losses to the Indonesian government of more than US$7 billion between 2007 and 2011. Indonesia recently introduced reforms to address some of these concerns and has been touting its forestry policies as a model of sustainable ‘green growth.’ But much logging in Indonesia remains off-the-books, fees are set artificially low, and existing laws and regulations are often flaunted. A “zero burning” policy and a moratorium on forest clearing are manifestly inadequate.

“The return of the smog is only the most tangible evidence of the damage from Indonesia’s continuing failure to effectively manage its forests,” said Joe Saunders, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch. “Weak law enforcement, mismanagement, and corruption are to blame not only for the smog but also for the loss of billions of dollars a year in desperately needed public funds.”

The persistent failures have global implications. The smog causing so much suffering for Indonesia’s neighbors is produced by clearing forests for agriculture, a practice so widespread that it makes Indonesia’s carbon emissions among the largest in the world. The Obama administration announced on June 26, 2013, that it would invest more in sustainable forestry overseas as a way to combat climate change. However, without improvements in governance in Indonesia, greater investments by the international community may not bring significant change in the status quo.

The Indonesian government recently introduced reforms in part aimed at addressing forest mismanagement and corruption, including a timber legality certification system and a freedom of information law, but such efforts have fallen far short of their aims. The new report, an update to the 2009 Human Rights Watch report “Wild Money,” analyzes industry and government data, concluding that the pace of revenue loss has actually increased in recent years. In 2011 alone, the losses totaled more than $2 billion – more than the country’s entire health budget for that year, undermining the government’s ability to provide basic services to its population, Human Rights Watch said.

It is not only during the dry season that Indonesians suffer the negative consequences of forest mismanagement. The significant loss of revenues contributes to the government’s disappointing progress on a number of human rights concerns, notably those related to rural health care.

Indonesia’s forest communities, among the country’s poorest groups, have been harmed the most under the current system. Many of these communities have constitutionally recognized rights to use the land and forests or be adequately compensated for their loss. But the new legality certification system does not address whether timber is harvested in violation of community rights to forest lands.

Increasing demand for land to expand plantations appears to be leading to more violent land conflicts, Human Rights Watch said. The problem is especially acute on the island of Sumatra, where the majority of pulp and oil palm plantations – and most of this year’s fire hotspots – are located, often on land claimed by local communities. The government’s failure to comply with its own regulations for issuing concessions on forest land claimed by communities and its failure to hold companies accountable for violating legally required compensation agreements have led to an escalation in disputes. For example, in 2011, the escalation of long standing land disputes associated with an oil palm plantation in the Mesuji sub-district of South Sumatra led to violent clashes between local villagers and company security, leaving two local farmers and seven company staff dead.

In May the Constitutional Court ruled that the government’s practice of allocating concessions on customary land is unconstitutional, offering some hope to those communities. However, in the current climate of opaque, unaccountable forest governance, without adequate participation and oversight, identifying and registering rights to these lucrative forestlands could easily result in more, rather than fewer conflicts, Human Rights Watch said.


REDD+ Indonesia – Tripa a Catalyst for Change

Indonesia plans to use Rawa Tripa in its westernmost province of Aceh, where the country had a recent victory in peatlands protection, as learning grounds to improve forest governance and legal enforcement through license review.

This video gives description about the collaborative coordination between NGO’s, Local and Central Government efforts to reduce deforestation and forest which took swift actions.

Testing the Law: Video by EIA

Testing the Law: Report

A report highlighting the criminal activities of an oil palm plantation company operating in Kalimantan, Indonesia, and the failures of various levels of government to properly investigate and prosecute.

What happens to orangutans when the forest is taken away from them?

An article written by Dr. Ian Singleton, director of SOCP (Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program) about the fate of Orangutan when their home range being taken away by companies

Truth and Consequences: An expose by Rainforest Action Network

TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES : Palm Oil Plantations Push Unique  Orangutan Population to Brink of Extinction

an expose by Rainforest Action Network

The dire situation in Tripa contradicts many commitments made by the Indonesian government and international agribusiness to break the link between deforestation and palm oil production. 

Download the full report here: Tripa Truth and Consequences. Report by RAN

Demand for survival

Tripa Peat Swamps and their Orangutans being cremated to annihilation:  Government of Indonesia must uphold law or face international shame

We, Walhi Indonesia, Greenpeace Indonesia, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari, Sawit Watch Indonesia, the Coalition Team for Saving the Tripa Peat Swamps, are here today to demand the following:

  1. The immediate enforcement of laws protecting the Leuser Ecosystem, including the Tripa Peat Swamps, namely: The Spatial Planning Law (UU 26/2007) and subsequent Government Regulation (PP 26/2008) which establishes the Leuser Ecosystem as a National Strategic Area with an environmental protection function; and the Law of the Governance of Aceh (UU11/2006) which obligates the Government and the Government of Aceh to protect the Leuser Ecosystem.
  2. That the National Police immediately investigate the allegations made by local community members on the 23rd of November 2011 of the breaking of both the National Spatial Planning Law, and the Law on the Governance of Aceh, by the Governor of Aceh when he issued a new concession to PT Kallista Alam for an area within the Leuser Ecosystem, and that they also investigate the Aceh police force for its failure to investigate the case adequately, and their suspected collusion with the Governor and PT Kallista Alam.
  3. The immediate formation of a national-level credible investigation into the use of fire for land clearing by oil palm concessions in Tripa, the clearance and conversion of deep peat, the clearance of high conservation value forest,  and the complete lack of any provision for the protection of wildlife species in Tripa that are themselves legally-protected under Indonesian Law.
  4. An immediate investigation by UKP4 into the practices involved in the November 2011, revision of the Indicative Map of Primary Forests and Peatlands, in particular the case of the mysterious withdrawal of the area covered by the new PT Kallista Alam concession issued by the Governor of Aceh on 25th August 2011, from the earlier version of the map despite its being issued after the moratorium was declared.
  5. That the Government IMMEDIATELY order oil palm companies with concessions within the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem to completely cease ALL land clearing and burning activities pending the outcomes of the above enquiries.
  6. That the Government of Norway immediately suspend the bilateral Letter of Intent of May 27th 2010, and any payments of the US$1 billion promised in the LOI, until the Government of Indonesia has thoroughly investigated the alleged contraventions of Indonesian law by National, Provincial and District Government officials, the Aceh Police force, and Oil Palm Concession holders in the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem, and demonstrated its total commitment to the supremacy of the law and its international obligations.
  7. That the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) immediately suspend Aceh from its membership, until the Aceh Government has demonstrated its commitment to upholding the Laws of Aceh and Indonesia, and the goals and agenda of the GCF.
  8. That the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) who in 2006 endorsed the resolution “Palm Oil Cultivation according to RSPO Criteria and Principles on FallowLand in the Context of Relocating Palm-Oil Concessions Threatening HCVF”, and in 2008 the resolution “The primary rainforests of Tripa, peat swamp forests of exceptional high conservationvalue, are presently being destroyed for palm oil plantations”, thereby agreeing to engage with the palm oil companies destroying Tripa to achieve a solution, to immediately contact the head of the Indonesian palm oil association (GAPKI) and urge him to bring sanctions against oil palm concessionaires within the Tripa Peat Swamps of the Leuser Ecosystem that are breaking mandatory ISPO standards.
  9. We also request all supporters of good environmental governance and biodiversity conservation, in Indonesia and around the world, to sign an electronic petition to save the Tripa Peat Swamps at  and/or contacting their local legislature, or nearest Indonesian legislation to express their disgust at the blatant environmental and social crimes that are being perpetrated by oil palm concessions in the Tripa peat swamps within the Leuser Ecosystem National Strategic Area. (More information is also available at the “Save the Tripa Peat Swamps”: please click “like”).