Bogor, June 16, 2011: A recent report has revealed a violation of the moratorium on forest conversion in the pilot province, just as the moratorium was signed and announced in Jakarta.
Telapak together with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has documented how the peat forest in the moratorium area of Central Kalimantan was illegally cleared by PT Menteng Jaya Sawit Perdana (PT Menteng) on May 19, 2011.
Central Kalimantan as a pilot province and moratorium are the two things that form the basis of an agreement between Indonesia and Norway through a REDD + project (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) worth US $ 1 billion.
Strangely, Norway continues to benefit from violations of the moratorium through its shares in PT Menteng’s parent company, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLK).
In their latest report entitled “Snatching REDD”, Telapak and EIA have warned that regulatory chaos and the existence of a culture of impunity in the Indonesian plantation sector could threaten the moratorium as well as important efforts to protect forests and reduce carbon emissions.
When PT Menteng violated the moratorium, information from the authorities in Indonesia had shown that there were hundreds of plantations in Central Kalimantan that operated outside the applicable law, and the numbers even exceeded the number of legal plantation businesses.
“Crime and corruption in the Indonesian forestry sector have ignored the moratorium since the first day the regulation was signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,” said EIA forest campaigner, Tomasz Johnson. “Without significant improvements in law enforcement, REDD + is likely to fail in Indonesia.”
EIA research has shown that the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (GPFG) has invested in plantation companies and the timber industry in Indonesia, including in four main groups operating 24 plantation subsidiaries without appropriate permits in the Central Kalimantan pilot province.
EIA estimates that Norway has received money from plantations and the wood industry in Indonesia, including those carried out by illegal practices, five times more than the amount of REDD + grant funds as stated in the Letter of Intent of US $ 1 billion.
“Relying on a moratorium and REDD + grant funds alone will not solve the problem of deforestation in Indonesia, and poor forest governance in this country, we must be careful of countries like Norway that benefit from deforestation in Indonesia,” said the Campaign Director Telapak, Hapsoro.
CALL FOR ACTION in response to the report on the REDD + Grabs Telapak / EIA
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s government must:
- Immediately stop and investigate PT Menteng Jaya Sawit Perdana’s activities;
- Significantly improve law enforcement in the plantation sector;
- Use the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) to audit deforestation without relevant permits;
- Ensure the moratorium map is strengthened, and not weakened when it is revised.
The Norwegian Government must:
- As soon as possible to investigate the KLK plantation group and three other groups operating in Central Kalimantan, where Norway has a significant number of shares;
- Institutionalize formal policies and coordinate investment between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environment to ensure that Pension Fund investments comply with REDD + objectives in Indonesia and around the world;
- Use its financial privileges and positive reputation for climate change to open up honest and open debate at the international level about how to invest and ensure market commodities that are free of crime and deforestation.
- Hapsoro, email@example.com atau 0815-857-19872
- Tomasz Johnson, firstname.lastname@example.org atau 020-7354-7960
- Sehila Kartika, email@example.com atau 0856-88-71996
Note for Editor:
- Telapak is an association of NGO activists, business practitioners, academics, media affiliates, and indigenous peoples. Telapak works together with indigenous peoples, farmers and fishermen in Indonesia to realize sovereignty and a dignified and sustainable life. One of Telapak’s main missions is to lead change towards democracy and sustainability. Information about Telapak can be found on the website www.kaoemtelapak.org
- The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is an environmental organization that investigates and campaigns against environmental crimes, including wildlife trade, illegal logging, toxic waste, and trade in chemicals that damage ozone and the climate. Information about EIA can be found on the website www.eia-international.org