Jayapura, Jubi – The forest fires that have occurred in Papua and other Indonesian regions are not a regional-level disaster because it happened due to the human negligence, the Executive Director of Yayasan Pusaka, Y.L. Franky, said.
“What’s called as regional disaster is a situation caused by nature, but in this case it was deliberately burned,” he said.
“There is an intentional factor and human’s negligence. Thus, it is not appropriate to call it as regional disaster,” he said on Wednesday (21/10/2015).
Based on the satellite data by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) on 5 September 2015, there are 200 fire spots in Merauke Regency and surrounding areas, particularly in Naukenjerai, Semangga, Kurik, Ilwayab, Tamboji sub-districts in Merauke Regency.
“Gazing at the fire spots, those fires might be involved both old and new companies as the culprits. The companies’ negligence; that is our question. Today the fire spots are founded either in the oil palm plantations or the forest concessions. According to the regulation opening the forest by burning is prohibited,” he said. But the worst haze disaster was happened in the second week of October 2015, which led to flight delays in Timika and Ambon.
Franky asked the corporates and the State to be responsible.
“People are aggrieved as well as the environment, while the corporates got profit. The cost of land opening is lower but damaging and endangering the human’s life. A disaster leads to a pleasure and benefit for the corporates only,” he said.
According to him, the burning as an alternative to sterilize the soil in oil palm plantation and forest concession is a modus that had happened long time ago in other regions, such as Sumatera and Kalimantan, although it has been prohibited. Therefore, it’s a duty of the Central Government to resolve the fires that were occurred recently.
“The Government should take appropriate measures to prevent the fires and ask the corporates to be responsible,” he added.
He asks the Government to not declare the case of fires as regional disaster but penalize the relevant corporates according to the Law.
“This current case of fires is a crime against humanity. In other region, it has taken the casualties. And it has happened many times, again and again,” he said.
Meanwhile, the member of Commission I of the Papua Representative Council, Laurenzus Kadepa, said the land fire is not appropriated to be called as disaster; there might be an intentional factor.
“In my opinion, the government should call it as national disaster, or it was happened because of dry season. It’s not appropriate. It demonstrates the government’s inability to resolve the problem. The government should find who’s the architect and what’s his motive. It could be done on purpose because the land fires are almost occurred in some Papuan areas,” Kadepa told Jubi by phone on Wednesday afternoon (21/10/21015).
Further he said, these incidents might have connection with the political interest, given the regional heads election would be held simultaneously in eleven regencies in Papua on 9 December 2015. “There’s a possibility about the political interest involved the investors and candidates related to the oil palm project. My advice is leave that interest, safe the Papuan forest for our children,” he said.
Antara News Agency earlier reported the Cenderawasih XVII Military Regional Commander Major General Hinsa Siburian said until now there’s no report said that the major cause of forest fire in the southern Papua was because of land clearing for plantation. “The cause of fire is more related to the natural and human factors that worsen the condition because people prefer to open the farming land by burning,” said Siburian in Merauke on Tuesday (20/10/2015). (Angela/Arjuna/rom)
WWF conduct community forest management training
Jayapura, Jubi – The World Wide Fund for Nature or WWF-Indonesia conducted training for indigenous people to manage their customary forests.
The training was a response to illegal logging occurred in Papua as well as illegal timber companies who take benefits on timber sales in Papua by purchasing wood at a low price then selling in in the market with the higher price.
To address this issue, WWF-Indonesia held a specific training on wood harvesting planning technique using the Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) method on Tuesday, 13 August 2019, in Jayapura. Participated in the training were indigenous people holding a Business License for the Utilization of Indigenous Forest Timber Products (IUPHHKA-MA) whom members of Koperasi Serba Usaha (KSU-a cooperative).
Piter Roki Aloisius, the Northern Papua Landscape Manager of WWF-Indonesia, told Jubi that WWF involved seven groups of the provincial legal timber business permits holders who are accompanied by WWF in this training.
“There are 13 groups, but not all working due to the implementation of Governor Regulation No. 13 on the Business Permit for the Utilization of Customary Community Timber Forest Product. Also, there is no synchronization between the provincial government and the central government related to the Forestry Law Number 41 of 2019 with Perdasus (special regional law) Number 21 of 2010 in Papua Province, “he said.
The seven KSUs and an ecotourism business group of WWF’s fostering groups are located in various regencies. They are KSU Mo Make Unaf from Merauke, KSU Jibogol from Jayapura, KSU Nafa from Nabire, KSU Kumea Ampas from Keerom, KSU Sapusaniye from Sarmi, and KSU Kornu and KSU Year Asai from Yapen Island Kepulauan Yapen, with the total of concession area of 33,691 hectares, whereas the ecotourism group Rhepang Muaif is located in Nimbonkrang Sub-district of Jayapura Regency.
So far, no coordination was made regarding the issuance of NSPK. However, while waiting for the issuance of NSPK, Aloysius said that WWF is responsible for fostering the established group by providing technical assistance.
“So, these groups will understand why they cannot carry out activities until now. However, by the time they got their NSPK, they will ready to manage their forests independently in sustainably and responsibly manners. Also, after this training they will understand how to manage the timber and forest products properly by reducing the impacts of its utilization,” he said.
He also explained that so far indigenous Papuans were not visibly utilizing their forest products. However, he believes that through a series of training and mentoring, indigenous people can take an initiative to carry out customary forest management.
“In Papua, if indigenous people process can process their timber by themselves, their daily income will higher,” he said.
According to him, the local community sell woods from the customary forest at the price ranging of Rp 300 thousand per tree, but a businessman sells the wood to the city market at a higher price. So, the local community loses twice because of this businessman.
“Community empowerment to improve the welfare of indigenous peoples is not only the responsibility of NGOs but also the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, Andreas Simoberef from KSU Tetom Jaya in Sarmi Regency said after being accompanied by WWF, he had opened a furniture industry. The income from this industrial business is higher than selling wood at a low price and the forest is being damaged, while it needs decades to growing trees.
He just opened this business for a year and found enthusiastic demand. Therefore, he is unable to serve all orders in a month. “This is a sign that indigenous peoples should not sell the wood. If indigenous peoples carry the timber management by themselves, they earn more income,” he said. (*)
Reporter: David Sobolim
Editor: Maizier Pipit
Who actually benefits from the Trans Papua Highway?
Papua, Jubi – Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI) researcher Cahyo Pamungkas says that the Trans Papua Highway has yet to bring any benefits to the Papuan people.
“The benefits for indigenous people can’t be seen yet. So people ask who exactly is the road for? Because the there is still illegal logging in the central highlands, the highlands are being destroyed, it’s easier for outsiders to exploit natural resources”, said Pamungkas at a press conference on the conflict in Nduga regency at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices in Jakarta on Thursday July 18.
Pamungkas explained that instead of benefiting ordinary Papuans, the Trans Papua Highway threatens their economic wellbeing.
“Pig livestock from Toraja comes into Wamena. So the Wamena’s people’s pigs don’t sell. This threatens their economy. It is increasingly easy for outsiders to come to Wamena, so Wamena people see the road as a threat to their future”, explained Pamungkas.
Pamungkas said that the Trans Papua Highway project only connects regencies or cities and the benefits of this are not felt by the Papuan people. Meanwhile roads between villages and districts which are in fact what is actually needed are not being built.
“Yet roads like this (between villages and districts) are very important, for example simply to sell vegetables produced by farmers in markets”, said Pamungkas.
According to Pamungkas, the Trans Papua Highway actually facilitates the exploitation of natural resources which can be seen from large number of trees being felled and gold mining.
“Moreover when LIPI researched development on this road, we found many logging camps for logging in the direction of the Papua Lorentz National Park, which should a protected area”, explained Pamungkas.
Pamungkas is of the view that the government should immediately hold a dialogue with Papuan social leaders with the assistance of appropriate mediators.
“Because the most important thing at the moment is liberating the Papuan people from the memory of suffering which has built up over time. Particularly the acts of violence by security forces which has resulted in trauma for the residents of Nduga regency, Papua province”, he explained.
Local people’s rights
Expressing a similar view to Pamungkas, Amnesty International Indonesia researcher Aviva Nababan believes that the Trans Papua Highway does not provide any clear benefits. He also questions the government’s planning process for the road.
“Looking at it again from the process. Did the government design its function by thinking about the rights of the people the road impacts on? Did they really follow the principles of involving local communities? If not, this needs to be fixed. We think it shouldn’t be seen from the perspective of western Indonesia. There’s a road, lovely. There’s a road, great”, said Nababan at Jakarta LBH on Friday July 19.
Nababan warned that Indonesia has a commitment to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) meaning that it must involve local communities in all development planning.
He also asked the government to respect the rights of indigenous Papuans. Because according to Amensty’s research, there have been alleged human rights (HAM) violations which have made Nduga residence traumatised and afraid of the security forces.
“When there are problems of HAM violations related to law enforcement in Papua, the tendency is that the cases are rarely investigated. Let alone followed up, or satisfactory accountability”, he explained. (*)
Do you know how vital Papua is for the environment?
By Benjamin Ware
DO you know how vital Papua is for the environment? This province in Eastern Indonesia is home to the last big area of intact forest in the country, and one of the world’s most biodiverse. It is also the poorest part of Indonesia – nearly 30% of people here live in poverty.
Growing palm oil can be a way out of this poverty trap, but it also brings with it the risk of deforestation. In 2018 Greenpeace exposed large-scale deforestation in Papua linked to palm oil business Gama, which was then suspended from our supply chain.
That same year, Nestlé suspended 10 companies for violating our Responsible Sourcing Standard. Three for illegal deforestation in Papua, and one for the same offense in neighboring West Papua. This shows the seriousness of deforestation as a local issue.
What happens after we suspend a company from our supply chain?
Some companies continue with ‘business as usual’, while others sell off their remaining forested lands. Others, like Gama, act to halt deforestation and commit to ‘No Deforestation, No Peat and No Exploitation’ (NDPE) – the basis of responsible palm oil production and a requirement of our Responsible Sourcing Standard.
At Nestlé, we want to support companies like Gama to produce sustainable palm oil. Indeed, efforts are ongoing to develop standard re-entry criteria that suppliers found guilty of illegal deforestation must meet, before buying companies let them back into their supply chains.
Verifying supplier claims
We wanted to see Gama’s commitment to responsible production first hand, which is why Nestlé visited Papua in early 2019 with the NGO Aidenvironment Asia and one of our suppliers.
On the ground, we saw how Gama is implementing its new NDPE commitment, which involves working with Aidenvironment Asia on a remediation strategy for their lands in Papua and other parts of Indonesia.
Their work involves replanting ‘riparian zones’ (transitional zones between land and water) and deforested areas unplanted with palm oil, developing conservation plans for forested lands in Gama’s ‘land bank’, and generating compensation plans for lands cleared and planted.
Using concession maps from the supplier, Nestlé was able to monitor Gama’s sites via Starling. Since September 2018, this satellite-based system allows us to monitor our entire global palm oil supply chain for evidence of deforestation.
Satisfied with what we saw, we allowed Gama back into our supply chain on the condition that it does not clear any more forest or peatland (Aidenvironment will monitor this, and Nestlé also using Starling). Gama must also implement recovery and compensation plans that take account of local community needs.
Safeguarding people and planet
To some people, our move to allow Gama back into our supply chain before it completes its remediation plans might seem hasty. But we took this decision with one of our key Responsible Sourcing objectives in mind – what is best for people and planet.
In Papua, proper planning to support conservation and sustainable economic development is vital. Local communities want Gama to develop their lands. If Gama does not do so, it runs the risk of losing the lands, which another, less scrupulous company could then clear.
At the same time, conservation is vital. Locals we met also want to conserve their local forest, which is central to their culture. Indonesia’s government thinks similarly – it wants to develop the region whilst conserving 90% of its forest cover under the Papua Province Vision.
The situation is complex, and the need to balance conservation and development objectives is not unique to Indonesia. In South America, West Africa and beyond, we face similar challenges.
Nonetheless, if you take one message from this blog – this is it. We can only preserve forests by supporting those companies that embrace forest conservation as part of a sustainable economic development plan.
By excluding those companies that are found guilty of deforestation, but work hard thereafter to do the right thing, we risk endangering the magnificent forests that remain. (*)
The author is Global Head of Responsible Sourcing
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