Moratorium to save natural forest from palm oil invasion – West Papua No.1 News Portal
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Moratorium to save natural forest from palm oil invasion

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Indigenous Papuan in Muting, Merauke conducted customary blockade symbol against palm oil company of PT. BIA – Jubi/John Wob

The Head of Campaign Division of Sawit Watch Maryo Saputra Sanuddin said that they had proposed the government to conduct a moratorium and overall evaluation on palm oil for a long time.

“In our term, it’s called a plantation audit to monitor whether the plantation size is the same as reflected in existing permits or not,” he said.

When companies break the permits, he continued, there is a potential for loss of income to the state.

“We can say there is an indication of corruption which also included as an important note in the moratorium so that the improvement of governance over palm oil plantation is truly beneficial to the community,” he said.

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Up to now, the state has earned revenue of Rp 200 trillion from palm oil plantations which is the highest income in addition to the oil and gas sectors. To increase the state revenue, he suggests the government does not need to expand palm oil plantations but increases its productivity and conduct identification and good governance.

From the start, Sawit Watch has supported President Widodo’s statement in 2016 about the palm oil and mining moratorium. After the moratorium issued, Sawit Watch even keeps continuing to advocate and persuade the government to immediately stipulates this regulation (Inpres – President’s Instruction).

If there is no moratorium on the palm oil industry in Indonesia, forests in Indonesia then will turn into palm oil forests –no more primary forests and natural forests.

“Based on our data, there are approximately 20 million hectares of palm oil plantation throughout Indonesia in which1.8 million hectares located in Papua,” he said.

Palm oil plantations in Papua stretch from Merauke, Boven Digoel, Jayapura Regency, Keerom, Sarmi, Nabire and the mountainous area. “That’s amazed us. Why is there such palm oil plantation in the mountainous area? ”

However, Sanuddin said he doesn’t have an idea why the local government did not discuss the revenue from palm oil plantations with the central government. The local government solely get income from land and building taxes that only a few percents of the national income.

Furthermore, according to him, many Indonesian regions face the same problems in the palm oil sector, that are including the conflicts of land, plasma scheme and income received by landowners, especially on the disagreement the land use for palm oil plantations.

Meanwhile, the Head of Investment and Integrated Business Service (DPMPTSP) of Papua Province Jamal Tawarutubun said before issuing a business permit; a plantation company must fulfil a primary licence and other licenses such as a land-use permit from landowners, environmental impact assessment, and consent from indigenous people.

“If all done, we’ll issue the plantation business permit. It means all technical and administrative process is complete,” said Jamal.

He continued that these measures are taken to avoid such plantation inside of the forest area. For instance, in Boven Digoel, his office revoked a business permit from a company after conducting field monitoring and evaluation.

“We have done through the bottom-up stages,” he said.

According to him, the most important factor related to the permit is indigenous peoples. His office only issues a permit for the company based on indigenous peoples’ consent.

The permit for palm oil plantation applies for 35 years. The government do not intervene the company and landowners if they agree to extend the operating permit. However, he doesn’t know the specific size of palm oil plantations in Papua.

Meanwhile, the Director of Walhi Papua Aesh Rumbekwan said the palm oil moratorium is crucial. Good governance is not a new issue but a problem from the past. Moreover, he said now many major issues are arising as a result of oil palm plantations. When people lose their natural resource, it becomes a dilemma because people then only have the last option to be plasma farmers.

He continued that the community has their local wisdom and the government should look at it and develop it. The company comes offering job opportunities, yet develop many conflicts such as environmental problems, human rights violations, and land issues.

Therefore, he hopes, through the palm oil moratorium, the government would open access to the community to manage timber or non-timber resources for their welfare. (*)

Reporter: David Sobolim
Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Environment

Locals allege cement factory to cause dusty air pollution

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A resident lives near Maruni cement factory shows his soles of feet, merchandises and furniture covered by the black dust. – Jubi/Personal Doc.

Manokwari, Jubi – Residents of Dobut Village and other surrounding villages in Manokwari Selatan sub-district feel anxious concerning black dust scattered by the wind to their villages. They allege Maruni cement factory to cause this dusty air pollution.

The Village Chief of Dobut Septinus Aibu said hundreds of residents complained to have respiratory problems. Besides inhaling polluted air, the black dust now covers the roof of houses, get in the homes and pollutes everything inside.

“We have respiratory problems. It’s hard to breathe. There is thick dark haze during the day though it’s only the dust blown by the wind,” Septinus Aibu told Jubi in Manokwari on Wednesday (27/11/2019).

He further admitted to reporting his incident to the Provincial Environment and Land Office of West Papua. He hopes this relevant office will promptly follow up this report. However, his response has not yet responded, said Aibu.

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“I have met the official from the Provincial Environment Office, but I found no definitive answer,” he said.

In the meantime, a resident Slamet who lives in a location near Maruni cement factory also has a similar complaint. He said kiosks and food stalls along the road where the cement factory built fully covered of black dust. “Stalls and everything inside fills with dust; even it covers the floor of houses. It’s all full of black dust,” said Slamet.

In responding to this issue, Derek Ampnir, the Head of West Papua Provincial Disaster Management Agency (BPBD), confirmed Jubi by a short message on Wednesday that the agency will immediately address the alleged air pollution. “Where is the location? Okay, we’ll take action,” texted Ampnir.

The black dust incident that allegedly comes out from the manufacturing activity of Maruni cement factory has been viral on social media, including some photographs, showed the black dust. However, until the news is published, both representatives of the cement factory and local government official do not give any comments on this issue. (*)

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

 

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Economy

Anticipating toxic spills in Papua New Guinea, DKP monitors fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing

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Map of Papua Island showing the location of sea waters in Basamuk, Madang, Papua New Guinea. – Google Maps

Jayapura, Jubi – The Office of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (DKP) of Jayapura Municipality continues to monitor local fishermen’s catches at Hamadi fish landing following the toxic spills in Madang, Papua New Guinea. Municipal DKP took a few samples of fish to a laboratory for further research whether the incident would impact to the local catchment or fishing ground areas.

The Head of Jayapura Municipal DKP Martheys Sibi said by Monday, his office is still waiting for a clarification from the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries (KKP-RI). “But, based on our observations, so far [the condition of] Hamadi Fish Landing (PPI Hamadi) runs as usual. Fishing activities at the local fishing ground by local fishermen have not yet had a significant impact,” he told Jubi when asked for confirmation via WhatsApp on Monday (18/11/2018).

Sibi further said by Monday the local fishermen continue to bring their catches to sell in PPI Hamadi and such fishes look normal. “However, we will continue to monitor the impact of nickel waste (on fish and catchment areas) while waiting for a follow-up from KKP-RI in Jakarta,” said Sibi.

Moreover, he said the fish monitoring in PPI Hamadi would keep running while awaiting the result from the laboratory. “If there would be a complaint from fishermen (about their catches), such fish would be taken to the laboratory for testing. We have communicated with the Fish Quarantine and Quality Analysis Centre of KKP in Sentani, Papua, to examine a few samples of fish from fishermen,” he said.

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Earlier, the sea waters in Basamuk, Madang, Papua New Guinea has reportedly been contaminated by waste spills from China-owned nickel mining company. A report published by Dr Alex Mojon said pollution from Chinese-owned Nickel Ramu has caused fish to die around Madang sea. (*)

 

Reporter: Sindung Sukoco

Editor: Pipit Maizier

 

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Environment

WWF conduct community forest management training

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A facilitator from the Papua Provincial Forestry Office during a presentation. – Jubi / David Sobolim

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.

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“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

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