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Growing Concern Over Indonesian President’s Investment Remarks

Project: Building Climate Resiliency in Indonesia

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Palm oil deforestation in Indonesia

As the 2019 Indonesia Accelerator in Bali moves into its third day of local women environmental leaders collaborating to find solutions to the ecological crises facing their communities, Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo pursues an aggressive, exploitative resource policy approach which threatens indigenous communities, environmental activists, and Indonesia’s famed tropical rainforests. 

In a July 14th speech, Widodo outlined his goals towards investment in Indonesia:

“This is how we create as many jobs as possible. Therefore, anything that obstructs investment must be trimmed….Be careful, going forward I guarantee that I will chase, I will control, I will check and I will beat [them] up if necessary! There should no longer be any obstructions to investment because this is the key to creating more jobs.”

Playing to a false narrative that economic development requires lenient or absent policies and regulations that protect some of our most precious resources, Widodo’s attempts to prioritize investment in Indonesia at the expense of the environment contribute to resource exploitation that has a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. Already, Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil, the most commonly produced vegetable oil, but huge tracts of rainforest and indigenous land are razed daily for the palm oil industry, releasing massive quantities of carbon. In 2015, Indonesia passed the US in greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia also is the second largest plastic polluter in the world with a total of 3.2 million metric tons of plastic waste. Despite these devastating numbers, Widodo has urged high-level officials to turn a blind eye to regulations for the sake of increased GDP, which he promised to raise by 7% during his campaign.

As this article via Mongabay shares, The language used [in Widodo’s speech] has raised concerns among environmental and indigenous rights activists, who say there are plenty of justifiable reasons to oppose or at least slow down development projects that involve the clearing of forests and customary lands.”

A recent government-sanctioned report shows that if Indonesia continues to exploit its natural resources by cutting down trees and digging up coal to power its cities and villages, its environment will reach a tipping point beyond which the economy will suffer, with an attendant increase in poverty and mortality rates and a decline in human development.

Furthermore, this policy shift effectively reverses Widodo’s social forestry program, which sought to resolve land disputes Indonesia through distribution of titles. This program, initially well-received by the indigenous communities, resulted in bureaucratic roadblocks which obstructed indigenous Indonesian’s access to reclaiming their land rights. 

WEA recognizes the dangers of unrestricted access to commercial land rights in Indonesia, as the palm oil and mining industries have already ravaged the nation with deforestation, among other environmental crises. These are some of the reasons we launched the 2019 Women’s Earth Alliance Accelerator in partnership with Indonesia organizations For Good, Mother Jungle and Ranu Welum; women in Indonesia experience the brunt of these climate disruptions, and therefore step forward as key leaders in designing solutions to these critical issues. We hope that in connecting these grassroots women environmental activists and equipping them with the tools to protect their communities and the environment, an “unclobberable” force will be created. 

Read the entire article from Mongabay here.

Sumarni Laman

Topics:

WEA Women in Action

Sumarni Laman

Dayak Ngaju

Sumarni

Region

Central Kalimantan, Palangka Raya, Indonesia

Affiliations & Roles

Communications and Public Relations Manager at Ranu Welum

Youth Coordinator for Ranu Welum - Youth Act Network

Field Coordinator of The Heartland Project

Guardian of Kalimantan Rainforest

Sumarni Laman received a bachelor's degree in Chemistry Education from Palangkaraya University. She has expertise in biological resources and water management and is passionate about education. Her interest in environmental issues inspired her to volunteer for Ranu Welum in 2017. She became official staff in 2019 and serves as Youth Act coordinator. Sumarni manages  communication & public relations for Ranu Welum. She is currently running The Heartland Project - a national movement to raise awareness about forest issues through planting trees on forestland that was previously burned or mined. The Heartland Project has already engaged over 1000 participants and planted more than 2,500 trees. They also raise awareness about plastic pollution, engage people in climate action, and produce events to cultivate pride in Dayak traditions and culture. Sumarni will be both a participant and a coordinator at our Bali collaboratory.

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Elisabeth Lily Salim

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WEA Women in Action

Elisabeth Lily Salim

IMG-20190602-WA0018

Region

North Sumatera, Medan, Indonesia

Affiliations & Roles

Founder and CEO of Sanggar Kreativitas Anak Indonesia

Certified Level 3 Trainer in Recycle Product

Founder and CEO of Sekolah Alam Medan

Elisabeth Lily Salim is the founder and CEO of Sanggar Kreativitas Anak Indonesia, a program that educates special needs youth in zero waste management and teaches them the skills they need to create products out of recycled materials that they can sell. She aims to transform Medan into a green paradise and reduce the inequality that exists for people with special needs in her community. Lily was the principal of the Medan School of Nature and was voted the 3rd Best Trash Bank in Medan City in 2016 before beginning Sanggar Kreativitas. She has her degree in Banking & Finance from University of N. Sumatra in Indonesia and is a Certified Level 3 Trainer in Recycle Product.

Elisabeth Lily Salim
IMG-20190501-WA0007
Elisabeth Lily Salim

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Farwiza Farhan (Wiza)

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WEA Partners in Action

Farwiza Farhan (Wiza)

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Region

Leuser Ecosystem 

Aceh, Indonesia

Affiliations & Roles

Founder and Chair at Haka

Environmental Impact Strategist

Policy and Advocacy Expert

Community Mobilizer

 

 

Farwiza is the leader of Forest, Nature & Environment Aceh (HAkA) a homegrown Acehnese NGO, which is striving to protect the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra. By empowering communities, taking legal action and mobilizing local, national and global campaigns, Farwiza and her team are helping to pave the way for true sustainable development for their people. Farwiza’s impact on community driven conservation was recognized with the 2016 Whitley Award.

The Leuser Ecosystem is the last place in the world where several of the key Sundaland mega-fauna species can still be found together: the tiger, orangutan, elephant, and rhino. Motivated by her passion to protect critically endangered species under extreme threat in this area, Farwiza helped launch a legal case against a plantation concessionaire inside the Leuser Ecosystem. Eventually, the legal case ended in a victory for conservation, and the concessionaire was fined a precedent-setting USD 26 million.

Focusing on the core habitat for critically endangered mega-fauna, Farwiza focuses on ground level species protection on the one hand and high level legal advocacy on the other. This means she deploys a new Wildlife Protection Team to destroy snares and intercept poachers, a Mobile Monitoring Unit to track wildlife and forest crime, and a special law enforcement operation to increase prosecution rates.

Recently, she has mobilized community leaders to conduct a citizen lawsuit seeking to revoke the Aceh Spatial Plan that would otherwise legitimize the building of roads, hydropower schemes, oil palm concessions, and new settlements inside the Leuser Ecosystem. If these plans are implemented, despite lack of approval by the central government, the charismatic species that make it unique will vanish and the Leuser Ecosystem would eventually be destroyed. Most conservationists, considering the challenges to be too great, do not wish to address the threats mentioned above. Farwiza, however, has always understood that a holistic approach to conservation is the most viable path to success.

Farwiza Farhan (Wiza)
Farwiza Farhan (Wiza)
Farwiza Whitley-Award-presented-by-Princess-Ann-2016-Farwiza-Farhan-600x400

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Raihal Fajri

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WEA Women in Action

Raihal Fajri

Raihal Fajri

Region

Aceh, Indonesia

Affiliations & Roles

Executive Director of the Katahati Institute

Consultant with Aceh Information Commission

Activist & Community Organizer Against Mining and Extractive Industries

 

Raihal is the Executive Director of the Katahati Institute, a nonprofit organization that aims to teach others valuable skills such as public speaking, how to run business, public policy and advocacy. One of her many projects is KakiLangit, a knowledge center that encourages civil society best practices in Aceh. 

In 2007, Raihal first joined the Katahati Institute as a Project Officer to provide support for victims of earthquakes and tsunamis in Aceh. Her experience in government service has made her a key resource in order to improve women’s rights and community development in her country.

Her community service work first began when Raihal observed the pollution that is produced in her community from the local cement factory, which inspired her and her friends to fight for their right to have a healthier environment to live in. Raihal saw that women and children were the most impacted by the pollution of the local water sources caused by the cement factory and inspired her community to speak with the cement factory, government, and the media about the issue.

Most recently, Raihal is helping to prepare a five year development plan in the Banda Aceh City involving issues related to women and children. Since May 2011, Raihal has been a facilitator for the Aceh Information Commission and does assessments of SKPA, a university and political party that specializes in informing the public about government actions. Before this, she formed the committee selection group to hire prospective members of the Information Committee of Aceh.

Raihal Fajri
Raihal Fajri
Raihal Fajri

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