Wednesday, May 6, 2015

1) West Papua 'oil palm atlas' portrays industry's explosion in region

2) Joko Widodo to Hand Out Smart Cards at Hamadi Market

3) Lack of Capital Hampers Development of Manufacturing Industry in Papua
4) Sentani Airport Guarded by TNI Troops

5) Activists Urge Jokowi to Renew Forest Clearing Ban


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http://news.mongabay.com/2015/0506-jacobson-oil-palm-explosion.htm


1) West Papua 'oil palm atlas' portrays industry's explosion in region

Philip Jacobson 
May 06, 2015



A Dani warrior in Indonesia's Papua province." Photo: Rhett A. Butler 


There's a saying in the Indonesian palm oil industry: Sumatra is yesterday, Kalimantan is today, and Papua is tomorrow. 

Tomorrow might well have arrived. 

A new report sheds light on the industry's rapid expansion in Indonesia's easternmost region – and on the companies behind the plantation drive. 

Some are major conglomerates. Others are more opaque, with no website or company name at their listed address in Jakarta. The authors of the report – it was published by the Pusaka Foundation, awasMIFEE and six other organizations – found that staff at several of their offices refused to give out any information. Local government officials could also be difficult to reach and reluctant to cooperate. 

To inform their findings, the authors drew on Internet research and communication with local Papuan NGOs and church and indigenous organizations, as well as attempts to contact government and corporate sources. 

The resulting West Papua Oil Palm Atlas portrays a frontier region's early encounters with a crop that has come to dominate the Sumatran and Bornean landscapes – a portrait made that much starker by the central government's foreign media blackout in the territory. 

"Using the excuse of the conflict around the [local] independence movement, the Indonesian government makes it very difficult for international observers to access West Papua, and this has probably also resulted in a lack of awareness internationally about the ecological threats," reads a text accompanying the report



A traditional house in West Papua's Arfak Mountains, not far from oil palm plantations operated by state-owned PTPN II and Chinese-owned Yong Jing Investment. Photo: Rhett A. Butler 


The report's name refers to the entire western half of the island of New Guinea, a pair of Indonesian provinces where rebellion has simmered ever since Jakarta's invasion in the early 1960s. 

Detailed maps by district grouping illustrate the extent to which oil palm is advancing in the region. In 2005, there were just five operational plantations, but by 2015 there were 21, with another 20 firms on the verge of obtaining their final permit and many more with an early-stage location permit. 

"If all these plantations were developed, more than 2.6 million hectares of land would be used up, the vast majority of which is currently tropical forest," the text reads. 

Conglomerates with holdings in the region are led by some of Indonesia's richest men: billionaires Bachtiar Karim (Musim Mas), Sukanto Tanoto (Royal Golden Eagle), Eka Tjipta Widjaja (Sinar Mas), Anthony Salim (Salim Group) and Peter Sondakh (Rajawali)

Maps from Global Forest Watch showing the main MIFEE area as well as concessions across Indonesian New Guinea as a whole. 


Other major corporate groups include George Tahija's Austindo Nusantara Jaya, Arifin Pangioro's Medco, Malaysia-based Lion, Hong Kong-headquartered Noble and Sri Lanka-based Carson Cumberbatch. 

Some of the more mysterious outfits appeared to the authors to have mainly a speculative interest in Papua, obtaining permits in order to flip them to one of the big national or transnational operations with the capital to actually develop the plantation. 

The government of Boven Digoel regency, for example, licensed at least eight Menara Group subsidiaries to plant oil palm over hundreds of thousands of hectares. Six of those companies have likely since been sold on to Pacific Inter-Link, a holding of the Yemeni-owned Hayal Saeed Anam conglomerate, and Malaysia-based Tadmax. 

"This type of shady behind-closed-doors business practice makes it impossible for any dealings with the local indigenous community to follow principles of free, prior [and] informed consent (FPIC)," reads the atlas, which notes that almost all of the plantations in Papua have caused conflict with the local indigenous communities who rely on the forest. 

In neighboring Merauke regency, the atlas reports on the progress of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), a stalled megaproject the central government recently announced it would revive

Thirty-three oil palm developers are believed to have obtained in-principle permits in the regency from 2007 to 2014, with 10 engaged in either surveying or planting, including South Korean multinationals Korindo and Daewoo. 

"It seems highly likely that Korindo used its local experience and contacts to help Daewoo establish itself in the area," according to the atlas. "The two groups continue to cooperate, and local people report that the management of the two Daewoo companies and Korindo's PT Berkat Cipta Abadi appear to be the same." 

The atlas is full of such insights.
 


An orange moth with black and yellow polkadots in West Papua. Photo: Rhett A. Butler 

To solve the myriad social and ecological problems the authors say have arisen from Papua's oil palm explosion, the atlas offers a variety of recommendations. It asks the government to withdraw police and military personnel from plantation sites; develop guidelines about how to calculate compensation rates for use of community land; conduct a review of cases where rights violations are said to have occurred; create a transparent system for issuing permits, along with a website where anyone can view the documents; rethink its "top-down approach to development"; and more. 

"It is hoped that this publication can become a tool for indigenous peoples and social movements who wish to understand the oil palm industry and defend their forest against these land grabbers, as they themselves should be the ones to determine what kinds of development will benefit their communities," the text reads. 

"For environmentalists and supporters of indigenous struggles around the world, we hope that this will also be a useful insight into the dynamics of the plantation industry and the threats it is causing in the third-largest tropical forest in the world." 

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2) Joko Widodo to Hand Out Smart Cards at Hamadi Market
Jayapura, Jubi – President Joko Widodo is scheduled to hand out three “magic cards” during his visit to Papua from 8-9 May.
Mayor of Jayapura, Benhur Tommy Mano said, Jayapura City Government has made various preparations related the agenda.
“We’ve done the preparation that President will distribute three cards: Indonesia Smart Card (KIP), Card Healthy Indonesia (KIS) and Card Family Welfare (KKS). It will take place in Hamadi, South Jayapura district,” Mano said.
In addition, Indonesian President will inaugurate the use of optical cables owned by PT Telkom Indonesia, lay the first stone of bridge-Holtekamp construction in Hamadi and the inauguration of IPDN campus.
“This agenda is fixed based on the meeting at the Ministry of Social Affairs some time ago and has been sent the Director General of the Ministry of Social Affairs to visit the location of distribution directly,” he added.
Director of IPDN Papua Margaretha Rumbekwan said it had prepared his visit in according to presidential protocol procedures.
“The visit is to inaugurate IPDN building with an area of ​​35 hectares which was build by Ministry of Home Affairs,” she stated. (Sindung Sukoco/ Tina)

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3) Lack of Capital Hampers Development of Manufacturing Industry in Papua
Jayapura, Jubi – Lack of capital, raw materials and marketing skills are hampering the development of micro-and-small manufacturing businesses in Papua province, an official said.
The head of the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) of Papua Province Didik Koesbiyanto in Jayapura on Tuesday (05/05/2015) said sector micro and small manufacturing industry is one sector that is important and strategic to the development of the local economy.
“The added value generated from this sector has contributed to the economic growth of Papua, although it is not too large compared to the contribution of large and medium manufacturing industry,” he said.
He explained based on the data of GRDP 2014, micro and small manufacturing industries contributed added value by 0.44 percent.
“Although the value added of the sector is still small, but the sector is significant enough to absorb labor force and are not vulnerable to economic turmoil,” he said.
He said then it should be the government to give serious attention to the development of micro and small industrial enterprises in Papua.
“According to the standard classification of Indonesian business field 2009, a sample survey of micro and small industries first quarter of 2015, which businesses with the number of workers ranged between 1-19 people in the province of Papua,” he said.
He added businesses with the number of workers ranged between 1-19 people include 14 types of industries are food industry, wood, wood products and cork, wickerwork of bamboo / rattan, apparel, furniture, non-metal mineral products, beverages and other. (*/Tina)

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4) Sentani Airport Guarded by TNI Troops
Interestingly,the soldiers are wearing the same uniforms as other civilian officers that work at the airport.
“Security around the airport area is the responsibility of the police. Yet because of the security system is not adequate, military personnel are needed as reinforcements. In the future we hope that a good system can be applied in accordance with the duties and functions,” Jayapura Police Chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Sondra Siagian said when confirmed via cell phone on Tuesday (05/05/2015).
Police chief added, security radius that is given to the police in the area of ​​the airport has been in charge except there are some crucial parts handled by military personnel only. The issue at this time if there were TNI ( National Security Force)assigned there, it may be assigned by the institution, and it is normal.
Separately, police chief Inspector of Service Area Jubelina Wally admitted that it had not given the deeper portion of providing security in the airport area, for example X-ray guard at the entrance of passengers into the airport lounge and in the arrival hall are not guarded by her officer and handled by the military that has been dressed as civil servants.
Meanwhile, Lucky Matui one of the religious leaders and the passangger prefered the duties and functions of the security forces assigned in the area of ​​service should be the police authority. (Engel Wally/ Tina)

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5) Activists Urge Jokowi to Renew Forest Clearing Ban

Former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s moratorium on deforestation will soon come to an end
By Kennial Caroline Laia on 10:00 pm May 06, 2015
Category CrimeFeaturedFront PageNews

Jakarta. Environmental activists have called on President Joko Widodo to extend and strengthen a forest-clearing moratorium that runs out this month.
The moratorium on issuing permits to clear peat and primary forests was introduced in May 2011 by then-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and slated to run for only two years. Yudhoyono extended it in 2013 on a temporary basis, and activists say Joko now has the chance to make a lasting positive impact by giving the moratorium a firmer legal basis.
Any extension to the moratorium “must stipulate punitive measures for people or companies that violate it,” Zenzi Suhadi, a forest campaigner for the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, or Walhi, told the Jakarta Globe on Tuesday.
“This is needed to curb [the illegal] issuance of licenses for forest exploitation, whether for mining or for large-scale plantations,” he added.
He noted that the moratorium as enforced by the Yudhoyono administration was for all practical intents toothless, noting that the Forestry Ministry issued mining and agriculture concessions for 12 million hectares of forest land, much of it ostensibly off-limits under the moratorium, between 2011 and 2014.
“During this period, there was no punishment for the violators,” Zenzi said. “The next moratorium should include punitive measures to ensure that no one hurts the environment.”
He also said it was important that the moratorium be supported by a new agency “to supervise its implementation as well as enforce the law.”
“The government must consider extending the moratorium period. It’s been proven that a two-year moratorium isn’t as effective as expected.
Making it longer will help the government prioritize its to-do list, from evaluation to license review to management refinement,” Zenzi added.
The original moratorium was enacted as part of a deal that would see Norway provide up to $1 billion in funds for climate change mitigation projects in exchange for demonstrable protection on Indonesia’s part of high conservation value forests, including peat forests, which store enormous amounts of carbon dioxide.
Critics, though, have long argued that the moratorium does far too little to protect such areas, given that it applies only to new concessions and not to existing ones on peat and primary forests.
In the time since the moratorium went into force, nearly 970,000 hectares of peat forest have been cleared, half of that total coming from the heavily logged Sumatran provinces of Riau and Jambi, according to a study by Walhi and environmental nongovernmental organization Kemitraan.
The study also found that in some regions, up to four-fifths of the primary and peat forests identified as off-limits for new concessions are already protected under prevailing zoning regulations, hence the moratorium is doing little to expand the scope of forest protection.
Progressive revisions have also seen the map of areas protected under the moratorium shrink, with dozens of concessions issued across the country for land that was at one point included in the moratorium map, says Hasbi Berliani, Kemitraan’s program manager for good governance.
The forest area that falls outside the moratorium map “is really wide.”
“It is really crucial for the government to strengthen [a] few points in the moratorium to protect other areas [that] haven’t been included within. As long as the moratorium doesn’t include it, it’s useless,” Hasbi said.
Zenzi echoed the sentiment, saying that what Indonesia really needed was not a moratorium on new concessions, but a termination program for existing licenses.
“The situation is critical,” Zenzi said, noting that when the moratorium was renewed in 2013, it included new concessions for energy and food production, thanks to what he called corporate lobbying. “This cost the country 1.2 million hectares.”
“This year, there’s the possibility of intervention from the biofuel and food lobbies, and exemptions for border regions,” Zenzi added.
Strong government commitment, he said, was key to an effective moratorium.
“However big the intervention, once the government is committed to the people, it won’t compromise or make any exceptions unless it’s in the interests of the people,” Zenzi said.
The Forestry and Environment Ministry says it wants to extend the moratorium as part of a wider program to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 26 percent by 2020, and has welcomed suggestions of environmental groups in drafting an extension.
Edited by Hayat Indriyatno
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