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Cablegate: Indonesia Esth Highlights - February 2007

VZCZCXRO7428
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #0766/01 0750907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160907Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3887
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0541
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3992
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0407
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4016
RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE 3312

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 JAKARTA 000766

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/IET, OES/IET, AND OES/ETC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV TPHY TBIO TRGY ENRG ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIA ESTH HIGHLIGHTS - FEBRUARY 2007


1. Summary: On February 1, "Eyes on the Forest", a coalition of
three non-governmental organizations (NGOs), protested a Government
of Indonesia (GOI) plan to auction 130,000 hectares of former
concession areas in Riau and Jambi for plantation use. On February
13-16, the Indonesian Ministries of Forestry and Foreign Affairs
hosted a United Nations Forum on Forest (UNFF) meeting in Bali in
preparation for an April 2007 UNFF meeting in New York. On February
20, Indonesia's Minister of Forestry welcomed the arrival of
Andalas, a five-year old male Sumatran rhinoceros (dicerorhinus
sumatrensis) born in a Cincinnati zoo, as part of a program that
rebuilds the Sumatran rhino population. On February 21, the World
Bank office in Jakarta released a new report entitled "Sustaining
Economic Growth, Rural Livelihoods and Environmental Benefits:
Strategic Options for Forest Assistance in Indonesia". On February
21, the Ministry of Forestry (MOF) announced the allocation of 5.4
million hectares of unproductive plantation forest to its community
forest plantation (HTR) initiative, which seeks to encourage
small-scale sustainable forest development. As Indonesia begins
planning for a December 2007 Conference of the Parties of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, the GOI
plans to stop the importation of products containing
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of 2007 due to CFCs' negative
impact on the environment. As part of GOI efforts to combat polio,
the Ministry of Health (MOH) conducted vaccinations for polio and
measles, and distributed doses of vitamin A on Java Island on
February 20. End Summary

Forest Conversion Threatens Elephant Habitat
--------------------------------------------

2. On February 1, "Eyes on the Forest" (EoF), a coalition of three
NGOs that includes World Wildlife Fund, Jikalahari, and Friends of
the Earth Indonesia (WALHI Riau), protested a GOI plan to auction
130,000 hectares of former concession areas in Riau and Jambi for
plantation use. The NGOs believe the conversion will threaten the
habitats of 60-70 Sumatran elephants and 100 tigers living in the
area. EoF coordinator Nursamsu asserted that the conversion would
increase the potential for conflict between animals and humans in
the area and would threaten the forest's ecosystem by reducing
heterogeneity in the forest. Nursamsu added the auction stands in
contradiction to the government policy of reforesting two million
hectares of critical forest land. In addition, the head of the
413,000 hectare Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, Haryono, announced
that he expects the GOI to exclude the 86,000 hectares of forest
previously set aside for park expansion from the auction. Haryono
added that plantation development in the area would threaten the
livelihood and lives of indigenous people residing within the
borders of the National Park.

Indonesia hosts UN Forum on Forest
----------------------------------

3. On February 13-16, the Indonesian Ministries of Forestry and
Foreign Affairs hosted a United Nations Forum on Forest (UNFF)
meeting in Bali in preparation for the April 2007 UNFF in New York.
Approximately 170 participants from around the world attended the
Forum. The participants discussed the concepts that underpin the
UNFF's Multi Year Programme of Work (MYPOW) and presented regional
and sub-regional perspectives on forest issues.

Sumatra-American Rhino Back Home
--------------------------------

4. On February 20, Indonesia's Minister of Forestry received
Andalas, a five-year old male Sumatran rhinoceros (dicerorhinus
sumatrensis) born in the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, at
Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport. The return of Andalas is part of
the GOI's Indonesian Rhino Conservation Strategy, under which the
GOI plans to establish a Sumatran rhino breeding program in Way
Kambas, Lampung. Andalas will breed with two females, Rosa and
Ratu, already living at the sanctuary. A team of U.S. rhino experts
working at the facility has been using ultrasound technology to
establish the birth cycles of Rosa and Ratu in an effort to speed up
the breeding process. Experts believe there are approximately 300
Sumatran rhinos alive in several isolated areas of Sumatra and
Malaysia and perhaps 60 Javan rhinos alive in Ujung Kulon national
park on the western tip of Java Island. The experts note that the
population of Sumatran and Javanese rhinos will be out of immediate
danger only when the rhino population reaches 2,500, a goal they say
may take 50-60 years.

World Bank Launches Forestry Report
-----------------------------------

5. On February 21, the World Bank Office in Jakarta released a new

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report entitled "Sustaining Economic Growth, Rural Livelihoods and
Environmental Benefits: Strategic Options for Forest Assistance in
Indonesia". Six co-sponsoring institutions, including the World
Bank, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the United
Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), the
European Union, the Asian Development Bank, World Agro-Forestry
Centre and the International Finance Corporation, produced the
report for the international donor community, the GOI and other
stakeholders.

6. The report focuses on the impact of deforestation on both the
land and people, stressing methods to balance and improve community
livelihoods while maintaining environmental services and
biodiversity goals. The report also cites four main priority areas
for forest assistance from donor agencies: 1) improving governance
to close the gap between rules and results; 2) improving rural
livelihoods to narrow the gap between rich forests and poor people;
3) increasing sustainable economic development to bridge the gap
between benefits and beneficiaries; and 4) protecting environmental
services and biodiversity to bridge the gap between current use and
future stewardship.

Community Forest Plantation Initiative
--------------------------------------

7. On February 21, the MOF announced the allocation of 5.4 million
hectares of unproductive plantation forest to its community forest
plantation initiative, which seeks to encourage small-scale
sustainable forest development. During the first phase, the project
will operate in 102 regencies across eight provinces in Sumatra and
Kalimantan and will include participation from a projected 360,000
households. The MOF selected Sumatra and Kalimantan due to the
large concentration of timber industries on those islands. Under
the current plan, the MOF plans to allocate 15 hectares to each
eligible individual or cooperative. The MOF also plans to provide
streamlined permit procedures and requirements, grant loans at
commercial interest rates, offer institutional support from local
governments, and is discussing ways to raise prices for wood
products produced in community forests.

Indonesia Will Stop CFC Import by December 2007
--------------------------------------------- --

8. As Indonesia begins planning for a December 2007 Conference of
the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change in Bali, the GOI will stop the importation of products
containing CFCs by the end of 2007 due to the negative impact CFCs
have on the environment. On June 22, 2006, the Minister of Trade
issued a regulation entitled "Import Provision of Ozone Layer
Destruction Substances" (Regulation of Minister of Trade No.
24/M-DAG/PER/6/2006) stating that the importation of CFC-11 for the
foam and footwear industries, CFC-12 for the air conditioner and
aerosol industries, CFC-113 for the metal dissolving and cleaning,
and CFC-114 and CFC-115 for the use in air conditioning liquids will
be phased out by the end of 2007.

9. Environmental Investigation Agency Senior Environmentalist Ezra
Clark noted that Indonesia is currently the largest market for
environmentally detrimental Freon in Asia, and that Freon exports
from China enter Indonesia via Singapore. Data released in 2005 in
the Global Trade Information Services' World Trade Atlas revealed
that China exported 1,178 metric tons of Freon to Indonesia in 2002,
but Indonesian Customs recorded only 150 metric tons. By 2004,
Freon exports from China to Indonesia had grown to 1,500 metric
tons. The GOI ratified the Vienna Convention for the protection of
the Ozone Layer in 1992 and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that
Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1998.

Indonesia Combats Polio
-----------------------

10. As a part of GOI efforts to make Indonesia polio-free, the MOH
conducted vaccinations for polio and measles, and distributed doses
of vitamin A on Java Island on February 20. The MOH will hold
similar vaccination drives in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and West
Nusa Tenggara in August. The MOH allocated 17.2 billion rupiah (USD
1.9 million) from the 2007 State Budget to implement these programs.
Indonesia identified a new case of polio on March 13 2005,
following ten years of being polio-free. The number of cases
increased through February 2006, with cases reported in 48 regencies
across 10 provinces. The disease had infected over 300 children by
early 2006. Due in large part to immunization drives and other
disease control efforts by the GOI, there have been no new polio
cases report for more than a year.


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