Cablegate: Indonesia Esth Highlights - September-November 2006

DE RUEHJA #3422/01 3401032
R 061032Z DEC 06





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: On November 22, following three years of
bilateral negotiations, the Government of Indonesia (GOI)
welcomed home forty-eight orangutans from Thailand.
Minister of Health Dr. Siti Fadilah Supari announced plans
on November 13 to make Indonesian villages self sufficient
in health care services and disaster relief. On November
13, USDA Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth and Ministry of
Forestry (MOF) Secretary General Boen Purnama signed a
Letter of Intent on cooperation in sustainable forest
management. In separate incidents in November and August
2006, wild elephants damaged Sumatra farms and palm oil
plantations in an attempt to find food. Mount Merapi became
active again on November 21, producing hot clouds, lava
falls, and tremors. On October 18, the Ministry of
Environment urged the Jakarta city administration to stop
activities associated with the controversial "Jakarta Bay
Project." On September 11, Health Minister Supari issued a
ministerial decree lowering consumer prices for more than
450 drugs. On September 9, a trash slide at the Bantar
Gebang dumpsite in the Jakarta suburb of Bekasi, killed
three people and injured others. On September 19, the
Ministry of Forestry announced that a research team
discovered new species in Cendrawasih Bay and the Fak-Fak-
Kaimana locality in Papua Province. On September 12-13, the
U.S. Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS) program
jointly sponsored with several Indonesian organizations a
two-day Coastal Community Resilience workshop in Jakarta.
Indonesia hosted the Sixth Asia Forest Partnership (AFP)
meeting on September 6-8 in Yogyakarta. End Summary.

Lost Orangutans Returned Home

2. On November 22, following three years of bilateral
negotiations and extensive lobbying on the part of
environmental organizations, the GOI received forty-eight
orangutans (Pongo Pygmaeus) from Thailand. The orangutans
were victims of illegal trafficking, and the Chiang Mai
Night Safari had forced the endangered animals to perform in
shows. Seven of the repatriated orangutans reportedly have
contracted hepatitis. The Indonesian Air Force provided a
military aircraft, modified to meet biosecurity and
biosafety standards, for the orangutan's return flight.
First Lady Kristiani Herawati Yudhoyono and several high-
ranking officials, including Minister of Forestry M.S.
Kaban, State Minister of Environment Rachmat Witoelar and
Thailand's Ambassador to Indonesia Atchara Sariputra greeted
the orangutans at Halim Perdana Kusumah airport in Jakarta.
Once in Indonesia, the GOI flew the orangutans to Nyaru
Menteng Orangutan Reintroduction Center in Central
Kalimantan Province to undergo quarantine and rehabilitation
before they are released into the wild. Indonesia's 1990
Conservation Law forbids individuals to catch, own or sell
endangered animals, alive or dead. Violators can receive a
maximum sentence of five years in jail and a fine of Rp. 100
million (USD 11,000). However, wildlife experts say that
limited enforcement of the law has allowed illegal trade in
endangered species to continue.

Ministry of Health Announces Village Health Program
--------------------------------------------- ------

3. On November 13, in commemoration of the 42nd National
Health Day, Minister of Health Dr. Siti Fadilah Supari
announced plans to introduce a nationwide program to make
villages self sufficient in providing health care services
and disaster relief. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
will launch the "Desa Siaga" program in Lumajang Regency,
East Java Province in December 2006. Under the program,
each village will have at least one health center
(Poskesdes) and one community development program
(Gerbangmas). The program will encourage the villages to
conduct simple surveillance of contagious diseases; provide
basic medical and disaster relief services; promote health,
nutrition and sanitation; and supply health alerts for
emerging disease outbreaks. President Yudhoyono also will
officially announce plans to create Regional Centers for
Health Crisis and Natural Disaster Management in nine
provinces in December, including North Sumatra, South
Sumatra, DKI Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, South
Kalimantan, Bali, North Sulawesi, and South Sulawesi.

U.S. Forest Service and MOF Sign Letter of Intent
--------------------------------------------- -----

JAKARTA 00013422 002 OF 003

4. U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Chief Dale Bosworth visited
Indonesia November 13-16 to view forest rehabilitation
programs and USAID environmental programs and hold
consultations with the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry
(MOF). During his visit, Bosworth and MOF Secretary General
Dr. Boen Purnama signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) on
sustainable forest management. The LOI formalizes a desire
by both parties to continue their long-standing cooperation
on forest conservation, which includes previous agreements
in 1992 and 1998. Under the LOI, the USFS and MOF agreed to
cooperate in promoting protection, conservation and
sustainable use of forest resources and to strengthen the
capacity of sustainable forest management in Indonesia.

Elephants Strike Back in Jambi and Riau

5. During the last week of November 2006, press reports
indicated that a group of wild elephants destroyed hundreds
of hectares of palm oil trees in Tebo regency, Jambi
Province as they charged through neighboring farms and palm
oil plantations in an attempt to find food. Forest and land
fires had destroyed much of the elephants' natural habitat.
In August 2006, elephants also damaged local farms in four
villages and 145 hectares of palm oil plantation in
Pelelawan Regency, Riau Province. Pelawan Regency officials
estimate that damages may run as high as Rp. 200 million
(USD 22,000). Nuchalis Fadli, Coordinator of Human-Elephant
Conflict Prevention of World Wild Life Riau, explained that
since 2003 the cumulative encroachment by villagers, and
fires, has seriously eroded the elephants' habitat.

Mount Merapi Still a Threat to Yogyakarta Area
--------------------------------------------- -

6. On November 21, Mount Merapi became active again,
producing nine hot clouds, and dozens of lava falls and
tremors. At the same time, cold lava flowed close to
residential sections of the Jambu Subdistrict of Kapuhardjo
Village, Sleman-Yoyakarta. Head of the Mount Merapi Section
of the Volcano Research and Technology Development Agency
(BPPTK) Subandriyo blamed high rainfall for triggering the
renewed activity. He also noted that the eruption process
is likely to continue and warned citizens to remain alert to
possible new flows. The Meteorology and Geophysical Agency
(BMG) predicted that rainfall in Yogyakarta and surrounding
areas would increase further by the end of November 2006,
potentially triggering additional volcanic activity.

Trouble for Controversial Jakarta Bay Project

7. On October 18, Hermien Rosita, the Deputy Assistant
Minister for Environmental Assessment at the Ministry of
Environment, urged the Jakarta city administration to stop
the controversial Jakarta Bay Project and respect an ongoing
Supreme Court examination of an environmental impact
analysis prepared on the project. The Ministry and
environmental activists argue that the reclamation project
will cause flooding, pollution, the destruction of
fisheries, mangrove areas and coral reefs, and the
displacement of thousands of residents living in coastal
areas. The project originates from Presidential Decree
52/1995 and Jakarta Regional Regulation (PERDA) No. 6/1999
in which the GOI recommends using an approximately 10.4 mile
stretch of the north Jakarta coastline to build industrial
parks, office buildings and accommodations for up to 1.2
million residents. Environmentalists argue that existing
waste volume already overburdens municipal waste management
systems. The city plans to use land sales and private
sector sources to fund this project.

GOI Decreases Generic Medicines Prices

8. On September 11, Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari
issued Ministry of Health (MOH) Decree 720/2006 aimed at
sharply lowering consumer prices of 458 drug items starting
October 1. For example, the decree lowered the price of a
cholesterol-lowering drug previously offered at USD 25 for
30 tablets to USD 3 for the same quantity. Previously, MOH
Decree 487/2006 mandated decreases in the price of an
additional 85 common generic drugs. The MOH considers the
price reductions to be an important step toward improving
basic health services, especially in public health service

JAKARTA 00013422 003 OF 003

centers (puskesmas), by making drugs more affordable. Both
the Ministry of Health and the Indonesia Pharmaceutical
Association (GP Farmasi) agreed to the new drug prices.
According to GP Farmasi head Anthony Sunaryo reducing drug
prices according to the decree would be one of the
organization's "commitments to the people." However, Sunaryo
expressed the hope that the Government would consider
reducing the 10 percent value added tax applied to drug

Killer Trash Claims Three Victims

9. On September 9, a trash slide at the Bantar Gebang
dumpsite in the Jakarta suburb of Bekasi killed three people
scavenging at the site and injured others. The sanitary
landfill receives 6,000 tons of waste from Jakarta daily. A
report from the Bekasi Office of Environmental Management in
April 2006 showed that the Bantar Gebang dumpsite has nine
zones, but only three were active and refuse in each zone
was already piled 3-6 meters above the 12-meter standard.
This overflow significantly heightens the possibility of
future dump slides. The Head of DKI Jakarta Sanitation
Office, Mr. Rama Budi, announced that the deaths were
accidental and stated that the dumpsite management, PT
Patriot Bangkit Bekasi, will assume responsibility for the

Joint Expedition Finds New Species in Papua

10. On September 19, the Ministry of Forestry announced that
a joint government, university, and NGO research team found
hundreds of new species in Cendrawasih Bay and the Fak-Fak-
Kaimana locality in Papua Province. Team leader Dr. Mark
Erdmann noted that the team found at least 1,200 fish and
600 live corals, around 50 percent of which are apparently
heretofore unidentified species and therefore new to the
scientific world. The expedition included personnel from
the Directorate General for Forest Protection and Nature
Conservation, Conservation International Indonesia,
University of Negeri Papua (UNIPA), the Office of
Cendrawasih National Park, the Office of Natural Resources
Conservation of Papua II, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

IOTWS Coastal Resilience Workshop

11. On September 12-13, the U.S. Indian Ocean Tsunami
Warning System (IOTWS) program launched the Indonesian
component of a regional Coastal Community Resilience
initiative at a workshop jointly sponsored by the Indonesian
Society for Disaster Management and International Federation
of Red Cross/Indonesian Red Cross. Forty-five community
representatives and disaster management specialists
representing 35 different organizations participated. The
program aimed to integrate disaster preparedness and coastal
resources management into a single field guide for training
across the region. Several international and Indonesian
NGOs, donor organizations, GOI and United Nations
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
representatives indicated they plan to use the guide in
their disaster preparedness training efforts in coastal
communities across Indonesia.

AFP Meeting in Yogyakarta

12. Indonesia hosted the Sixth AFP meeting on September 6-8
in Yogyakarta. Approximately 140 participants from the
international donor community attended the meeting. Topics
of discussion covered illegal logging, forest and land
fires, reforestation, and land rehabilitation. The Forest
Faculty from Gajah Mada University proposed new
reforestation in Gunung Kidul (located southwest of
Yogyakarta). The US Government committed a $20,000 grant
for the program. Japan will host the seventh AFP meeting.


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