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Cablegate: Indonesia - Forestry Minister Welcomes Orangutan

VZCZCXRO4660
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1832/01 1870806
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060806Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5316
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0574
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4144
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0873
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4092
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001832

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AIDAC

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS AND EB/IFD/ODF
DEPT FOR OES/IET and OES/ETC
TREASURY FOR TFCA - BERG
USAID FOR ANE/TS AND EGAT/NRM

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID ECON TBIO ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIA - FORESTRY MINISTER WELCOMES ORANGUTAN
CONSERVATION PROGRAMS AND TFCA

REF: A) JAKARTA 1660, Orangutan Conservation;
B) JAKARTA 1672, West Kalimantan Dwindling Forests;
C) JAKARTA 1745, Aceh Forest Threatened

1. (SBU) Summary. The Minister of Forestry, Mr. Kaban, stressed to
DCM in a July 3 meeting that conservation of orangutans and their
forest habitat remains an urgent need. The Minister welcomed the $8
million USAID Orangutan Conservation Services Program and emphasized
the importance of communities benefiting from forest conservation
efforts. DCM urged eastward expansion of Tanjung Puting National
Park in Central Kalimantan Province. DCM explained the basics of
the U.S. debt-for-nature swap under the Tropical Forest Conservation
Act, which the Minister welcomed as "good news." On the MOU to
Combat Illegal Logging and Associated Trade, the Minister emphasized
the importance of international collaboration to assist Indonesia in
addressing transnational crime. The annual haze has already begun
in Sumatra, and the Minister admitted its ongoing problems fighting
the fires manually. End Summary.

Orangutan Habitat
Conservation: Urgent Needs
--------------------------

2. (SBU) In a July 3 meeting, the Forestry Minister and DCM agreed
that conservation of orangutan habitat is an urgent need. We
explained the $8 million Orangutan Conservation Services Program
(OCSP) works in some of the last remaining areas with significant
orangutan populations in the wild, in Kalimantan and Sumatra. The
program aims to reduce key threats to orangutan habitat by promoting
sustainable forest management, law enforcement, sustainable
financing and developing stronger constituencies at the national
level. The Minister of Forestry requested assistance to update the
orangutan census (the last one is from 2004). Another request by
the Ministry of Forestry (MOF) is to support its orangutan
rehabilitation centers, two in Kalimantan, and four in Sumatra. MOF
officials noted that they have 800 refugee orangutan in these six
centers, many victims of land clearing for palm oil plantations or
of forest fires. A key constraint is lack of forest to reintroduce
captive orangutans, given continually shrinking habitats. Another
priority is to facilitate protection of habitat by engaging local
communities to develop sustainable patrols in the areas.

Tanjung Puting National Park
-----------------------------

3. (SBU) Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan is home
to several thousand orangutan and location of the
internationally-recognized Camp Leakey research center. Embassy
thanked the Ministry of Forestry for rejecting plans for palm oil
plantations on the boundary of the park and asked whether it would
be possible to expand the park on the east side, where some primary
forest still exists. The Minister explained that a one-kilometer
buffer zone exists around the Park, and other land allocations are
governed by the official land use plan. The MOF will, however,
examine options for any land area not privately owned and not yet
converted.

Tropical Forest Conservation Act
--------------------------------

4. (U) We explained that Indonesia was eligible for a
"debt-for-nature" swap under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act.
Deputy Minister Mahendra Siregar, at the Coordinating Ministry for
the Economy, had told us that his Ministry, in cooperation with the
Ministry of Finance, would negotiate with U.S. Treasury the debt
swap portion, while the Ministry of Forestry would have the lead on
the actual conservation programs. Minister Kaban said the program
was "good news" and hoped the mechanism was not too complicated. We
explained that it would involve setting up a board with the
participation of his Ministry and could take up to a year to
finalize. The Minister recommended the program take into
consideration livelihoods of local people who can benefit from
forest conservation and "not just trees." We agreed that the
existing USAID programs are also targeted at improving livelihoods,
with a measurable impact in the number of people who are now farming
outside rather than inside the national parks. The Minister also
raised the question whether a portion of the TFCA funds could be

JAKARTA 00001832 002 OF 002


planned for some type of sustainable forestry grant fund, since this
would leverage a longer-term benefit that would lead to greater
impact in forest conservation.

Illegal Logging
---------------

5. (SBU) The Embassy raised the MOU to Combat Illegal Logging and
Associated Trade, noting planning visits by with the U.S. Forest
Service and U.S. Department of Justice ICITAP program to implement
the MOU. The Minister welcomed the visits and said that he has
already held several meetings on the MOU and the illegal logging
issue in general. "We hope the timber industry players are seeing
the benefit of going the legal route," he said. The aim of
activities under the MOU is to strengthen legal business while
curtailing the activity of illegal loggers through a variety of
measures including better enforcement. The Minister welcomed the
training from the U.S. for the Indonesian judiciary and police under
the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network program.

Annual Haze Has Started
-----------------------

6. (U) The annual dry season problem of heavy haze pollution from
land clearing has already begun in Sumatra. The Minister
acknowledged the ongoing problems combating the fires. "There are
millions of hectares of peatland vulnerable to fire each year, but
we are relying on manual means to put them out. To manage fire
prone areas this vast requires two squadrons of sky crane type
helicopters covering eight provinces." The MOF is currently renting
helicopters. The Minister was impressed on a recent trip to South
Korea with the 48 sky cranes, each with a capacity of 10,000 liters
of water, to combat fires in 6 million hectares of forest. "Climate
change could exacerbate the dry season periods, and can leave areas
prone to fire beyond the usual dry season" he added. He asked
whether the U.S. could help with leasing or grants of such
helicopters, noting that sky cranes are U.S. technology. "We can't
only rely on our neighbors for help. We need our own facilities."


HUME

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