(CCM) Crown capital management environment reviews - Indonesian Growth Must Not Threaten Environment: SBY
The Jakarta Globe: President marks World Environment Day by urging government at all levels to factor in nature | Economic development in Indonesia should not come at the expense of the environment, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said during celebrations to mark World Environment Day at the State Palace on Monday.
“One should not go to the extremes, such as by saying, ‘It is OK for the environment to be damaged, what’s important is that our economy continues to grow,’ ” the president said, adding that the government was committed to preserving the environment. “Development that damages the environment is not a choice for us.”
In his speech, Yudhoyono called on every level of the government, especially regional leaders such as governors, mayors and district heads, to share his concern toward the environment. He called on regional governments to review policies that may endanger the environment. “It displeases me if there are those among us, including governors and others, who are negligent toward the environment,” he said. “In gubernatorial elections, vote for those who care about the environment. [Those] who really care, not just during their campaign.” Yudhoyono said he was aware of many regional leaders who issued business licenses that contravened the 2009 Environmental Law. “These licenses do not fulfill the environmental aspect of the requirements,” he said.
In response to those problematic licenses, the president said he had asked Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi to cancel regional policies that were inconsistent with national laws. He encouraged regional heads to implement policies according to the law, adding that he did not want to hear of governors or other regional heads being caught by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the police, or prosecutors for environmental violations. “This is not just about the standards of the environment, but also about the law,” he said. “As leaders we [should] care for our environment, considering our future generation is part of the leadership, part of our responsibility,” he said.
World Environment Day, which is endorsed by the United Nations, this year fell last Wednesday.
A billion trees
During a meeting with Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo on Friday, Yudhoyono said he was committed to protecting the nation’s forests. “Surely Greenpeace knows that we are highly committed to protecting the environment. We plant one billion trees every year in hope of growing a greener and healthier Indonesia in the next 30 years,” Yudhoyono said. He added the government would continue to push for the protection of forests and fight illegal logging. The president said efforts to protect Indonesia’s nature would go on at least until he left office late next year, before which time significant progress was promised. “I admit there are several issues and challenges that need sorting, but these things will be answered in the future when the public’s awareness and understanding has increased,” he said.
In his speech at the palace, Yudhoyono said that environmental issues should be included in the school curriculum. “The six years of elementary level and three years of middle school … is a formative period for students, meaning it is still possible to build children’s characters at those ages,” the president said.
Yudhoyono said he had instructed Education Minister Mohammad Nuh to include environmental studies in the national curriculum. The curriculum would include climate change. The president encouraged teachers to foster care for the environment among their students through activities such as tree planting. In his speech, Yudhoyono recalled being angered during a school visit when he came upon poorly maintained rooms. “Even the teachers’ room was a mess,” he said. “Discipline, love for each other, honesty, all of those qualities can be formed from an early age.”
Enforce the law
Several environmentalists said that Yudhoyono could achieve much for the environment by enforcing existing laws and punishing those people damaging the environment and illegally cutting the country’s forests. Such action would not require additional regulations. “We have enough laws and regulations. The president only needs to punish people or officials violating them, such as illegal loggers and companies or individuals burning the forests,” said Syahganda Nainggolan, chairman of the Sabang-Merauke Circle. He said illegal logging and environmental damage would not be reduced if there was no deterrence through punishment of guilty parties. At Monday’s celebration, the president also awarded several individuals, organizations and government representatives for their contribution to preservation of the environment. The president handed out 18 Kalpataru awards, seven Adipura Kencana awards, 33 Adipura awards to cities receiving the award for the first time, 22 Adiwiyata Mandiri awards and six awards for government entities that had compiled the best Regional Environment Status report.
The event carried the theme “A Change of Behavior and Consumption Habits to Save the Environment.” “There is an urgent need for each entity, be it an individual or an organization or a country, to change its consumption and production habits or its lifestyle, and strive for sustainable behavior,” Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya said at the event on Monday. While the Yudhoyono administration has talked up its green credentials and commitments, critics say its actions are often inconsistent with its rhetoric.A key forest-clearing moratorium was meant to go into force at the start of 2011, but the supporting regulation was not signed by Yudhoyono until May that year. Several months later, it emerged that an ecologically important swath of the Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra, home to the critically endangered Sumatran tiger, orangutan and elephant, had been removed from the original map of protected areas, and was only reinstated following a public outcry.
Critics also argue that Yudhoyono’s new-found concern for the environment is just an image-burnishing measure for his final year in office, given that much of his nearly nine-year presidency was marked by the unbridled clearing of forests to make way mostly for oil palm plantations.