Indonesian Politicians Pledge Support for Greenpeace Campaigns

Press release - 23 January, 2004
Indonesia's Minister for the Environment  Nabiel Makarim visited Greenpeace's flagship the SV Rainbow Warrior in Jakarta Thursday (Jan 22) and pledged his government's support for Greenpeace and its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Indonesian Opposition Leader and Speaker of the House, Amien Rais (C) discusses enviornmental issues with NGO's aboard the Rainbow Warrior, in Jakarta.

The Minister added that there was a definite need for local and international non government environment organisations to educate Indonesian politicians on the issue of environmental destruction, particularly illegal logging, in order to raise their level of environmental awareness.

He said he recognised the problem of illegal logging as spinning out of control in Indonesia due to heavy market demand and said law reforms were needed to curb it.

Greenpeace Campaigner Stephen Campbell said the organisation was delighted that representatives of the Indonesian government had visited the Rainbow Warrior.

"It was a pleasure to meet them and we are delighted that they have been so supportive of Greenpeace's visit to Indonesia and that they have asked for our help. Our meeting confirms that there is a crisis in the oceans and forests in this region," Campbell said.

The Rainbow Warrior is gathering information on environmental issues in the region in the lead up to the Summit for Life on Earth ¾ the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia next month.

Makarim's statements were endorsed by the Speaker of the Indonesian Parliament, Amien Rais when he visited the Rainbow Warrior on Friday (Jan 24).

"(Our) government listens more to external pressure than domestic pressure … it is clear that the protection of forests and oceans are issues (that need to be addressed)," Rais said.

Urging Greenpeace to fly over areas like Sumatra and Kalimantan to view forest destruction first-hand, Rais said he supported a selective moratorium on illegal logging in Indonesia's most threatened forests.