Greenpeace Flagship SV Rainbow Warrior arrived in Jakarta for the first time yesterday to commence the Asia-Pacific leg of its global campaign to protect the environment. Greenpeace is being hosted in Jakarta by WALHI - Friends of the Earth Indonesia, the largest forum of environmental organisations and community groups in the country.
Stephen Campbell (R), Greenpeace International Campaigner speaks at a press briefing with fellow Indonesian NGO officials Hapsors of Tlelpak (L) and (C) Longgena Ginting from Walhi in Jakarta
Next month, Malaysia will host the 7th Conference of the Parties
(COP7) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The
meeting, dubbed by Greenpeace as the "Summit for Life on Earth",
will see world leaders discussing protection of the world's forests
and marine ecosystems, many of which suffer from massive
Greenpeace is calling on delegates to the CBD to propose strong
action to stop the destruction of the world's ancient forests and
marine ecosystems. Greenpeace believes that the Convention on
Biological Diversity is the most important forum for governments
around the world to take concrete steps to protect life on earth
today. In Jakarta, Greenpeace aims to learn about environmental
issues currently facing the country through a series of meetings
with NGOs, community groups and government agencies.
"We are looking forward to learning more about the pressing
issues that are currently facing Indonesia, and we will also be
finding out what can be done to stem the tide of environmental
destruction in this region. We hope our discussions will provide
valuable lessons, and possibly the foundations, for any Greenpeace
work or campaigns in Indonesia in the near future," said Greenpeace
International Campaigner Stephen Campbell.
"There has to be a change in paradigm in the current model of
conservation because so far it has excluded and disrespected the
rights of local communities and indigenous peoples," said Longgena
Ginting, Executive Director of WALHI - Friends of the Earth
"The delegates at the CBD must come up with serious measures to
tackle the problem of illegal logging especially in national parks.
We are also calling on the delegates of consumer nations not to
receive illegally sourced timber into their countries," said
Hapsoro, Director of Telapak, another local NGO.
The diverse tropical forests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua
New Guinea and the nearby archipelagos form the Paradise Forests of
Asia Pacific. These predominantly evergreen rainforests include
mangrove, evergreen, coastal and swamp forests as well as lowland
Greenpeace has an active and successful campaign operating in
the Asia-Pacific region in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where the group
has been active for over a decade. Working with traditional
landowners and other NGO's in that country, Greenpeace has helped
to save around one million hectares of primary rainforest in the
Western and Milne Bay provinces.