Fight to end deforestation continues

Greenpeace hands over Climate Defenders Camp to local communities

Berita - 30 Nopember, 2009
More than one thousand people yesterday flocked to Greenpeace’s Climate Defenders Camp in the heart of the Sumatran rainforest, for a ceremony to mark the handing over of the camp to local communities. The colourful, inspiring ceremony at the camp on the Kampar Peninsula was jointly hosted by Greenpeace and local community leaders.

Executive Director Greenpeace Southeast Asia Von Hernandez gave the climate defenders camp key to the local community, Local NGO Jikalahari at the closing ceremony climate defenders camp in Teluk Meranti, Riau Province, Indonesia

Greenpeace established the Climate Defenders Camp at the end of October to focus international attention on the critical role that protecting tropical forests has in averting climate change in the run-up to the UN Copenhagen Climate Summit, which begins on 7 December.

"The 'Climate Defenders Camp' stands as a symbol of our solidarity with the local communities in their fight to end deforestation in the Kampar Peninsula. We will keep working with them and our other partners on this issue. We will ensure that their voices, as well as those of many others who desire a decent and habitable world for their children, are heard in Jakarta and in Copenhagen", said Von Hernandez, Executive Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia, at the handover ceremony.

Vowing to keep taking their message directly to President Yudhoyono and other world leaders, Greenpeace says that thousands of people worldwide have sent petitions and letters to the Indonesian leader urging him to take immediate steps to halt deforestation and peatland destruction in the country, which accounts for the vast majority of Indonesia's emissions.

"The Indonesian government should thank Greenpeace for helping them to protect the forests, as the government doesn't seem to have much of an idea how to do this at the moment. The government needs to look closely at the problems Greenpeace has raised regarding forestry regulations and the issuance of permits and should take urgent action", said Intsiawati Ayus, National Member of Parliament for Riau Province who attended the handover ceremony and will be participating in the Copenhagen climate talks.

On November 12, Greenpeace took action against APRIL, one of the world's largest pulp and paper companies, to expose the continued destruction of Kampar's fragile peatlands. Indonesia's Forest Minister, Mr. Zulkifli Hasan, responded by suspending APRIL operations on Kampar pending a review of the company's permits. Subsequently, global paper giant UPM, cancelled their APRIL contract. Two weeks later Greenpeace targeted APRIL rival, Sinar Mas owned APP, by stopping export operations at their giant paper mill in Perawang, Riau after releasing satellite and photo evidence of APP clearing forest just south of the Kampar Peninsula. Greenpeace actions over the last five weeks have resulted in 25 foreign activists deported or ordered to leave Riau, and dozens of Indonesian activists still being questioned by police.

Indonesia is the world's third largest climate polluter after China and the US, mainly as a result of the ongoing destruction of its forests and their peat soils. Globally, a million hectares of forests are destroyed every month - that is an area the size of a football pitch every two seconds. Significant funds are urgently needed to end tropical deforestation in Indonesia and around the world. This must be a central part of any climate agreement.

"Our work over the last five weeks with local communities to protect the Kampar Peninsula has shown world leaders that forest protection is an important piece of the solution if the world is to avert climate chaos. World leaders cannot waste any more time in delivering a fair, ambitious and legally binding climate deal in December. We will continue to press our demands for such a deal to include a commitment to set up a global fund to end deforestation in countries like Indonesia." added Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Forest campaigner.