No Forests for Elections – Stop Deforestation

Feature story - January 22, 2009
Greenpeace today called upon Indonesia’s election committee, Komisi Pemiihan Umum (KPU), to investigate the funding of all political parties in the run up to the 2009 Presidential and legislative elections.

Greenpeace today called upon Indonesia’s election committee, Komisi Pemiihan Umum (KPU), to investigate the funding of all political parties in the run up to the 2009 Presidential and legislative elections.

Over 40 Greenpeace activists, carrying flags of different political parties, deployed a banner 'Stop Pembabatan Hutan Untuk Dana Kampanye' (No Forests for Elections - Stop Deforestation) and chopped down two model trees in front of the KPU office, to symbolise the link between deforestation and the bankrolling of political parties for electoral campaigning.

KPU is the body responsible for running both parliamentary and presidential elections in Indonesia. Greenpeace is calling upon the KPU to exercise their authority to audit the income of all political parties to ensure that no political parties are making deals with the forestry sector in exchange for election campaign funding.

"It is well known that the forestry sector is one of the most important sources for political parties to finance their election campaigns", said Bustar Maitar, Forest campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "Greenpeace is calling upon the KPU to check which parties are being funded by forest destruction as we fear that political party bankrolling comes at the cost of big companies getting the rights to destroy Indonesia's last remaining intact forests".

Greenpeace is also calling upon the Indonesia's Minister of Forestry, Mr. M S Kaban, to reverse his recent announcement that encourages pulp and paper companies to continue to harvest native forestsin 2009 and beyond.

"Last week Indonesia's pulp and paper industry association reported a 40% drop in global demand for their products. It is intriguing therefore that the Ministry of Forestry should continue to allow the pulp and paper industry to destroy more of our intact forest areas. That the Minister's announcement was made in the election year makes us concerned that big business and politicians are collaborating on such decisions and announcements in return for funding party political campaigns. If this happens, we will see these companies operating with impunity and exploiting the political process for their own ends. " said Maitar.

Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian Government to implement an immediate moratorium on any further deforestation to allow sustainable solutions to be worked out with the full consultation of communities, government and businesses.

Indonesia stands to receive billions of dollars of funding to keep its forests standing. The Government urgently needs to halt the country's rampant deforestation to battle climate change, safeguard forest community livelihoods and protect the rich biodiversity.

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