Rainbow Warrior Arrives in Indonesia

Feature story - January 21, 2004
Greenpeace Flagship MV 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.

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 oceans, many of which suffer from massive destruction.

Greenpeace will call on delegates at the CBD to propose strong action to stop the destruction of the world's ancient forests and oceans. 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 Indonesia.

"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 rainforests.

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.

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