Pointing its finger at environmental activists as provocateurs, GAPKI asked to get better informed. Translation of recent press article responding to GAPKI statement on NGO criticisms of the palm Oil Industry in Indonesia.
By Sapariah Saturi, December 3, 2012 9:06 pmLink:http://www.mongabay.co.id/2012/12/03/tuding-aktivis-lingkungan-provokator-gapki-diminta-banyak-belajar/Community member put a sign within the concession area of PT Bumi Pratama Khatulistiwa, a subsidiary of Wilmar International in Kubu Raya District of the Province of Kalimantan Barat. Konflik warga dan perusahaan The conflict between the community and the company has not been settled. The communty accused the company for having broken their promises. Photo: Sapariah SaturiThe Task Force REDD+ even prioritises the 12 cases of forestry crimes dominated by palm oil plantations and minings.THE PRODUCTION of crude palm oil (CPO) in Indonesia came into the attention of national and international environmental activists, since there are still many evidence of violations in the operations of oil palm companies, both towards the environment and towards communities. The Chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) Joefly Bahroeny considers the environmental activists rather as provocateurs disseminating negative caompaigns on the oil palm production in this country.The activist reacted on the accusation by covering up eveidences. Based on it’s statement, GAPKI was alleged for being ignorant towards various evidences on the field showing that the oil palm operations are far from being sustainable.Elfian Effendi, the Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia, is convinced that the allegation towards environmental activest of beeing provocateur proofed that GAPKI has not reviewed the many reports of the State Auditor (BPK). Those reports uncovered diverse state losses and environmental damages caused by the palm oil operations in Indonesia. “The question need to be answered by the Chairman of GAPKI is, whether those reported by the State Auditor revealing the delapidation of palm oil operations in Indonesia is also a form of provocation? Is the Sate Auditor a provocative institution?” said Elfian to Mongabay.co.id in Jakarta, Monday, (3/11/12).He also mentioned that the latest report of the State Auditor this year evaluating the management of palm oil plantation in Indonesia has even revealed that many oil palm companies of large scale business groups have been avowed of conducting crimes in forestry. This audit reports of BPK also show many problems in the Enironmental Impact Assessment (AMDAL) of the palm oil companies. This of course implicated in the oil palm operation towards the environment.“Again the question, whether these findings are to be alleged as provocation by the Chairman of GAPKI?”Elfian suggested that GAPKI review the findings and the recommendation of the State Auditor. After that, it is hoped to reorganise the operation and the management of oil palm plantations in Indonesia in accordance with the findings and the recommendation of the State Auditor. “instead of accusing national and international NGOs as provocateurs, the Chairman of GAPKI should better spend time to review the reports of the State Auditor and use the reports as the principle reference for the reorganisation of the operation and the management of oil palm plantations belonging to the member companies of GAPKI,” said Elfian.He also questioned, whether the audit reports of BPK also considered parts of the trade competition in the international market. “surely not, isn’t it? Since the State Auditor is not related to any business and trade involving CPO or its competiting products. the BPK is the State Auditor of the Republic of Indonesia, not an audit institution of state producing the competiting product to CPO in the international market.”Reaction also came from Zenzi Suhadi, WALHI’s Forest and Large Scale Plantation Campaigner, who said that GAPKI’s allegation against NGOs and communities for conducting black campaign actually confirms that they do and justify any means to conduct violation against human and the environment. He also asked GAPKI to firstly learn about the difinition of human rights and ecology, then to understand that they have been provocating the communities in each conflict such as in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua. “The call NGOs as provocateurs. But what about shooting at communities, grabbing of land and custumary areas, intimidation and criminalisation of hunderts of community members protecting theri rights? Almost all private and state owned palm oil companies went through those processes,” he said. Zenzi added that if buyers and consumers starts reckoning and questioning CPO production processes, this should be an important note for GAPKI to reorganise itself.GAPKI does not only refers to NGOs as provocateurs, it also refers to forest and peatland moratorium initiated by the President as inhibiting. They asked not to extend the moratorium.” GAPKI has to firstly be responsible for the environmental destruction and land grabbing from communities, then they can speak again. If they want to increase production, they must intensify the existing plantations instead of overburdening the state to multiply their fortune,” said Zenzi.The government must start thinking about continuing moratorium. WALHI considers that the coverage of domestic demand for CPO has been more than enough. “The coverage of the global market is the consumers’ affairs to adapt themselves, how to cover their demand.”Palm oil companies are way too spoiled by the Government by granting mass remission on the violation to the Law Nol 41 on Forestry through the Government Regulation No. 60 and 61, 2012. The Task Force REDD+ even prioritises the 12 cases of forestry crimes dominated by palm oil plantations and minings, applying different modus.Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the Head of the Task Force REDD+ said on Monday (22/10/12) that the Task Force REDD+ has received quite a lot reports from communities related to violation of law in the sector of plantation and mining. “Starting with administrative up to serious legal violations. We follow up through continuous coordinating with various legal enforcement institutions,” he said in Jakarta. The Task Force REDD+, he said, keeps coordinationg with the police, the Minsitry of Forestry, the Ministry of Environment and the Attorney General.According to him, the 12 cases are partially still under investigation, while some others have been handed over to the state prosecutors. Three out of nine cases in the plantation sectors have been identified primarily for crimes. Firstly, plantation activities within forest area whithout Forest Conversion Permitn and without Plantation Permit. Secondly, planting without Plantation Permit within moratorium area. Thirdly, land clearing by burning.On Friday (30/11/12), GAPKI’s Chairman Joefly Bahroeny after closing of “The 8th Indonesia Palm Oil Conference and 2013 Price Outlook” at Nusa Dua, Bali, refers to NGOs as provocateurs damaging the image of Indonesian oil palm plantations, leading to destroy the competitiveness of Indonesia in the international market.Joefly admitted that there are bad practicing companies. “But there are also provocateurs creating uncondusive situation. Behind this, there could be certain NGOs making bad of the image of Indonesian plantation.” According to him, those NGOs protesting palm oil are strong related with global business competition. “The interest is clear, because we are the biggest competitors to Europe and America producing sun flowers’ seeds etc.”Prior to this, GAPKI also requested the Government not to extend the moratorium to allow further expansion of oil palm plantations. “We hope that the moratorium will not be extended, since it hampers the expansion of oil palm plantations. This also eliminates the opportunity to fulfill increasing market demands,” said Joefly.The Agriculture Minister Suswono during the event also reacted upon the campaign of world’s activists protesting against palm oil business. He accused the act as negative campaign purely based on business interest.Extending MoratoriumMeanwhile, environmental activists keep on urging to extend the moratorium in line with the achievement plan to reduce carbon emission to 26% in 2020. Among others is the action of Greenpeace’s activists on November 27, 2012. On that particular day, Greenpeace stated their support to the high level delegation from Norway to continue and to increase thier important support to protect Indonesian forest.The delegation was led by the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Norway Haakon Magnus and Cown Princess Mette-Marit, Environmental Minister Bard Vegar Solhjell and some other ministers and interpreneur. “We now urge the Presiden Yudhoyono to ensure the efforts to maximise Norway’s support through enforcement and implementation of the moratorium,” said Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace South East Asia’s Forest Campaigner.The Indonesian Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan is committed to extend the moratorium after it’s two years implementation. “Norway should immediately use this momentum to encourage the Indonesian Government to start a result oriented moratorium, to review existing concession and to conduct governance reform,” said Erika Bjureby, Greenpeace Nordic political advisor.Greenpeace recommends to enforce moratorium by reviewing all logging permit and to expand the moratorium upon all existing peatlands and secondary forests. “Result oriented moratorium is more important rather than time oriented.”Greenpeace also submitted a report on the progress on Indonesia-Norway Agreement in the protection of forest to the Minister Solhjell. The report stated that the progress is considered slow and thare are still open questions, whether the agreement can be achieved on schedule prior to the disbursment of funds for the emission reduction in 2014. Indeed, there are some progress in the support to anti-corruption movement, awareness raising, the production of one reference map, principles of national ownerships, institutional plans and designs.But, the most important matter is yet not fulfilled, which is the moratorium of all new concession upon the conversion of peatlands and natural forests, as well as valid data on damaged land areas.Orangutan mother and infant rescued from an isolated forest in the middle of oil palm plantation. Those orangutans are cornered because of the destruction of their forest and massive reduction of their food source, threthening them to starvation. Photo: OIC