Civil Society Organizations Statement on Asia Pacific Bonn Challenge Conference 2017
On May 9-10, 2017, the city of Palembang, South Sumatra, hosted the Asia Pacific Bonn Challenge Conference. Bonn Challenge is avoluntary global effort to recover 150 million hectares of degraded land in the world by 2020.The program was organized and launched by Germany and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Bonn on 2 September 2011. The approach used in restoration is by building global partnerships and focusing on landscape.
In COP 21-UNFCCC Paris December 2015, Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) successfully lobbied the Bonn Challenge to be involved in the forest and land restoration agenda. It is said that this is part of a private sector commitment that has been doing business in extractive industries on climate change, saving the environment, saving forests and peat lands, and solving conflicts. WALHI assesses landscape-based restoration initiatives in at least five provinces namely South Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, West Kalimantan and East Kalimantan, no more than a green washing effort from APP and other corporations which proven to be failed to manage natural resources, with indications of forest fires and other ecological disasters, conflict and poverty. This landscape initiative is also part of a corporate scenario for controlling forests in the name of restoration, and certainly part of the land banking motive. This is "green" Neoliberalism.
The APP-driven landscape-based restoration agenda is no more than a greenwashing attempt aimed at manipulating public opinion about their corporate images. It can be recalled in 2015 that forest and land fires in South Sumatra Province are so large and the majority of it occur in the concession areas of pulp and paper industry and palm oil plantations. In the concession area of APP suppliers, at least fire occurred in more than 250,000 hectare. APP is proven to be failed and no longer credible to address climate change.
The APP involvement in restoration agenda is an attempt to transfer the “sins” that they have done. They simply ignore the facts of environmental crime, conflict, and various violations of human rights. The Indonesian government, especially local governments, is often blinded by the huge funding from APP to be included in the restoration agenda. In fact, APP is manipulating public opinion in pursuance of government and public forget about the crimes committed by APP and other land-based industries. The existence of APP and various efforts undertaken as a way to weaken the law enforcement agenda by the government, making law enforcement process against APP runs slowly. Not only APP benefited from this process, but also other pulp and paper industries such as Marubeni, as well as the palm oil plantations.
Corporations use environmental issues and climate change a new commodity to continue to accumulate profits for its business interests. The landscape-based restoration initiative involving corporations is false solution to save the environment.
Therefore we express the following demands:
- We demand APP and land-based industrial corporations to be responsible and restore forests and peatland ecosystems they have damaged for their business interests. Stop to divert their responsibilities to the state and people, stop greenwashing, stop deforestation
- We urge the government to enforce the law against alleged violations of law and human rights violations. Revoke APP and corporate licenses that have proven incapable of managing natural resources. The government must not affected by the manipulative efforts undertaken by APP, as well as other land-based industries. No longer involved corporations in addressing climate change in various global initiatives and agenda of climate change.
- We urge the government to immediately demand the responsibility of APP and other corporations for violations of law, deforestation and forest fires. Forcing corporations to restore forests and peatlands ecosystems they have damaged.
- The government should immediately took over the corporate land granted through licensing and handed over to the people to be managed in an equitable and sustainable way, as an effort to accelerate the implementation of the Agrarian Reform and Social Forestry Agenda.
In this statement, we also call the public not to be fooled by branding of saving forests and peatlands through donations that will be raised by corporations from consumers who buy APP products and corporations that caused forest fires and violation of human rights, because they are actually transferring the responsibility of forest destruction caused by their poor practice to the consumers. (end) Asia Pacific Bonn Challenge Conference
Palembang, South Sumatera May 8, 2017
- Yuyun Harmono, Climate Change and Global Issue Campaigner.
Mobile phone: +62-81385072648
. Email; [email protected]
Hadi Jatmiko, Director of WALHI South Sumatera
Mobile phone: +62-81310068838. Email; [email protected]