Protecting Indonesia’s Environment a Delicate Balancing Act

By webadmin on 08:45 pm Jan 29, 2013
Category Archive

Samantha Magick

Indonesia’s peoples and government are often much-maligned for their attitude toward environmental sustainability, but a representative of the World Wildlife Fund is aiming to show that the nation is actually trailblazing the course toward a better environment.

Lida Pet-Soede, head of the WWF’s Coral Triangle Global Initiative, will kick off the Indonesian Heritage Society’s latest evening lecture series at Erasmus Huis on Tuesday with a discussion on the ways in which Indonesia is leading the region and the world in sustainability.

She says positive changes in Indonesia are visible, even to those of us who pay close attention to packaging in the seafood sections of some Jakarta supermarkets, which now label fish that have been caught sustainably.

In a presentation accompanied by a range of gorgeous and sobering images of Indonesia’s diverse forest and marine environments, Pet-Soede will begin by providing context, including recent rates of deforestation, marine degradation and projected economic growth rates. She will also cover the Indonesian government’s international commitments to a “pro-growth, pro-job, pro-poor and pro-environment” development strategy.

Indonesia’s commitment to improving environmental management ranges from the well-documented, such as its leadership in the Coral Triangle Initiative on coral reefs, fisheries and food security, which involves five other maritime nations, to the more obscure, such as a project with a mission to conserve 222,000 square kilometers of rainforest on Kalimantan, also known as Borneo.

“While for the island of Sumatra, strategic planning for sustainable development has come too late and most of the original forest habitat is gone … the Heart of Borneo story is a great example where strategic planning, when implemented right, can prevent more loss of critical and highly valuable original forest, just in time,” she says.

Pet-Soede also points to the government’s decision to impose a moratorium on logging while mechanisms around payment for compensation for carbon sequestration are negotiated, as a positive development. She says the moratorium is likely to be extended as negotiations continue.

In the maritime realm she talks about the efforts of some local supermarkets to source sustainably caught and certified seafood, and the use of an innovative new hook, pioneered in Indonesia, that has dramatically cut down on the bycatch of sea turtles.

“Two-thirds of Indonesia is blue [ocean]. Its expansive coral reefs host more than 600 species of hard coral. Indonesia has 37 percent of marine species,” the scientist says, regarding the importance of protecting sea life. Its marine diversity is extraordinary, but it is shared between nations, hence the need for collaboration, she adds.

Pet-Soede will also talk of the political opportunities afforded by Indonesia’s participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a regional business forum scheduled for Bali in March. These collaborations offer Indonesia a chance to improve the state of the environment.

Perhaps of greatest interest is how individuals can contribute to a sustainable environment. Pet-Soede has several suggestions, which she’ll reveal at Tuesday’s talk. She also adds that saving the environment goes beyond Earth Day, where people worldwide celebrate by going without electricity for one hour. She says the focus this year is extending the philosophies of Earth Day well beyond the largely symbolic hour without power. Earth Day 2013 will challenge people to make even bigger commitments to sustainable living.

Indonesian Heritage Society Lecture Series

Jan. 29: Indonesia: Balancing Biodiversity, Natural Heritage and Economic Development  With Lida Pet-Soede

Feb. 5: Power to the People: Ibeka [The People Centered Economic and Business Institute]  With Tri Mumpuni

Feb. 19: History Under Indonesia’s New Order: The Making of the Lubang Buaya Narrative  With Yosef Djakababa

Feb. 26: The New Frontier: Building a Collection of Southeast Asian Art  With Deborah Iskandar

March 5: Delights of Trekking in Indonesia: Impressions of an Aging Mountaineer  With Nicholas Hughes

Erasmus Huis
Jalan Rasuna Said Kav. S-3,
Kuningan, South Jakarta
For more information, call 021 572 5870
All lectures begin at 7 p.m.
An entrance donation of Rp 30,000 is requested.