NGOs protest the certification

EoF News / 26 April 2006

Coalition of environmental NGOs in Riau, including Riau Forest Rescue Network Jikalahari, Walhi Riau, Hakiki, Amar and Yayasan Elang issued a letter of protest to the Board of Constituents Member of LEI on April 4 regarding the certification of Sustainable Plantation Management to PT. RAPP.

According to Vice Coordinator of Jikalahari Ahmad Zazali and Executive Director of Walhi Riau Jhonny S. Mundung (6/4), the protest is based, among other things, on inadequate provision of information to the public in the initial stages.

According to them, PT. Mutu Agung Lestari (MAL) requested no inputs nor comments from entire community in the vicinity of the plantation area of RAPP. Particularly from a total of 85 villages which have been affected by the establishment of the plantation or by the Forestry Minister’s decision No. 137/1997 as part of its assessment of public opinion

“It is clear that much of the information gathered by the assessors and the Expert Team II does not reveal the factual cases on the ground. Beside that, in their publication, RAPP only mentioned that they received certification from LEI, without further mentioning that the score is actually only bronze,” said Ahmad Zazali.

In their protest letter, NGOs also call RAPP to publsih the details of the scores given by the second Expert Panel Team within a week of publication of the letter.

In response to the protest, Public Relation Manager of RAPP Fakhrunnas MA Jabbar on Thursday (6/4) told RIAU TRIBUNE that the certification was seen more as a credit by other institution (LEI) that has nothing to do with RAPP.

“Our works are judged by other parties. Therefore, if you want to know why we received such score, you may want to ask the Ecolabelling institute who did the assessment, and don’t ask us,” said Fakhrunnas.

According to Fakhrunnas, LEI must have its own criteria to base on its assessment to issue the certification and score. “If they think we don’t deserve the certification, then why would they give it to us?,” he said.

He said LEI have done socialization some times ago. Therefore he further denied that the provision of information to the public was inadequate. He said socialization has been done many times to asses whether or not RAPP deserves the certification (by Andi Noviriyanti and Rayan Pribadi)