PEKANBARU, 5 June 2015 --- Commitment on Sustainable Forest Management Policy (SFMP) 2.0 that recently launched by Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) on 3 June 2015 is not a blank cheque nor a public relation stunt as usual to business world and public in whole. It is indeed a concept on paper that must be applied on the ground and it needs a tight monitoring by stakeholders, an NGO coalition say.
Eyes on the Forest coalition emphasizes in an outspoken tone that the new commitment by APRIL called SFMP 2.0 as a huge challenge that should be realized in the field, just like to settle down many social conflicts entirely against communities, to protect peatlands ecosystem including supporting a 40-centimeter height of peat surface from the ground as the Government rules, even to restore degraded once forested peat and High Conservation Value areas as published by EoF they are deforested by APRIL.
“Social conflicts involving APRIL and communities in many concessions in Riau, North Sumatra, even in Kalimantan, should be settled down in wholly and entirely, to prove that their new policy sounds promising,” says Riko Kurniawan, Director Executive of Walhi-Riau, member and founder of Eyes on the Forest.
Riko said that conflicts emerge not only on Pulau Padang, but also on Rupat island, Rangsang island, Kampar Peninsula, also in North Sumatra, and other concessions of APRIL’s suppliers as well as PT RAPP that generally have no settlements. “We obviously do not want that the conflict settlements are shortlisted in two-three concessions for a PR stunt to market, but also there should be solution of conflicts to supply chain of APRIL/RGE in all over the world,” Riko said. “There must be robust concept and real implementation on the ground.”
APRIL promised there would be no more deforestation in forested land and peatland since 15 May 2015. “We are eager to look up its milestones in details for the SFMP 2.0 to prove APRIL’s strong willingness,” says Woro Supartinah, coordinator of Jikalahari, member and founder of EoF.
Woro says APRIL should support Government Regulation in peat ecosystem protection and management that stipulated on Peraturan Pemerintah number 71 year 2014, where set 40 cm as the maximum height for the allowed water surface to manage in peatlands. “The stance where APRIL constantly insists to endorse the PP 71 revision for a 100-cm height of peat water surface will show their sustainable commitment has double standard and we are deeply regretful,” she warned.
Peat Expert Working Group (PEWG) should not repeat ‘APRIL ideology’ in exploiting peat by jargons that endorsed by academicians that their environmental commitment for peat protection is highly questionable. “It is time for PEWG not to repeat mistakes done by academicians who are not have integrity to uphold peat protection, due to they prefer peat exploitation rather than protection,” says Riko Kurniawan.
The coalition urges APRIL/RGE to apply fundamental changes in their engagement to stakeholders, says Nursamsu of WWF-Indonesia. “To listen much is definitely important, at least it will be elegant initial step to dialog with communities and civil society organizations in attempt to make solutions of many problems and conflicts,” say Nursamsu.
EoF calls on APRIL to provide broader participation by communities as the people should be also subject for forest management and should have play role actively in decision making, and not only an object for CSR gifts by companies which are temporary and unsustainable.