Indonesia indigenous groups awarded for conservation

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post 14 Dec 15;

A local tribe from East Kalimantan and a green group from Belitung, Bangka-Belitung province, have won prestigious UN Development Program (UNDP) green awards for their efforts to protect the environment and advance sustainable development.

The Dayak Benuaq tribe from Muara Tae village in West Kutai, East Kalimantan, won the 2015 Equator Prize Award for protecting its forests from the encroachment of palm oil companies and coal mining firms.

The local green group Belitung Conservation Community, meanwhile, won the award for its work in rehabilitating, protecting and sustainably managing coastal resources in the province.

Representatives from the two groups joined members of 16 indigenous communities at a ceremony at the Mogador Theater in Paris last week to receive their awards. The ceremony was part of numerous sideline events at the COP21 climate conference in Paris.

Joining the winners to receive the awards were Hollywood superstar and environmental activist Alec Baldwin, UNDP administrator Helen Clark and Frances Seymour from the Center for Global Development.

The Dayak Benuaq tribe started its conservation efforts after losing 8,000 hectares of a total 12,000 ha of customary forests between 1993 and 2013 to mining and palm oil companies.

The local administration has deemed the tribe, which is now dealing with health problems and food and water shortages resulting from massive deforestation, as “antidevelopment” for rejecting a government request to give up its remaining 4,000 ha of forest to coal and palm oil companies.

The Belitung Conservation Community, meanwhile, was honored for its projects in the management of coral reefs, mangroves, fishing zones and tropical forests on the island.

The Equator Initiative, which is funded by the UNDP, said the group’s efforts had led to improved livelihoods and the restoration of a unique marine and coastal ecosystem.

Clark said that the two communities, along with 16 other winners, were true warriors in the fight against climate change.

“Our winners are not just sitting waiting for the new agreement. They are doing whatever they can to adapt to climate change and achieve sustainability for their community. They are thinking globally although they are acting locally. Their efforts are inspiring,” Clark said in her speech to honor the awardees.

Seymour, meanwhile, said indigenous people had played indispensable roles in protecting ecosystems.

“The evidence is clear that the presence of indigenous people is consistently associated with lower deforestation,” she said.

Baldwin said that the groups’ accomplishments could set an example for people around the world.

“I hope that you will each take the stories of the winners’ achievement and ingenuity with you to your respective sphere of influence,” he said.

Indonesia not dependent on international agenda: Environment minister
Antara 15 Dec 15;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is not depending on international agenda when it comes to preserving its environment, Minister of Environment Siti Nurabaya said here on Monday.

"With or without international agenda, we must ensure preservation of environment in line with the mandate of the countrys 1945 Constitution," she said after attending a national meeting on "Adiwiyata," the environment education program, at her office.

She said Indonesias interest in the international world is linked with atmosphere integration with regard to physical environment problems such as river environment and tree felling.

International agreements like the recent Paris Agreement on climate change must serve to encourage the government in issuing even better policies, she said.

One hundred and ninety-five countries at the 21st UN Conference of Parties recently agreed to issue the Paris Agreement.

This agreement covers mitigation efforts to reduce emissions quickly to below 2 degrees Celsius, or 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible, implementing transparent carbon calculation and reduction of emissions.

The agreement also includes adaptation efforts by strengthening the capability of countries to overcome the impact of climate change, strengthening efforts to restore environmental damages or losses accrued due to climate change and extend assistance including funding countries to develop green and sustainable economies.

On the occasion, the environment ministry handed over Adiwiyata awards to 213 elementary, 176 junior high, 60 senior high and 40 senior high vocational schools.

Awards were also given to 11 schools which won in the green school competition and to 20 regions for implementation of climate change neighborhood program.(*)

Villages awarded for climate change mitigation
The Jakarta Post 15 Dec 15;

The Environment and Forestry Ministry has named 20 villages in the country winners of this year’s Climate Village Program (Proklim), awarding their initiatives to implement climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.

The ministry’s director general for climate change mitigation, Nur Masripatin, said on Monday that the villages had been awarded for concrete efforts on climate change mitigation, such as waste management techniques and recycling, energy conservation as well as forest fire prevention.

“They have shown us how to adapt to climate change and take concrete action to protect their environment from damage,” Nur said.

The ministry has been running the Proklim program since 2012 to encourage active participation of local communities at the neighborhood, hamlet or village level in dealing with climate change.

Nur also said that, in the long run, the program could contribute to reducing carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020.

She said the ministry planned to award 2,000 villages by 2019.

“Until this year, we have awarded 38 villages. You can imagine that we really need to rush to reach the target in the next four years,” Nur said.

This year, 174 villages had joined the competition, and the winners were announced after several stages of selection.

One of the winners is the village of Bono Tapung in Riau’s Rokanhulu regency, which was awarded for its biogas program.

Mahdi, a leading public figure in the village who initiated the biogas production in 2009, said that he produced biogas from the fermentation of cow dung which he collected daily.

“The biogas is now regularly used by most villagers for household needs, such as for cooking and lighting,” Mahdi said, adding that the village already had nine biogas production plants.

Another winner, Setya Negara village in Kuningan regency, West Java, was awarded for its Masyarakat Peduli Api (people who are careful with fire) group, which has been active since 2007.

The village’s economic and development division head, Kusri, said that the group was responsible to take care of a patch of forest in their village, which is located on the foot of the Ciremai volcanic mountain, the highest mountain in West Java.

“The group takes care of the forest, particularly during the dry season when the forest is prone to fire. They will do anything to preserve the source of water, because the forest is our source of life,”
Kusri said.

Nur stressed that the award winners could set an example for other communities.

“They could use social media, such as Facebook, through which they could post pictures of their activities, or by holding training coursing and consulting other villages. The point is, their initiatives should not cease,” she said. (foy)