URGENT CALL FOR ACTION 4 days to save beyond 1.2 million hectares of forest in Sumatra

  • by: RANA AZZAM
  • target: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations

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Aceh is preparing to open over 1, 2 million hectares of protected forest to make way for mining, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion. Its the equivalent of forest 17 times the size of Singapore, yet the Aceh government is currently fast-tracking new law for the spatial plan, and this new spatial plan will legitimize the disaster of destroying the last of Sumatra’s great forests, and laying the final blow to the Sumatran Rhinos, Elephants, Orangutans and Tigers once roaming Sumatran forest to become something only found in Zoos or history books.

The chairman of Aceh Parliament spatial planning committee, Tgk. Anwar recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that the proposed plan would reduce Aceh total forest cover from its existing coverage of 68% of Aceh total land area to merely 45%, representing the destruction of around 1,2 million hectare, including the entire Tripa Peat Swamp Swamp, major parts of Leuser Ecosystem which is also protected under National Spatial Planning Law 26/2007 juncto Government Regulation 26/2008, and areas within the UNESCO World Heritage Tropical Forests of Sumatra.

This planned destruction is the result of a ‘perfect storm’ of planning failures. Firstly, the end of the ‘Norway Moratorium’ protecting Primary Forest and Peat Swamp, secondly the cancellation of ‘Moratorium on logging’ initiated by former governor Irwandi.

Tgk. Anwar, in his interview with the Sydney Morning Herald on Jan 15, 2013 have stated “The nature of the logging moratorium is that its temporary, so it can be revoked anytime” – validating the destructive path Aceh government is going to take on its forest protection. The two events (end of Norway Moratorium and Moratorium on logging), combined with huge reduction in forest protection designation, meaning forest area previously protected for their natural ecological services, such as preventing landslides and mitigating floods, will now be opened for massive land clearing to make way for mining, plantations, roads, logging and palm oil expansion.

The academic advisor for Aceh Governor, Dr. Irfan, has stated in theSydney Morning Herald on Jan 15, 2013 that with the new spatial plan, “there will be more areas given for the people”. Alarmingly, areas that are proposed for ‘community plantation and settlement’ are areas currently protected with the status of wildlife corridors. This means, community are being sacrificed and human-wildlife conflict will happen more frequently at escalating scale. At the same time, it also means that the iconic megfauna of Sumatra, including Tigers, Elephant, Rhinos and Orangutan will be pushed closer to extinction.

We are asking YOU, to voice this concern to the Governor of Aceh Zaini Abdullah and the Vice Governor of Aceh Muzakkir Manaf to reconsider pushing such destruction onto their province, and also to ask the donor representatives of the world, who have invested so much already to the protection of Aceh forest, to assist with the funding and technical support for the Aceh government to revisit and revise this potential disaster. European Union has expressed interest to assist Aceh to keep protecting its forest, let them know you care too!

Attached below is downloadable .pdf file that needs your personal or organizational signature, please print, sign and fax this document to these numbers:


Indonesian Government:

Governor of Aceh: +62-651-7553048

Presidential Working Unit for Supervision and Control of Development: +62-21-2314147

Anti Corruption Commission: +62-21-5290 5592

Key International Embassy:

Embassy of Sweden : +62-21-5762691

Embassy of Norway : +62-21-5761537 or Fax: + 62-21-2965 0001

Embassy of Denmark : +62-21-5761535

Embassy of Finland : +62-21-5761631 or Fax: +62-361-287242

UNESCO: +33-1-45 68 55 70

Important Notes/update:

We have seen and heard the comments from the good folks who have tried to fax but had problems. What we’ve found is two of the numbers to the Governors office remained problematic, but the one left worked each time.

The embassy fax numbers didn’t work everytime, but did sometimes. We’ve unable to explain why sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. But we do know the embassy team is one of our strongest allies at the moment, and every fax they get strenghtens their argument next time they meet with the Governernor that he needs to stop the spatial plan, and review the advisors he has to start the process again to ensure the protected areas get full protection!

External Links:

Indonesian governor proposes opening protected areas to logging – Mongabay, 12 Feb 2013

Extinction risk as Aceh opens forests for logging – Sydney Morning Herald, 15 Jan 2013

Uni Eropa dukung perlindungan hutan aceh – Hukumonline, 08 Mar 2013

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