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Greenpeace launches Forest Defenders Camp in Indonesia


Greenpeace today opened the Forest Defenders Camp (FDC) in Riau Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, as part of its international effort to protect the world’s remaining forests and the global climate prior to the Kyoto protocol climate negotiations taking place in Bali in December.
The deforestation rates in Indonesia are the highest amongst the world’s major forest nations, (1) and according to recent estimates Indonesia is the country with the third largest greenhouse gas emissions after China and the United States, mainly due to the destruction of peatland forests. (2) Deforestation accounts for approximately one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. (3)

In collaboration with local communities in Riau, Greenpeace will bear witness and document the rampant destruction of the peatland forests in Riau. (4) Volunteers at the FDC will also engage in spotting and fighting forest fires, conduct peatland depth surveys and undertake a comprehensive assessment of biodiversity in the area.

Mr Ali Mursyid the community leader of Kuala Cenaku (village close to the FDC) made this statement at the opening of the camp. “Our people consider the forests a sacred inheritance from our ancestors and we have an obligation to protect it because it is our source of life. We are now trying to save our remaining forests at any cost and are committed to rehabilitating whatever others have destroyed.”

The main camp structure, the Balai Adat, is a traditional Sumatran community meeting house located on community land. The area surrounding the camp has recently been cleared of forest and peatlands have been destroyed to make way for oil palm plantations.

The work and documentation undertaken over coming months will highlight the urgency of ending deforestation, preventing biodiversity loss and combating climate change in the run up to Indonesia hosting the next round of Kyoto Protocol negotiations in Bali in December.

“As we launch this initiative, the forests in Indonesia are being destroyed. This has to end. The Indonesian government must act and, before December’s Kyoto Protocol meeting in Bali, commit to a moratorium on conversion and destruction of Indonesian peatland forests and ensure the implementation of an effective action plan against forest fires,” said Hapsoro, Forest Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia who is currently at the forest camp.

Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to commit to a moratorium on deforestation and industrial logging; a review of laws, governance and law enforcement; and the implementation of a responsible and just land-use planning system.

“We need international action to end deforestation. Agreement on this must be included in the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol. Protecting the world’s remaining forests will significantly reduce climate change, maintain the livelihood of millions of people who depend on forests and protect a huge amount of the world’s biodiversity,” said Sue Connor, Greenpeace International forests campaigner.

Taking action to reduce deforestation must be part of the ’Bali Mandate’, which would establish the ambition, content, process and timetable for negotiating the next phase of international action against climate change due to be concluded by 2009.

Stabilising the world’s climate depends on countries making deep cuts in their energy-related emissions and completely halting deforestation.


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