Indonesia Sustainable Development News Digest

Starling Resource produces a bi-weekly Indonesia Sustainable Development News Digest email for circulation to a broader cohort of practitioners, funders, and experts. The purpose of the digest is to present readers with a brief, easily digestible summary of significant, recent news items, reports, and papers relevant to conservation, sustainable development, and the environment in Indonesia, compiled from domestic Indonesian and international media sources. The digest is produced once every two weeks throughout the year. If you are interested in receiving the digest, please let us know by email at or subscribe here

News Digest
2017 – 6: 6 March 2017

Marine & Fisheries

Indonesia nabs 17 Vietnamese and Philippine vessels for illegal fishing
— Jakarta Globe 2017-03-21
Seventeen Vietnamese and Philippine vessels have been seized for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries announced.  The seizures took place in the Riau Islands and North Sulawesi.  The 57 Vietnamese and 17 Filipino crew members face prosecution, with possible imprisonment for up to six years and maximum fines of Rp 20 billion ($1.5 million), the ministry spokesman said. The report cited a preliminary result from a study by the Sustainable Fisheries Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, showing that the crackdown on illegal fishing will result in tripling the fish biomass in Indonesian waters, allowing local fishers to double their catches in a best-case scenario.

Fishermen win in reclamation trial, Jakarta provincial govt file an appeal
— Republika Online, 2017-03-17
An administrative court revoked the reclamation license for F, I, and K Islands in the Jakarta Bay reclamation project.  The traditional fishermen community (KNT) and the environmental organization Walhi brought the suit (15/G/LH/2016/PTUN.JKT) along with the Coalition to Save Jakarta Bay (KSTJ), claiming the reclamation project causes water pollution, decreases local fishermen’s income, and would worsen flood disasters.  In addition, sands for reclamation were taken from Banten, impacting about 750 hectares of milkfish production area. The Jakarta provincial government has appealed the decision, aiming to proceed with the IDR 4,000 trillion project, originally promulgated in 1995.

Ministry to provide insurance to all Indonesian fishermen
— Reiny Dwinanda Republika 2017-03-21
Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti announced that the Ministry will provide insurance to all Indonesian fishermen. Fisher families will receive up to Rp 200 million (US$14,815) in compensation for a death at sea, Rp 160 million in case of death following a land accident, and Rp 100 million for permanent disability due to an accident on land.  “This insurance does not come under the Social Security Agency’s scheme, but is a special insurance for fishermen,” the minister commented.  However, the Minister emphasized that compensation will not be provided to fishermen using blast fishing techniques or damaging coral reefs.

International Fish Force Academy Officially Opens
— Diko Oktara 2017-03-16 
The International Fish Force Academy of Indonesia (IFFAI) officially opened on March 16, 2017. The academy is a joint effort by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Ministry’s Task Force 115 and the Indonesian National Police (Polri). IFFAI is an international-standard school for the study of fishery-related criminal activities. There are currently 24 investigators and public prosecutors enlisted from the Ministry, Police, Navy, and Supreme Court. Participants will be trained at the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) in Semarang.

Indonesia to build integrated maritime industry and fisheries center (SKPT) in Nunukan
- News Desk Jakarta Post 2017-03-24
Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti announced that the Ministry will build an integrated maritime industry and fisheries center (Sentra Kelautan dan Perikanan Terpadu, SKPT) in Nunukan, North Kalimantan, in 2017.  “The SKPT program is a concrete realization of the government’s program as stated in Nawacita to develop Indonesia from the peripheries by strengthening villages and local areas,” the minister said.  The government has announced that it plans to develop 12 locations as SKPT during 2017.

Crabmeat Importer Blue Star Implements Cloud-Based Supply Chain Tracking for Indonesian Blue Crab
— SeafoodNews 2017-03-16 
Miami-based crabmeat producer and importer Blue Star Foods has launched a cloud based fisheries data collection platform for the blue swimming crab it sources from Indonesia. The mobile based data collection system integrates three components to provide a completely traceable supply chain, Blue Star said in a press release.

Crabmeat Importer Blue Star Foods Forms First Blue Swimming Crab Crab Co-Op in Indonesia 
— SeafoodNews 2017-03-14
Miami-based crabmeat importer Blue Star Foods and its overseas supplier PT Blue Star Nusantara (BSN) teamed up with Wilderness Markets to form the first blue swimming crab harvester cooperative in Indonesia. The formation of the co-op was announced at the Fish Landing Base (PPI) complex, Labuhan Maringgai district.

Thai Union donates $50,000 to Indonesian FIPs
Undercurrent News 2017-03-14
Thai Union Group has donated $50,000 to Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) in East Indonesia. The move is in line with its sustainability strategy, 'SeaChange', and its aim to ensure 100% of its branded tuna is sustainably sourced, with a commitment of achieving a minimum of 75% by 2020.

Forestry & Land Use

Kraft Heinz Releases New Palm Oil Policy, But Some NGOs Are Skeptical
Leon Kaye TriplePundit 2017-03-22 
On Tuesday, the $26 billion food giant Kraft Heinz  announced a commitment to create a more sustainable supply chain, in part by pledging that 100% of its palm oil supply would be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). So far, NGOs have offered a tempered response. RAN welcomed the new stance but noted that “..the policy lacks a deadline for … implementation.” Mightly Earth Campaigns Director Deborah Lapidus stated that “Kraft Heinz’s new palm oil policy falls far short… Instead of a clear plan for sourcing 100% deforestation-free and exploitation-free palm oil, like its competitors Kellogg’s and Nestle did years ago, Kraft Heinz is taking a baby step of buying palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.”

Jokowi reiterates commitment to indigenous rights
— Philip Jacobson Mongabay 2017-03-23
Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with a contingent of indigenous leaders in Jakarta to reaffirm his commitment to their civil rights movements. The meeting came a few days after the Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) staged its 5th Congress in North Sumatra. Jokowi promised to accelerate passage of a long-awaited bill on indigenous rights, and said he would instruct the Ministry of Home Affairs to push district heads around the country to recognize indigenous groups in their districts.

First woman to head world’s largest indigenous people’s alliance in Indonesia
— Philip Jacobson Mongabay 2017-03-20
Rukka Sombolinggi was named to be the next Secretary-General of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) at the close of its 5th Congress, becoming the first woman to head the organization since its founding in 1999.  Sombolinggi is a Torajan from the Sulawesi highlands. The next Congress of AMAN in 2022 will be held somewhere in the Papua region.

Green economy becomes more concrete in Sumatra
— Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak The Jakarta Post 2017-03-21
Plagued with illegal logging, forest fires, the uncontrolled development of plantations and mining sites, as well as human settlement, forested areas on the island of Sumatra have been in rapid decline, shrinking to 10.5 million hectares (ha). Presidential Regulation No. 13/2012 on spatial planning designates 40% of Sumatra to be reserved as a habitat for protected animals such as elephants, Sumatran tigers, orangutans, rhinoceros and various kinds of birds, but forest areas currently only account for less than 30% of the total landmass of Sumatra. A pilot project between WWF Indonesia and the Millenium Challenge Account-Indonesia could provide sustainable solutions across the Rimba Corridor, a 3.8 million ha ecosystem stretching across Riau, Jambi and West Sumatra that covers 11 nature conservation areas.

Mitigation program reduces forest fires
— News Desk Jakarta Post 2017-03-15
The Fire Free Alliance (FFA), a group consisting of forestry and agriculture companies and civil society groups said that it had successfully reduced fire incidents in Indonesia by 50-90% during the 2015-2016 period by focusing on community engagement. Established in February 2016, the FFA includes APRIL, Asian Agri, Musim Mas and Wilmar. The fire season of 2015 saw Indonesia’s worst ever haze crisis, but land and forest fires significantly decreased last year, with the total land area burned reduced to 438,360 ha.

Judicial review request filed for East Kalimantan spatial planning bylaw
— N. Adri Jakarta Post 2017-02-28
The Kalimantan Civil Society Coalition (IMS) filed for judicial review by the Constitutional Court of a spatial planning law, alleging unjust area designations that favour investors over the public.  The coalition includes the East Kalimantan Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN EK), the Indonesian forum for the Environment (Walhi) and Greenpeace Indonesia.  “Public spaces plotted by coal miners, palm oil plantations, and industry forests have kicked locals out of their own areas,” a spokesman for the coalition said.  “This bylaw facilitates investment interest instead of public interest.”

Hidden Land, Hidden Risks: Need for Improved Corporate Reporting of Palm Oil Landholdings (Report)
— Sustainable Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT) 2017-3
Growing demand for palm oil has resulted in an increase in production from 17.5 million tons in 1996 to 64.5 million tons in 2016, with a total plantation area covering 20-27 million hectares (ha) worldwide, according to a Sustainable Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit (SPOTT) report by the Zoological Society of London. Research on 50 of the world’s largest palm oil companies revealed a lack of clear definitions for reporting on landholdings and inconsistency in company disclosed data. Out of 8.6 million ha under management, the companies report 5.5 million ha of planted estate and 1.1 million ha by scheme or plasma smallholder areas. Total RSPO-certified areas comprise just over 33% of the total land for oil palm of RSPO member companies assessed. Nearly 900,000 hectare or 10.5% of the total area is unclear use: areas not clearly stated as being planted, unplanted, or set aside for other uses.

Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change (Book)
— Frances Seymour and Jonah Busch, Center for Global Development (2016-12)
Why Forests Why Now? argues that tropical forests are essential for both climate stability and sustainable development, and that payment-for-performance finance for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) represents a viable course of action with potential for success.  Seymour and Busch make the case that make the case to decision-makers in rich countries that rewarding developing countries for protecting their forests is urgent, affordable, and achievable.

Climate Change & Pollution

Downstream from a coal mine, villages in Indonesian Borneo suffer from water pollution
— Yustinus S. Hardjanto and Mongabay 2017-03-23
PT Indominco Mandiri, a subsidiary of the Thai conglomerate Banpu, operates a 25,000 hectare (ha) mining concession in East Kalimantan which produces 9 million tons of coal a year. Since coal mining began at the site in the headwaters of the Santan river, local residents and activists say that the water has become turbid and muddy. Because the quality of water for drinking and irrigation from the river is deteriorating, people are abandoning the areas, according to a local student leader.

Don’t link carbon markets
— Jessica F. Green Nature 2017-03-23
A global network of cap-and-trade systems would deliver greater complexity and fewer emission cuts, New York University’s Jessica F. Green warned. Initial attempts to join up trading schemes in Europe and in California and Quebec have led to price crashes and stability. Links only make carbon markets more interdependent and thus sensitive to changes elsewhere. Short of a central carbon bank, policy-makers should limit links to other carbon markets; policies should be designed to avoid over-allocation of credits, ensure rising prices, and insulate the allocation process from political pressure to provide loopholes and exemption, Green concluded.

Conservation & Protected Areas

Caledonian Sky destroyed 18,882 m2 of pristine Raja Ampat reefs
— News Desk Jakarta Post 2017-03-22
Survey teams from the government and the insurance company for the British-owned Caledonian Sky, which ran aground on coral reefs in West Papus’s Raja Ampat on 4 March, concluded that the ship damaged 18,882 m2 of reef, Arif Havas Oegroseno, Deputy for Maritime Sovereignty at the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister said.

Chief Maritime Minister demands firmer regulations to manage Raja Ampat islands
— Jakarta Globe 2017-03-22
Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan called on the West Papua provincial government to improve its regulations for managing the Raja Ampat islands after a British-owned ship damaged coral reefs there earlier this month.  “We need firmer regulations, since Raja Ampat is our tourism destination that possesses more species of corals [than other sites in the world], Luhut said in Gresik, East Java.

Capacity shortfalls hinder the performance of marine protected areas globally
— David Gill, Michael Mascia, Gabby Ahmadia, Louise Glew, et al Nature 2017-03-26
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly being used globally to conserve marine resources, but it is unclear whether MPAs are being effectively and equitably managed, and how MPA management influences substantive outcomes remains unknown.  The study showed that many MPAs failed to meet thresholds for effective management, with widespread shortfalls in staff and financial resources, the two strongest predictors of conservation impact.  MPAs with adequate staff capacity had ecological effects 2.9 times greater than understaffed projects.


Editorial:  Piracy of Nature
— The Jakarta Post 2017-03-21
In anticipation of increasing biopiracy, the Research and Technology and Higher Education Ministry has tightened restrictions for foreign researchers aiming to study the less explored regions, such as Papua and the Maluku Islands. In the latest reported incident, the participation of Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in a project called “insect-derived anti-infectives from Indonesia” was cancelled as LIPI rejected the agreement document from the prospective partner, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology. The agreement reportedly said Germany alone could claim inventions resulting from the project, which LIPI said was unfair, while the German embassy has stated that Jakarta and Berlin “are striving to make scientific cooperation as transparent and efficient as possible.” 



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