NGOs Discover govt lies

Indonesia: NGOs discovergovt lies 
  in Earth Summit country report 

21 September 2002


NGOs discover govt lies inEarth Summit country report

JAKARTA (JP): An allianceof non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has said it uncovered numerous lies inthe country report delivered by the government in the World SustainableDevelopment Summit (WSSD) in Johannesburg earlier this month. Speaking at amedia conference, the Indonesian People Forum (IPF) demanded that NabielMakarim, the state minister of the environment, withdraw and correct the report,otherwise the government would face a lawsuit for deceiving the public.

“It is shameful thatNabiel Makarim tried to impress the world with the many lies told at the EarthSummit for obtaining funds from donors. He should be held responsible for hisactions,” said E.G. Togu Manurung, a member of IPF who is also the directorof Forest Watch Indonesia.

IPF comprises, amongothers, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), IndonesianBiodiversity Foundation (Kehati) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The 98-page countryreport, which comes in the form of a book and a compact disc, contains 39 issuesin sustainable development in Indonesia. It was distributed to all countriestaking part in the Earth Summit in Johannesburg between 26 August and 4September 2002.

Togu said the governmentlied to the world as it presented data revealing that only between 200,000hectares and 5 million hectares of forests were destroyed due to fires between1997 and 1998.

Citing data from theNational University of Singapore, which used satellite imagery to measure theextent of the damage, WWF and the Integrated Forest Fires Management (IFFM),Togu said the actual size of forest destruction reached 10 million hectares.

In health, he said, thegovernment censored the infant mortality rate by providing only part of thedata. The government reported that the rate declined from 145 per 1,000 babiesin 1967 to 52 per 1,000 in 1995.

“Why didn’t thegovernment show the latest data in 2001? I am suspicious that it was trying tohide the fact that during the crisis, starting in 1997, the mortality rateincreased,” he said.

Another IPF member NinaDwi Sasanti of the Networking on Coast and Sea (Jaring Pela) said the governmentdid not incorporate into the country report the destruction of many marinespecies due to the disposal of waste from submarines. The government also didnot include the country’s mining record despite its major contribution toenvironmental damage, another IPF member said.

Longgena Ginting, the IPFcoordinator, who is also the Walhi executive director, said the government notonly lied in the country report, but also did not follow through on its dealwith IPF to attach the alliance’s version with the report. The government didnot involve the public in contributing to the report nor did it carry out aproper promotional campaign about it prior to the Earth Summit, he said.

“To get the countryreport was also difficult,” he said.

(published by The JakartaPost)


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