TheJakarta Post 27 September 2002 by Moch. N. Kurniawan The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The government challenged on Wednesday an alliance of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to prove their allegation regarding the manipulation of reports the country presented during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg recently. State Minister for the Environment Nabiel Makarim told reporters here his office had drafted the report based on recognized and official data. “I will invite the alliance to talk to us so we can see who has told lies,” he said. Nabiel insisted the government had no plan to withdraw the country report, which was distributed to all delegations attending the summit early in August. A source with Nabiel’s office said the meeting had been arranged for next week. The Indonesian People’s Forum, which comprises various NGOs concerned with the environment, accused the government of providing questionable data in the country report. Citing an example, it said the Indonesian government claimed that between 200,000 hectares and 1.5 million hectares of forest were destroyed in fires between 1997 and 1998, whereas the area actually affected was as much as 10 million hectares. The forum threatened to file a class action if the report was not withdrawn. The country report consisted of input from a variety of development sectors, including forestry, health and water supply, distributed in the forms of books and compact discs.