In Brief... DTE 83, December 2009

Down to Earth No.83, December 2009

Hydro-dam for Papua

Papua's provincial administration has announced plans to develop a hydro power project with a maximum capacity of 2000MW to provide electricity and support infrastructure development.

The project will be financed by the provincial administration and a number of other investors, according to a November report by International Water and Dam Construction.

According to a separate local news source, Tabloid Jubi, Paniai district head has confirmed that work to construct a hydro-dam in Komauto will begin next year. Apart from electricity the dam will power cement works in Timika and support tourism development in Paniai. Timika is located near the giant US-UK operated Freeport-Rio Tinto copper and gold mine. (, Jubi 30/Nov/09.


Indigenous rights

The Indonesian government is likely to recognise communal rights and the role of indigenous people in environmental management and protection, said Indonesia's new Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta at a workshop on communal rights jointly organised by the Environment Ministry and the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) in December. Hatta said that recognising communal rights was crucial to ending frequent conflicts with mining and forestry companies. He said the workshop was expected to provide input for a review of related public policy.

AMAN is calling for a new law that acknowledges the rights of indigenous people and protects their traditional knowledge. (Jakarta Post 4/Dec/09)


High Conservation Values and the RSPO

A new report on High Conservation Value (HCV) zoning in oil palm plantations was launched at the RSPO meeting in November. This shows how RSPO procedures plus legal processes in Indonesia are failing to protect peoples' lands and other areas of high conservation value. HCV areas include areas critical to maintain rare and endangered species, ecosystems and landscapes, secure essential environmental services and areas critical to local livelihoods and cultural identities.

The Report is by Forest Peoples Programme, Sawit Watch, HuMa and Wild Asia.(


Privatising the coasts

'Selling the Seas' a film produced by The Ecologist Film Unit with the Indonesian NGO KIARA and the UK-based Forest Peoples Programme exposes the growing public opposition to the Indonesian government's plans to clear a further 700,000 hectares of coast, much of it mangrove, threatening the livelihoods of fisherfolk and other coastal peoples. KIARA is demanding that northern supermarkets and certifiers pay more attention to the harsh social and environmental costs of inappropriate, industrial shrimp and prawn production.

The film can be accessed via