NGOs Urge the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to Comply with Public Information Disclosure Act

Jakarta, 10 June 2015. Several NGOs urge the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) to comply with Public Information Disclosure Act in accordance with the 8th May 2015 Central Information Commission court ruling on information dispute between Forest Watch Indonesia and The Ministry. The Commission granted the request for information by FWI and stated that the types of information requested constitute open documents that should be accessible to public. Instead of complying with the decision of the trial, MoEF raised objection against the decision and appealed to the State Administrative Court (Administrative Court) in Jakarta on 29th May, 2015. MoEF clearly had ignored Law No.14 of 2008 on Public Information Disclosure and also dismissed the government’s vision in implementing the transparency in governance as stated in Nawa Cita.

Public participation in formulating, implementing, and overseeing the implementation of a public policy is a key prerequisite in realizing good governance as mandated in Article 3 of Law No. 14, 2008. The objection document submitted by MoEF to the State Administrative Court Jakarta again used the same arguments stating that the information requested by FWI is confidential corporate data, so it is exempted. The data requested includes forestry planning data such as RKUPHHK, RKTUPHHK, RPBBI and IPK. The data is essential to monitor the performance of forest-related operation that is currently impacting on the destruction of natural resources and the number of conflicts with local/indigenous communities.

Mardi Minangsari, national coordinator of JPIK stated “This is a major step backwards from the government in terms of openness and transparency of forest management. In fact, the government has ratified an international timber trade agreement with the EU that specifically supports full transparency in forest management aspects (including the provision of data and information that is now considered confidential by MoEF). In addition, Timber Legality Verification System currently in effect in Indonesia regulates the presence of independent monitors who oversee the implementation of the regulation as well as ensuring access to public information for monitoring. It is ironic that MoEF denies their own regulation”.

Although MoEF have the right to appeal, but such a move is very disappointing because it has a precedent in the form of a legally binding ruling by the Information Commission (No. 030 / I / KIP-PS-AMA / 2014). Public can perceive the ministry as against disclosure and non-transparent. “I am sure the minister would be wise and withdraw the appeal if she had a complete and objective information. The Minister should also directly lead the disclosure policies within the ministry as they relate to the interests of many parties. Moreover, MoEF is a barometer for the implementation of environment and forestry transparency in the regions “, said Henri Subagiyo, director of ICEL.

Teguh Surya, Greenpeace Forests Politics Campaigner said that this is already the second time this year MoEF refuse a request for information related to forestry management. The first is the request of SHP file and the second is the request of forest planning data. The reason put forward is also always around corporate confidentiality. “MoEF must stand above public interest and not the interests of a handful of entrepreneurs. The move by MoE is contrary to the spirit of the National Movement to Save Natural Resources recently signed by 27 ministries and institutions. Non-disclosure policy increasingly applied by MoEF will unlock greater potential for corruption “.

KLHK objection against the decision of the Information Commission is an evidence of poor governance in Indonesia. Significantly, MoEF’s closing access to data and information has implications on reducing the space for public participation in the monitoring and supervision of planning and forest management. This incident shows the strong alignments of MoEF with private sectors, rather than to protect public interest. “We urge the Minister to immediately prove actualization of Nawa Cita (especially in the aspect of transparency) on the implementation of forestry practices. MoEF should withdraw the appeal to the Jakarta State Administrative Court and immediately provide information requested in accordance with the ruling of the Central Information Commission. If this fails, then MoEF prove that the government’s Mental Revolution is just a jargon. “said Linda Rosalina, campaigner of FWI.

 

Notes to the Editor:
  • Indonesia’s SVLK (Standar Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu/Timber Legality Verification Standard) is a
    requirement to meet timber/product legality made based on agreement between different forestry stakeholders which comprises standards, criteria, indicators, verifier, verification method, and assessment norms.
  • Indonesia-EU Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEGT) partnership agreement has been ratified in Indonesia through Presidential Regulation No. 21 2014.
  • RKUPHHK (Rencana Kerja Usaha Pemanfaatan Hasil Hutan Kayu/Business Work Plan for Forest Timber Use) is a work plan for the whole work area of Izin Usaha Pemanfaatan Hasil Hutan Kayu(IUPHHK/Business Permit for Forest Timber Use) for 10 (ten) years, which includes, among others, forest sustainability, business sustainability, and balance between environment and local community social economic development. (Minister of Forestry Regulation Number P.56/Menhut-II/2009 jo.P. 24/Menhut-II/2011; Minister of Forestry Regulation Number P.62/Menhut-II/2009 jo. P. 24/Menhut-II/2011; Minister of Forestry Regulation Number P.62/Menhut-II/2008 jo. P.14/Menhut-II/2009).
  • RKTUPHHK (Rencana Kerja Tahunan Usaha Pemanfaatan Hasil Hutan Kayu/Annual Work Plan for Forest Timber Use) is a 1 (one) year work plan made according to RKUPHHK. (Minister of Forestry Regulation Number P. 56/Menhut-II/2009 jo. P. 24/Menhut-II/2011; Minister of Forestry Regulation Number P. 62/Menhut-II/2008 jo. P.14/Menhut-II/2009).
  • RPBBI (Rencana Pemenuhan Bahan Baku Industri Primer Hasil Hutan Kayu/Plan for Primary Industrial Material Fulfillment from Forest Timber) is a plan describing about the raw material need and that the raw material supply comes from legitimate source; and the use of raw material and production is in accordance with the permit capacity for forest timber primary industry; and that the raw material supply is guaranteed for 1 (one) year, which is a raw material control system (Minister of Forestry Regulation Number P.0/Menhut-II/2012).
  • IPK (Izin Pemanfaatan Kayu/Timber Use Permit) is a permit to cut down timber and/or pick up non-timber forest produce as consequence of non-forestry permit activity, including from production forest area that can be converted and has been released, production forest area by exchanging forest area, use of forest area with borrow and use permit, and from Area for Other Use which permit has been given. (Minister of Forestry Regulation Number P.62/MenhutII/2014).

Contact for Interview:
Linda Rosalina, FWI Campaigner
Email: linda@fwi.or.id; Phone: +628889044794
Mardi Minangsari, JPIK National Coordinator
Email: minangsari@gmail.com; Phone: +62 818 100 930
Henri Subagiyo, ICEL Director
Email: henrisubagiyo@gmail.com; Phone: +62 81585741001
Teguh Surya, Greenpeace Forest Politics Campaigner
Email: tsurya@greenpeace.org; Phone:+62 819 15191979

 

Lmbg_10Juni2015

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