Viewing cable 06JAKARTA3314

06JAKARTA33142006-03-15 06:46:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Jakarta
DE RUEHJA #3314/01 0740646
R 150646Z MAR 06
E.O. 12958: N/A 
¶1. Summary:  The Rhino Conservation Program and the GOI co- 
hosted an "Indonesian Rhino Conservation Strategy Meeting" 
on February 26-27 to discuss strategies for conserving the 
Sumatran and Javan rhinos.  The National Agency for Drug and 
Food Control's (BPOM) December 2005 discovery of 
formaldahyde in foods triggered a wave of public concern. 
On January 17-18, the Ministry of Forestry (MOF) held a 
consultation forum on illegal logging and the illegal timber 
trade.  Indonesian and foreign companies continue to eye 
investments in Indonesia's pulp and paper industries, 
although questions persist about the sustainability of wood 
supply.  On January 4, Minister of Forestry M.S. Kaban 
appointed a first group of about 400 MOF officers to a new 
"Quick Response Special Unit" (SPORC) designed to combat 
illegal logging.  The Jakarta city government began 
enforcing emission tests for cars on February 4, but 
compliance levels appear low.  On December 30, 2005, the 
Jakarta Environmental Management Agency (BPLHD) issued a 
report showing that pollution levels in the city's 13 rivers 
continue to rise.  The GOI and the Government of the 
Netherlands announced that they would cooperate on bio- 
molecular research during the January 11 visit of Dutch 
Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences Maria JA van der 
Hoeven.  End Summary. 
Indonesian Rhino Conservation 
¶2.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Biologist Fred 
Bagley visited Jakarta February 27-28 to attend an 
"Indonesian Rhino Conservation Strategy Meeting" and a 
meeting of the Global Propagation and Management Board for 
Sumatran Rhino.  Participants reached several conclusions 
regarding the conservation of the Sumatran and Javan rhinos, 
including: a) conducting more frequent censuses of these 
endangered animals; b) establishing more frequent anti- 
poaching patrols; c) increasing local input in the 
conservation agenda; and d) creating more habitats for 
rhinos.  The U.S. Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund 
(RCTF) has provided several grants for Sumatran and Javan 
rhino conservation that aim to help Indonesia integrate 
efforts to conserve its rhino wild population. 
Formaldahyde Levels in Food Cause Concern 
¶3. On December 29, 2005 the National Agency for Drug and 
Food Control (BPOM) issued a report stating that several 
favorite Indonesian food items contained formaldehyde, 
borax, and textile coloring.  BPOM said that its 
investigation revealed that fresh noodles, preserved fish, 
and tofu contained high levels of formaldehyde, and that 
meatballs and green mussel contained textile dye and borax. 
BPOM said it conducted its investigation in 26 cities in 
December 2005, with follow up investigations continuing into 
January 2006.  Law 8/1999 on Consumer Protection calls for 
fines of Rupiah 2 billion (USD 2.2 million) and a maximum of 
5 years in jail for misusing formaldehyde.  Tofu, salted 
fish, fresh noodles, and meatballs are staple foods for most 
Indonesians so the BPOM triggered high levels of public 
¶4. BPOM Chairman Sampurno admitted that releasing the 
investigation to the public had caused a 50 percent drop in 
sales of tofu, beef balls, salted fishes, and fresh noodles. 
In a January 14 re-release of its report, BPOM revealed that 
14 cities and districts, including Jakarta, Bandung and 
Yogyakarta were free of formaldehyde.  Five cities and 
districts continue to see frequent use formaldehyde in 
foods, according to the BPOM: Pekanbaru-Riau, Lampung, 
Denpasar-Bali, Mataram-West Nusa Tenggara, and Palangkaraya- 
Central Kalimantan.  However, in one recent poll of North 
Jakarta fishermen, 80 percent of the respondents admitted to 
using formaldehyde to preserve their catch for up to three 
weeks, and some observers believe this practice is common in 
other regions of Indonesia.  Some food vendors have also 
stated that they have no choice but to use formaldehyde if 
they want to stay in business, prompting additional public 
concern.  GOI officials have insisted that they have the 
situation under control and have encouraged people to 
consume foods as normal. 
GOI holds Forum on Illegal Logging and Timber Trade 
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JAKARTA 00003314  002 OF 003 
¶5.  Representatives from a dozen countries or international 
organizations and twenty four Indonesian diplomatic missions 
abroad attended a January 17-18 "Consultation Forum" in 
Yogyakarta on combating illegal logging and the illicit 
timber trade.  The MOF organized the event with sponsorship 
by the United Kingdom's Department for International 
Development (DFID).   Senior GOI officials, including 
Minister of Forestry M.S. Kaban, Chief of the Criminal and 
Investigation Department of the Indonesian National Police, 
Makbul Padmanegara, Deputy Attorney General for General 
Crimes Prasetyo, and Director General for Forest Protection 
and Nature Conservation at the MOF Arman Mallolongan briefed 
attendees on the GOI's ongoing efforts to combat illegal 
logging and illicit trade in timber.  Participants agreed 
that the forum had been a useful venue for the GOI to seek 
cooperation with international partners on combating illegal 
logging and the illicit timber trade. 
Investor Interest in Pulp and Paper Sector 
¶6. Minister of Forestry Kaban told the press on January 13 
that many investors remain interested in investing in 
Indonesia's pulp and paper sector.  He added that a group of 
investors from India and Malaysia had proposed developing a 
USD 1.3 billion integrated pulp and paper plant in West or 
Central Kalimantan in 2005. 
¶7. Although Kaban welcomed investor interest in the sector, 
local environmental NGOs expressed concern about the 
possible negative impact on Indonesia's forests.  The 
environmental NGO Greenomics Indonesia claimed that 
approximately 200,000 hectares of natural forests vanish 
each year to provide raw materials for the pulp and paper 
industry.  Greenomics claimed that two large pulp and paper 
manufactures in Riau, PT. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP) 
and PT. Indah Kiat Pulp and Paper (IKPP) continue to obtain 
up to 50 percent of their raw material from natural forests. 
Greenomics added that in the past two years, the two 
companies had consumed 7-8 million cubic meters of wood by 
clearing natural forests.  However, RAPP denied the 
allegations and Environmental Affairs Manager Canesio P. 
Munoz stated that his company uses degraded forests rather 
than natural forests for raw materials.  He added that since 
1995, RAPP has donated USD 7 million for conservation 
programs in Indonesia and has replanted more than 115,000 
hectares of industrial forests since 2004. Asia Pulp & Paper 
(APP), the parent company of IKPP, has denied similar 
allegations in the past by NGOs and has also donated funds 
to conservation causes. 
Special Unit to Combat Illegal Logging 
¶8. On January 4, Minister of Forestry Kaban appointed a 
first group of 399 MOF officers to staff a new "Quick 
Response Special Unit" (SPORC) designed to combat illegal 
logging.  After their appointment, the SPORC members 
attended a five-week training course at a police training 
school in Sukabumi, West Java.  The MOF plans to hire a 
total of 1,500 SPORC personnel within 5 years.  The SPORC 
program is part of the MOF's efforts to implement 
Presidential Instruction No. 4 of 2005 on illegal logging. 
The SPORC is charged with intensifying the fight against 
illegal logging and strengthening forest management polices. 
According the MOF, 60 million hectares of Indonesia's 
forests have been degraded, with the rate of deforestation 
at about 2.8 million hectares annually.  The Ministry 
estimates the annual economic loss to Indonesia from forest 
degradation at Rp 30 trillion (USD 3.3 billion). 
Jakarta Begins Emission Tests 
¶9. On February 4, the Jakarta Environmental Management 
Agency (BPLHD) began enforcing emission tests for all 
registered vehicles.  This measure implements local 
government law (PERDA) No. 2 of 2005, and requires 
automobile owners to have vehicle emissions tested at the 
time of purchase or when motor vehicle licenses are up for 
renewal.  In implementing this new law, the Jakarta 
administration faces several obstacles, including a very 
limited number of repair shops and competent technicians. 
The government has designated 115 auto repair shops to 
conduct the tests, with 80 already certified.  The repair 
JAKARTA 00003314  003.2 OF 003 
shops charge around Rupiah 30,000 - 50,000 (USD 3 - 5) for 
each test.  Meanwhile, the Head of East Jakarta Regional 
Environmental Agency Surya Darma stated that the Jakarta 
administration will not begin to apply the new law to 
motorcycles until it completes operational regulations. 
According to the 2005 data from the Jakarta metropolitan 
police, Jakarta has 2.5 million motorcycles, 1.3 million 
cars, 400,000 cargo vehicles, and more than 250,000 buses. 
Pollution Worsens in Jakarta's Rivers 
¶10. On December 30, 2005 the BPLHD issued a report showing 
that pollution levels in Jakarta's 13 rivers continue to 
rise.  BPLHD drew samples from more than 50 monitoring posts 
in the 13 rivers, and the results showed an increase of 1-9 
percent in pollution levels.  BPLHD measured salinity, 
turbidity, suspended particles, and diluted hazardous 
particles (nitrate, nitrite, chloride, ammonia, phosphate, 
etc.) to assess pollution levels.  Controlling pollution 
levels in Jakarta's rivers is difficult given that 
watersheds for the rivers fall under the jurisdiction of 14 
separate municipalities and national agencies. 
Environmentalists blame a reported lack of coordination 
between the various stakeholders for the increasingly high 
pollution in the city's rivers.  Jakarta officials have 
acknowledged that high pollution levels in the city's rivers 
threaten marine ecosystems in the Jakarta Bay.  Recent media 
reports have highlighted several large fish kills in the 
Jakarta Bay area. 
The GOI pushes Bio-molecular Research 
¶11. Special Advisor to the Minister of Research and 
Technology Dr. Amin Subandrio announced on January 11 that 
Indonesia and the Netherlands would cooperate in bimolecular 
research on TB, Hepatitis B, and other tropical diseases, 
including avian influenza.  The announcement came during the 
visit to Jakarta of Netherlands Minister of Education, 
Culture and Sciences H.E. Maria JA van der Hoeven. 
Subandrio added that the Netherlands wants to collaborate 
with the Eijkman Molecular Institute in pursuing 
epidemiological and molecular hepatitis studies in Batam. 
Indonesia and the Netherlands have in the past undertaken 
similar cooperation in Nias and Papua, and have established 
a sister institute relationship between the Eijkman 
Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta and the Eijkman- 
Winkler Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands, to conduct 
infectious diseases research.