The Fallout

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  • Several people in WWF icon, panda costume at the celebration of 50 years WWF in Indonesia in Hotel Indonesia roundabout, Jakarta, August 2012. ANTARA/Rosa Panggabean

    Several people in WWF icon, panda costume at the celebration of 50 years WWF in Indonesia in Hotel Indonesia roundabout, Jakarta, August 2012. ANTARA/Rosa Panggabean

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaMinister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya ended her ministry’s partnership with WWF Indonesia, impacting conservation work in 30 areas. Besides an unclear reason behind the decision, conflicts among environmental activists seem to color the termination.

    KUNTORO Mangkusubroto walked slowly but with confidence into the Emerald 3 hall at the Fairmont Hotel in Jakarta, on Tuesday, January 28. He wore a black T-shirt with a panda logo and the text “The Planet Needs You” on its chest.

    Panda is an animal endemic to China as well as the logo for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – world’s largest conservation organization founded in 1961.

    Behind WWF Indonesia advisory board chairman were the organization’s executive board chairman, Alexander Rusli, and conservation director, Lukas Laksono Adhyakso. Both were wearing the same T-shirt as Kuntoro. “This is how we will answer questions from donors and ambassadors from friendly countries,” said Kuntoro, 72 years old.

    The questions had to do with the ministerial decree on the termination of WWF Indonesia-ministry of environment and forestry (KLHK) partnership in managing conservation areas issued on January 10. To dozens of reporters, Kuntoro explained his institution’s stance in regard to the forestry ministry decision letter ending the partnership that began in 1998. “We respect (the decision) but (we) have many questions. We have asked but (there’s) no answer,” said Kuntoro.

    Among the unanswered questions, said Kuntoro, some had to do with the partnership, which the agreement said would last 25 years but was instead terminated as per October 2019. “To this day, we do not yet know what our mistake was, because we have asked to meet with the minister since last year but was never given the opportunity,” said Kuntoro, who was mining and energy minister in 1998-1999. “We regret the one-sided termination. Was it not possible to have a discussion so that we could make improvements?”

    Read the Complete Story in this Week's Edition of Tempo English Magazine