Although many parties have expressed a commitment to improving environmental conditions in the country, they usually fail to turn their pledges into concrete programs in their strategic planning.
“No wonder the parties have never raised any environmental programs in their political campaigns in media,” director of research and strategic analysis from Bogor Agriculture Institute (IPB), Arif Satria, told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a political party dialogue themed “the policy of food and energy supply,” on Wednesday.
Representatives of nine parties, including the United Development Part (PPP), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the People’s Conscience Party (Hanura) and the Golkar party, attended the event. “Party members only have individual awareness not collective awareness,” Arif added.
Another cause for concern is the fact that many parties receive donations from companies that are exploiting natural resources. “In East Kalimantan for example, a certain party is funded by a company exploiting turtle eggs. This makes it difficult for the party to support environment preservation there,” Arif said.
Another IPB analyst, Aria Hadidarma, questioned a political party’s claims about the country’s self-sufficiency in rice. “One political party has claimed success in making the country self sufficient in rice but self sufficiency is questionable because the environment is getting worse,” Aria said. He also doubted political parties’ commitment to environment protection. “These environmental problems need to be solved quickly, otherwise we will concede huge losses,” he said.
Arif said political parties’ awareness about this issue was crucial because many regulations allowed the exploitation of natural resources with poor supervision.
“Today, out of 273 bylaws in Java, 63 percent allow for the exploitation of natural resources so that the local administrations can generate more incomes,” Arif said.
“Legislative candidates should make sure they will not produce laws which will do the environment any harm.” However, some politicians rejected accusations that their parties lacked environment programs in their strategic planning.
Hanura Party member Samuel Koto said that his party was aware of the importance of the sustainable management of natural resources through the improvement of forestation and irrigations facilities.
“Actually we believe that preserving forests will bring benefits for us. We don’t need to cut our dwindling forest for farms in order to increase food supply. Just restore the irrigation facilities,” Samuel said. (naf)
Source: The Jakarta Post – March 12, 2009