Posted by: Hendra Siry | 10 July, 2009

Environmental Issues Not “Sexy” Enough For Presidential Campaigns: Greenpeace

Even though many ecological disasters have hit the country in the past five years, the three presidential candidates have failed to outline coherent environmental programs in their campaigns, research from Greenpeace shows. Greenpeace forest campaigner Joko Arief said that the three candidates have so far offered no detailed outline of how they intended to protect the environment.

“It seems the environment and forest affairs are not yet sexy enough issues for presidential hopefuls to sell in their campaign.” Greenpeace assessed the agendas and programs presented by each presidential candidate as well as their responses to a Greenpeace questionnaire,  except President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who’s campaign team did not respond to Greenpeace’s invitation.

Joko said that Megawati Soekarnoputri, at a recent campaign in Kalimantan, promised to impose a moratorium on timber logging to help protect the forests. “But, through other programs, the pair [Megawati and running mate Prabowo Subianto] also plans to clear about six million hectares of land that would be used for agriculture,” he said. “Our question is where such an amount of land will come from. If it is from the forests, Megawati contradicts her promise to protect the forests.”

Joko said that the Jusuf Kalla-Wiranto ticket had spoken of the need for regulations to reduce the impact of climate change. “In our meeting with Pak Kalla, he asked Greenpeace to push rich countries to pledge money to protect the forests.” While Yudhoyono meanwhile pledged to improve environmental conditions, he offered no concrete plans or programs on how to do so.

Yudhoyono makes a lot of commitments to international forums to deal with environmental issues, including on climate change, but has given no environmental statements in his campaigning. Unfortunately Yudhoyono and his running mate Boediono have put environmental issues twelfth of their 15 point agenda, giving it one single line of attention environmental restoration, he said.

Three vice presidential candidates Prabowo, Boediono and Wiranto participated in a televised debate Tuesday that covered environmental affairs. Director executive of Indonesia Hijau (Green Indonesia), Chalid Muhammad, said that Prabowo and Wiranto gave the clearest idea of how they would tackle environmental issues. Prabowo’s promise to rehabilitate 50 million hectares of critical lands is a must for Indonesia. SBY’s running mate Boediono said the pair would intensify greening programs to improve the environment and improve sanitation as well as access to clean water.


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