Activists removed from environment ministry seminar after criticizing COP26

CNN Indonesia – November 9, 2021
Walhi activist stands outside Environment and Forestry Ministry in Jakarta – Undated (CNN)

Jakarta – Activists from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and the Alliance Against Climate Change (APPI) were forcibly escorted out of a seminar at the Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) building on Tuesday November 9 after they expressed criticisms of the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 in Glasgow.

Walhi Jakarta campaign team member Rehwinda Naibaho said that they were escorted out of the seminar room when they raised their views on the results of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's meetings at the COP26.

"We were escorted out of the seminar room, surrounded by security personnel. The session hadn't finished yet and we were already out. Yet this action is also for the sake of future generations, the government must begin to think about an environmentally sustainable future", said Naibaho when contacted by CNN Indonesia on Tuesday.

Naibaho admitted that they went to the KLHK seminar to directly convey the aspirations of individuals and social organisations which are concerned about the climate crisis.

The action by Walhi was part of a series of actions starting with a theatrical action on November 5 in front of the Horse Statue monument in Central Jakarta. The groups were still articulating the same issues, namely criticism over the results of the COP26 meeting which did not demonstrate any real commitment to tackling the climate crisis.

"Our call during the action was clear, that the government make a serious effort to reduce emissions through concrete actions not carbon trading schemes. These schemes will in fact further increase global temperatures and threaten thousands of small islands with submersion", she said.

During the seminar, the groups also said that the results of the COP26 meeting were fake solutions and did not demonstrate any concrete solutions or measures to address the climate crisis.

"We believe that all of the results of the COP26 meeting were fake solutions, it's time for the government to take concrete actions by declaring a climate crisis emergency right now", said Naibaho.

CNN Indonesia has contacted KLHK public relations chief Nunu Anugrah to asked for a explanation of the incident but has yet to receive a response.

Earlier, a short video circulated on social media showing Walhi and the APPI speaking out about the climate crisis and criticising the government during an online discussion event belonging to the KLHK.

The climate crisis has become the focus of public attention following President Widodo's speech at the GOP26 in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday November 1, which has attracted criticism. A number of issues were raised by Widodo including a decline in the rate of forest fires and deforestation as well as a pledge to restore 600,000 hectares of mangrove forest.

Widodo boasted that the deforestation rate in Indonesia had declined by 82 percent, while Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said that large-scale development cannot be allowed to stop in the name of carbon emissions or deforestation.

Bakar's statement attracted much criticism from environmental activists. According to Walhi's data, Forest Area Borrow-to-Use Permits (IPPKH) have mostly been used for mining rather than non-mining projects such as road construction for local communities.

Walhi also criticised Bakar for linking the issue with the mandate of the 1945 Constitution, namely the target of national development for the welfare of the ordinary people in social and economic terms. Bakar's claim, said Walhi, is contradicted by the fact that 62 percent of concessions on forest land are allocated to big corporations. (mln/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Kritik COP26 di Seminar KLHK, Aktivis Digiring Satpam Keluar Gedung".]