Short on cash, environment ministry forced to beg from international donors

KBR – July 4, 2019
Plastic washed on Ujung Kulon National Park beach – December 3, 2017 (Oclean Indonesia)
Plastic washed on Ujung Kulon National Park beach – December 3, 2017 (Oclean Indonesia)

Adi Ahdiat, Jakarta – Indonesia has tens of thousands of hectares conservation areas, both maritime as well as land. But the government’s budget for conservation and bio-diversity is limited.

This situation was explained by Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya at the 9th Trondheim Conference on Bio-Diversity in Norway on Tuesday July 2.

“As a country which is rich in bio-diversity, Indonesia has already designated 552 conservation areas covering 22 million hectares. In addition to this, we have around 29 million hectares of protected forest and 0.7 million hectares of essential ecosystems”, Nurbaya was quoted as saying on the Ministry for the Environment and Forestry (KLKH) official website on Wednesday July 3.

“If you add it up, it means that more than 51 million hectares of land in Indonesia which has a protected status representing more than 28 percent of Indonesia’s land area. In 2018 Indonesia was also recorded has having around 20 million hectares of maritime conservation areas”, she added.

Limited budget

According to Nurbaya, Indonesia’s extensive conservation areas contain a high level of bio-diversity, including food sources, bio-energy, water resources and medicines.

But, she also said, “The Indonesian government’s budget for biodiversity and conservation is limited, so Indonesia needs support to make up the shortfall through partnerships with NGOs (non-government organisations) and the business sector or conservation agencies”, she explains on the KLHK website.

Nurbaya then asked for financial support from the representatives of 10 countries and the United Nations present at the conference.

“All of these efforts at bio-diversity conservation do of course require resources. Indonesia is inviting countries which have bio-diversity who are present at the conference to commit to mobilising new resources for bio-diversity from a variety of sources”, explained KLHK public relations bureau chief Djati Witjaksono Hadi in an official press release on Wednesday.

At the end of the conference, Nurbaya also proposed an increase in the role of business in funding bio-diversity conservation through Corporate Social Responsibility funds and research and development funds.

Not a budget priority

If looked at from the 2020 Macroeconomic Projection and Draft Fiscal Policy (KEM-PPKF), the ministry’s budget is indeed “not much”.

For next year, the ministry will only be allocated 9.4 trillion rupiah. This is tiny compared with the budget for the Religious Affairs Ministry which will receive 65.2 trillion.

If seen from a breakdown of the budget, the KLHK’s Ecosystem and Natural Resource Conservation Program will only receive 2.1 trillion and it’s Development and Research Program will only get 0.4 trillion.

The budget for conservation and environmental research is tiny compared with the Ministry of Religion’s Islamic Religion Education Program, which will receive some 524 trillion rupiah.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Anggaran Konservasi Terbatas, Menteri LHK Cari Dana ke Luar Negeri”.]