STOP THE FOOD ESTATE PROJECT IN KALIMANTAN! #ClimateJustice4Kalimantan

STOP THE FOOD ESTATE PROJECT IN KALIMANTAN! #ClimateJustice4Kalimantan

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Kalimantan Climate Strike memulai petisi ini kepada Jokowi (Presiden RI) dan

VERSI INDONESIA I ENGLISH VERSION

Do you know that many are unaware that large-scale peatland clearing for paddy fields during the Mega Rice Project (MRP), carried out in 1997 under the Soeharto regime, was the principal cause of damage to peatland areas in Central Kalimantan? With the assertion of food security, 1 million hectares of peatlands that should have been left submerged under water were dug up and dried out, subsequently causing devastating forest fires for six months.

Do you know that the regional forest fires of 1997 released 0.15 billion tons of carbon emissions and would be the source of fire hotspots for the next 23 years?  Between 2015 and 2019, fires burned an estimated 465,003 hectares area of ex-MRP land and accounted for almost 39% of the total 1,180,000 hectares of forest and land burnt in Central Kalimantan.

Do you know that in 2015, the level of air pollution in Central Kalimantan reached 14,700 for PM 2.5, which is equivalent to smoking 672 cigarettes a day?  Nearly one million residents of Kalimantan were reported suffering from Acute Respiratory Illness, though this number did not include babies, children, and the elderly who died from respiratory failure.

Do you know that at present, the Indonesian government, following President Jokowi's instruction, for reasons of food security during the pandemic, has announced to open 900,000 hectares of peatland in Central Kalimantan for farming?  Approximately 160,000-300,000 hectares of peatland will soon be cultivated for a paddy field next October.  The government is also planning a transmigration program that will bring hundreds of thousands of farmers from outside Kalimantan to work on the project.

The Central Kalimantan FOOD ESTATE project is extremely problematic. Why?

  1. Ecological Problems. The Peat Restoration Agency formed in 2016 has not yet succeeded in restoring the ex-Mega Rice Project peat areas, as demonstrated by the rampant forest fires that continue to occur in this region every year.  Turning hundreds of thousands of hectares of ex-MRP land into rice fields will only worsen the condition of peat.  Meanwhile, the cultivation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of land and forests for agriculture will exacerbate deforestation in Kalimantan and cause further damage to the ecosystems.
  2. Social Problems. The Food Estate Project with its promise of transmigration programs will potentially create new ethnic and social conflicts.  Until now, the government has not been able to provide a solution for Kalimantan farmers (Peladang) who have been prohibited to open their land by burning.  Dozens of Dayak farmers were arrested and many more are still in prison because they have been accused of causing forest fires. Thousands of other farmers have difficulty meeting basic economic needs.  The plan to bring workers/farmers from outside Kalimantan will only increase social inequality and ethnic conflict.  The concept of the Food Estate Program itself is still unclear and does not imply partiality to local farmers.
  3. Violation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  Agrarian policies must follow the wisdom of the local community.  Projects from the center regarding land management in Kalimantan are always carried out without involving the perspective of the indigenous Dayak communities.  Sawah (wet rice farming method) is not a local Indigenous knowledge of the Dayak community. The Food Estate Project, by putting assets, markets, and investments above the interests of Indigenous people, will destroy the food security of indigenous Dayaks.  No public consultation was conducted.  This action, of course, violates the rights of Indigenous people in regards to their territories.

Therefore, we, young citizens of Kalimantan, joining hands in the KALIMANTAN CLIMATE STRIKE movement and with other civil society coalitions, have stated emphatically that we REFUSE FOOD ESTATE PROJECTS IN CENTRAL KALIMANTAN.

WE DEMAND THAT President Jokowi, Ministers, the Parliament, representatives of the communities, and the Governor of Central Kalimantan PROVIDE CLIMATE JUSTICE FOR KALIMANTAN.

The Three Demands of #ClimateJustice4Kalimantan are:

  1. CANCEL the Central Kalimantan FOOD ESTATE Project
  2. FULFILL the Supreme Court Decision to mitigate forest fires
  3. IMMEDIATELY LEGISLATE the policy of Indigenous Peoples

We, the young generation, are the future generation.  What we do today will determine the future of the nation and the earth.  Now is not the time to be silent.  Now is the time to act. Come fight with us!

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