On 18 March 2013, representatives of the Suku Anak Dalam Batin Sembilan wrote a letter to Germany’s International Climate Initiative and KfW German Development Bank, respecitively a funder and implementing agency of the Harapan Rainforest Project in Indonesia. REDD-Monitor posted the letter on 18 April 2013.
The International Climate Initiative replied on 13 June 2013. The letter notes that KfW has “visited and monitored” the Harapan project “on a regular basis” since 2009. REDD-Monitor has requested copies of KfW’s mission reports to Harapan, but on 20 December 2012, the International Climate Initiative informed me that, although the German government and KfW promote transparency,
“We regret that the requested Report of the KfW mission is an internal project document, which cannot be shared publicly.”
Meanwhile, the Harapan Rainforest Project is fighting a proposal by a subsidiary of a coal mining company called PT Atlas Resources to build a 50 kilometre road through the Harapan forest area to haul coal. If built, the road would have serious impacts on the people and wildlife living in the Harapan forest. As PT REKI points out,
This will cause continuous disturbance to the traditional livelihoods of 200 indigenous Bathin Sembilan families residing in Harapan. Threatened endemic flora and fauna will also be adversely affected that includes 26 endangered wildlife species such as the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, and rare tropical hardwood trees. The proposed road also threatens Harapan’s core business aims including the development of new methods for renewable non-timber forest products and sustainable forest management.
The International Climate Initiative’s reply is posted below in full. The letter refers to several previous letters:
- 20 December 2012: Letter from the International Climate Initiative to REDD-Monitor.
- 11 February 2013: Letter from the Batin Semblian to PT REKI, the company running the Harapan Rainforest Project.
- 13 March 2013: Response from PT REKI.
- 18 April 2013: Letter from the Batin Sembilan to KfW and the International Climate Initiative.
Response by the Programme Office of the International Climate Initiative to the letter of Representatives of the Suku Anak Dalam Batin 9 Jambi from March 2013 (posted on REDD-Monitor 18th April 2013).
Thank you for your letter dated April 18, 2013.
Please be assured that we take your concerns and requests very seriously. Since the beginning of the BMU funding for the Harapan Project, we have always shared the same goal with all project partners: To save Harapan Rainforest not only to protect globally important wildlife and contribute to a better climate, but also to respect the customary rights of the indigenous Bathin Sembilan, who have been living in the area for centuries and depend on the forest for their livelihood.
Since 2009, Harapan has been visited and monitored by KfW on a regular basis and they are in close contact with the project implementers on the ground (PT REKI). To our knowledge based on these site visits (where KfW also met with members of Bathin Sembilan families) and the information from PT REKI is that Harapan is dedicated to support the needs of the Bathin Sembilan and that the project has brought additional benefits for indigenous communities living in Harapan, such as free schooling, sanitation, healthcare and job opportunities.
From your letter to PT REKI dated February 11, 2013, we learned that there are concerns by some families of the Bathin Sembilan about the project and that there is the need for discussion and negotiation. We very much support peaceful conflict resolution. In the process of managing encroachment, the project has provided advice on a fair and transparent mediation process implemented in a way that meets both national human rights laws and international best practice (please see our response to REDD Monitor on Dec 20 2012).
We know that the Harapan management continues to have a high interest in working with all SAD Bathin Sembilan communities. PT REKI has stated that Harapan Rainforest management has “never and will never intimidate or conduct any violence against your family at Simpang Macan Luar, or the indigenous people of SAD Bathin Sembilan in general in the Harapan Rainforest. The whole community of SAD Bathin Sembilan in the Rainforest is a part of us and plays an important role in maintaining the forest that can still be enjoyed to the next and future generations of your tribe.”
We take your requests seriously and will continue to work closely with all project partners to make sure that your rights are respected, no intimidation will take place and that a solution to conflicts will be found.
The Programme Office of the International Climate Initiative
PHOTO Credit: Harapan Rainforest Project camera trap.