On 5 June 2013, the NGOs Scale Up and Forest Peoples Programme wrote to PT REKI, the company running the Harapan Rainforest Project, about PT REKI’s commitment to mediated negotiations as a mechanism to assist affected communities.
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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.
Members of the Batin Sembilan people living in the Harapan Rainforest Project in Sumatra recently sent a letter to KfW and Germany’s International Climate Initiative, requesting that they ask PT REKI, the company running Harapan, “to prioritize conflict resolution efforts” and to avoid “intimidating and insulting language and communication”.
Harapan Rainforest Project’s website states that, “The partnership between management of Harapan Rainforest and Bathin Sembilan Tribe who lives in the forest is going well from beginning.” But a recent letter from some of the Bathin Sembilan communities suggests that things may not be going as well as Harapan would like us to believe.
On its website, the German Environmental Ministry’s International Climate Initiative has an image of a smiling blonde girl holding a globe. It all looks so simple and clean. But the reality at Harapan Rainforest Project, one of the projects funded by the International Climate Initiative is neither simple nor clean.
In November 2012, Indonesia’s Minister of Forestry, Zulkifli Hasan, visited the Harapan Rainforest Project in Jambi Province, Sumatra. “The squatters must be removed from the forest and moved to another place,” he said. “Do not allow the recovery programme of the last lowland forest in Sumatra to fail.”
The Harapan Rainforest Project covers an area of 100,000 hectares of extremely biodiverse lowland rainforest in Sumatra, Indonesia. Without the project, the forest would be destroyed. Two former logging concessions operated in the area. It is bordered by oil palm plantations and active logging concessions. Yet it is still relatively intact.
The Harapan Rainforest project in Sumatra, Indonesia is becoming increasingly controversial. A new film documents how local people are excluded from the project and how their livelihoods are threatened by the project. The Harapan project is run by PT Restorasi Ekosistem Indonesia (PT REKI), which consists of a local group Burung Indonesia, the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and BirdLife International.
Last year, Prince Charles visited Indonesia and planted an ironwood sapling at the Harapan Rainforest project in Sumatra. A month later, Sarwadi Sukiman, a farmer from Sumatra went to the Polish city of Poznan for the UN climate negotiations. He was there with Via Campesina to protest about the project.