Tue, 21 Jan 2003

CGI delegates: Save Aceh's forests!

Thousands of letters from all over the world have arrived on my desk. Petitions opposing the construction of the Ladia Galaska Road network through the last tropical rain forest in Aceh province are approaching the one million mark.

Opposition is growing stronger, ever since the Governor of Aceh decided to approve the construction of a network of roads inside the Leuser forests. The Leuser Ecosystem, including a national park, is the last intact tropical rain forest in Sumatra. It is the last place on Earth where thousands of species and five important species, such as the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, honey bear and the Sumatran rhinoceros, can be seen living in the same habitat.

Leuser is also the source of life for four million people living around it. It provides them with food and water for consumption and irrigation and it is the world's carbon sink. Any road construction inside this precious tropical rain forest would destroy all these important sources.

I urge all donors supporting development aid in Aceh to consider saving the last remaining pristine forest in Aceh. Failure to do so would ignite a negative response from every person in the world. Please allocate your aid wisely and save our Leuser forests in Aceh. We are keeping an eye on your aid activities.

DENI PURBA, Environmental Lawyer, Medan, North Sumatra