Tue, 18 Mar 2003

S. Sumatra receives 8.5M euros in aid

PALEMBANG, South Sulawesi: The South Sumatra forestry office received 8.5 million euros from the European Union to improve its forest conservation efforts, in recognition of their successful prevention of forest fires over the past five years.

The fund must be used to its utmost for the province's forest conservation efforts, said South Sumatra governor H. Rosihan Arsyad on Monday.

As the dry season approaches, provinces in Sumatra gear up to face the annual forest fires and bushfires. The ensuing haze often pose a serious health problem across many cities on Sumatra and in neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.

Rosihan also called for tighter conservation efforts, saying that South Sumatra's forests had made a significant contribution to the local economy.

Locals, however, have so far neglected the principles of sustainability when exploiting forest resources, Rosihan said, referring to the United Nations sustainable development campaign.

He said the rate of forest destruction had gotten worse, due in part to increasing illegal logging activities. He added that the local administration was working to adopt a more comprehensive strategy in order to stop the illegal loggers. -- Antara