Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Indonesia Invites 40 Countries to Attend Bali Process III

Some 40 countries have been invited by Indonesia and Australia to attend Bali Process III Meeting scheduled to be held next April in Bali. Spokesman of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Teuku Faizasyah during a press briefing, yesterday said most of the countries invited are participants of Bali Process I and II in 2002 and 2003 and are mostly ASEAN member countries.

In the next Bali Process, the Rohingya boat people issue will be become the main issue besides other migrant issues. Meanwhile, in the framework of returning the boat people who are still in Aceh, the Indonesian government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are discussing terms of reference on measures to be taken by UNHCR in the region

Indonesia and ROK to Join Hands in Developing Seaweed Energy

Indonesia and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will establish cooperation on a biotechnology initiative involving the conversion of seaweed into environmentally friendly energy, said an Indonesian senior official. "We wish to develop a type of biotechnology that utilizes seaweed for energy," said the Maritime and Fishery Ministry Secretary General Widi Agoes Pratikto quoted by the Jakarta Post on Sunday.

He added that Indonesia, as an archipelago, was blessed with immense natural maritime resources potentially convertible into renewable energy, while ROK happened to have the technology to convert seaweed into energy. Pratikto said that the initiative would be followed by other forms of cooperation such as in fish product processing and fish cultivation.

Meanwhile, the President of the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology Kyoung-Hoan Na said ROK's decision to select Indonesia as a partner was due to certain factors. "Indonesia has the natural and human resources, while we bring the technology," he said.

Indonesia Goes Mobile Broadband

Indonesian Internet users have choices in accessing Net services now. They can choose both PC based dial up and broadband access that are offered by Internet service providers, or if they prefer mobile and broadband access, there are many GPRS and 3G/W-CDMA services offered by the country's GSM operators such as Telkomsel, Indosat and Excelcom.

That's all? Well, no. CDMA operators just offered their EVDO Rev. A based broadband Internet services. Mobile 8 Telecom launched "Mobi" and Smart Telecom introduced "Jump". These services offer 3.1Mbps downloading speed and 1.8Mbps uploading speed. Mobile 8 uses CDMA 2000 1x and EV-DO technology in the spectrum 800MHz frequency, while Smart Telecom leverages CDMA2000 1x and EVDO-Rev A technology uses the 1900MHz frequency.

Bundled with the Pantech PX-500 PCMCIA modem and 1GB quota, Mobile 8 packages its Mobi service for Rp 499 (US$41). In the near future, "we will launch a USB based modem with the same price", Deddy Irawan, head of Data Business PT Mobile 8 Telecom, told media. Smart sells its Axesstel modem and 6GB access quota with the "prepaid" package Rp 789 (US$65).

The daily Koran Tempo, which has tested both services, is impressed with the services' speeds, but said both still have an issue in term of coverage. (Koran Tempo, February 28, 2009).

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Wildlife On The Attack as Indonesia Backs Logging

The Indonesian Government has approved a big increase in logging of its tropical forests, a decision that will lead to a rise in carbon emissions and, most likely, lead to further deadly attacks on villagers by tigers and elephants. The end of a 14 months moratorium on logging comes amid a spate of macabre maulings of Indonesians by animals struggling to survive in their dwindling habitats.

On Wednesday, an 83 year old man on the island of Sumatra was killed after 30 wild elephants stampeded through his village. The death followed a month of elephants running amok in the village, which is close to a trail commonly used by the threatened species. "The elephant routes are almost gone," said Johny Mundung, the co-ordinator for the Indonesian environmental group Wahli in the Sumatran province of Riau, where the attack occurred.

Four people have died in Sumatra in the past months due to wild elephant attacks. However the deaths caused by Sumatran tigers have been even more dramatic. The death by mauling of an illegal logger in Sumatra on Wednesday was the ninth in five weeks. About half of Sumatra's forests have been destroyed, the trees logged and, in some cases, replaced with palm oil and pulp plantations.

All the deaths caused by elephants and tigers occurred in areas where such plantations abound. Indonesia's deforestation has earned it the title of the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the United States. More than 80 per cent of the emissions are caused by deforestation.

Indonesia has destroyed more than 28 million hectares of forest since 1990, much of it on swampy, densely forested peatlands that are the world's most potent carbon sinks, absorbing greenhouse gases spewed out by a rapidly industrializing world. In 2007, the Indonesian Government announced it would stop the clearing of the peatlands, shortly before Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to reduce carbon emissions from forests by 50 per cent in 2009 and 95 per cent by 2025.

Indonesia Gets US$ 20 Million in Grants For Elections

Donor nations have committed US$20.2 million in grants to Indonesia through multilateral and bilateral schemes intended to support the country’s democratic elections later this year. The money will be used to strengthen the capacity of the General Elections Commission (KPU), the Supervisory Elections Body (Bawaslu) and increase the role of women in politics.

“We invite other donors to give grants as Indonesia still needs ‘huge’ money to finance the 2009 elections, including to prepare the presidential election,” Bambang Sutedjo, deputy for politics, law, security at the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) said. The Spainish government announced on Friday its commitment to provide 1.25 million euros (Rp 20 billion) to support elections and help empower the Regional Representatives Council (DPD).

Spanish Ambassador to Indonesia Aurora Bernaldez Dicenta as well as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative El-Mostafa Benlamlih announced the commitment at Bappenas’ office. The Canadian government was the first donor to pledge, offering US$2 million through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in March 2008. The Australian government, through its overseas aid agency (AusAID) pledged US$7.3 million.

The Dutch government, through the United National Development Program (UNDP), similarly committed about US$1 million for the management of Indonesia’s election programs. Britain, through its Department for International Development, has provided $1.4 million. “The USAID has also committed to grant $8.8 million to support democratic elections in Indonesia,” Bambang said.

Indonesia will hold legislative elections on April 9 and a presidential election on July 8. Donor countries have set up a Multi Donor Program (Election MDP) to help increase the level and quality of participation from citizens in the polls by funding voter education and information projects through selected civil society groups. KPU member Sri Nuryanti said that all the money was managed by the Bappenas. “Most of the money is allocated for public service advertisements to increase voter participation,” she said.

Indonesia's Java Jazz Festival Gets Into Swing

Indonesia's capital has opened one of the world's biggest jazz festivals, with up to 80.000 visitors expected to cheer 220 local and international acts over three days, organizers say. Any concerns over the impact of the global financial crisis on the 5th annual Java Jazz festival appear to have been misplaced, with some visitors complaining about the crowds at Friday's festival launch.

"It's the renowned jazz artists that are on the line up," said Dinesh Sharma, 28, a Malaysian music fan who flew in from Kuala Lumpur to attend the event. This year's line up includes International acts like Jason Mraz, Laura Fygi, Dianne Reeves, Swing Out Sister and Brian McKnight, as well as 150 local acts.

The chaotic Indonesian capital is not usually known for hosting many major concerts or other events, and some visitors complained of difficulties getting to the venue in a city notorious for bad traffic and little public transport. "There are too many people, I had to go round and round one and a half hours before I found parking, but the artists they offer were great," said local fan Yulvia Suman at a performance by Matt Bianco.

The festival is spread over 19 stages with 70-80 performances a day in the cavernous Jakarta Convention Center. The price of a three day pass that excludes many of the international acts is 850.000 rupiah ($70.89), prohibitive for many in a country where millions live on less than $2 a day.

"The appetite is amazing. We didn't expect it," said Eki Puradiredja, the festival's program coordinator. He dismissed concerns over security. Indonesia has been hit by bombings by Islamist militants in the capital and in Bali but there have been no major attacks for more than three years. Another Malaysian fan, Martin Dass, praised the festival.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Indonesia Flushes Target Down Carbon Sink

Indonesia's Government has approved a big increase in logging of its tropical forests, a decision that could lead to a major jump in carbon emissions and, most likely, cause further deadly attacks on villagers by tigers and elephants. The end of a 14 month moratorium on logging comes amid maulings of Indonesians from animals that are struggling to survive in their dwindling habitats.

On Wednesday, a man, 83, on the island of Sumatra was killed after 30 elephants stampeded through his village. The death followed a month of elephants running amok in the village, which is close to a traditional trail. "The elephant routes are almost gone," said Johny Mundung, co-ordinator for the Indonesian environmental group Wahli in the Sumatran province of Riau, where the attack occurred.

While four people have died on the island of Sumatra in the past 3½ months due to elephant attacks, the deaths caused by Sumatran tigers have been even more dramatic. The death by mauling of an illegal logger in Sumatra on Wednesday was the ninth in five weeks. About half of Sumatra's forests have been cut down, the trees logged and, in some cases, replaced with palm oil and pulp plantations.

All the deaths caused by elephants and tigers were in areas where palm and pulp oil plantations abound. Indonesia's deforestation has earned it the title of the world's third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China and the US. More than 80 per cent of the emissions are caused by deforestation.

Indonesia has destroyed more than 28 million hectares of forest since 1990, much of it on swampy, densely forested peatlands that are the world's most potent carbon sinks, absorbing the greenhouse gases spewed out by a rapidly industrializing world. In 2007, the Indonesian Government said it would stop the clearing of the peatlands, shortly before Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to reduce carbon emissions from forests by 50 per cent in 2009 and 95 per cent by 2025.