Lack of transparency hinders Indonesian attempts to prevent illegal logging

The Jakarta Post reported last week that lack of public data on illegal logging cases could be undermining the government‟s plans to root out illegal logging syndicates in the country.

Activists from the Natural Resources Law Institute (IHSA), which recently published its annual report on illegal logging cases in Indonesia, said organized crime syndicates that masterminded illegal logging were difficult to trace. “In our experience, the most difficult task is to get data on illegal logging cases” said Fadli Moh. Noch, an IHSA researcher, adding that “Until now, it remains unclear which institution manages the data on illegal logging cases.”

President Yudhoyono issued a 2005 instruction tasking 18 departments to monitor and evaluate illegal logging, but that effort has not caught any perpetrators. A coalition of activists including the Indonesia Corruption Watch and the Indonesian Environmental Forum, have repeatedly called on the government to root out and take stern action against those masterminding illegal logging. They said corruption involving government officials and corporations had damaged the country‟s forests through illegal logging and license brokering for forest conversion.

– Martin Groarke, London

Source: Adianto P. Simamora, ‘Lack of transparency hinders fight against logging mafia‘, The Jakarta Post, 20 April 2010.