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Document 92003E001688

WRITTEN QUESTION E-1688/03 by Anders Wijkman (PPE-DE) to the Commission. The construction of the Ladia Galaska road in the province of Aceh, Indonesia.

OJ C 78E , 27.3.2004, p. 44–45 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

European Parliament's website

27.3.2004   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

CE 78/44


(2004/C 78 E/0042)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-1688/03

by Anders Wijkman (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(21 May 2003)

Subject:   The construction of the Ladia Galaska road in the province of Aceh, Indonesia

The Leuser Ecosystem Region in the war-torn province of Aceh, Indonesia, has a wealth of biodiversity which makes it one of the most important conservation areas in the world and which performs life support functions for the sustainable development of more than 4 million people living around it. The European Union has for many years supported conservation efforts, most recently investing in the Leuser Development Programme. The 2002 -2006 EU Country Strategy for Indonesia proposes the twin priorities of good governance and preservation and sustainable management of natural resources.

It is of severe concern that the Aceh Government wishes to construct a major road network called Ladia Galaska through the Leuser ecosystem which would lead to its eventual destruction, as it would facilitate illegal logging and the poaching of endangered species and, as experience has recently shown, lead to major flooding. The road has not gone through a fair, objective and comprehensive environmental impact assessment process and violates various environmental laws and regulations.

Although it is to be welcomed that President Megawati of Indonesia has ordered a review of the road, the struggle for the preservation of the Leuser Ecosystem is a long way from being over.

1.

Given the EU's investment in the region, the EU's Strategy Priorities for Indonesia and the EU's Gothenburg commitment to halting biodiversity decline, could the Commission inform us as to what action it is taking to try to prevent the construction of the Ladia Galaska roads?

2.

Given the commitment to integrating the environment into all forms of policy, could it furthermore assure us that it will not fund any infrastructure projects that risk harming the Leuser Ecosystem?

3.

And will the Commission be exercising influence on the Indonesian Government, the Aceh Provincial Government and the local district governments to make sure that relevant laws pertaining to the construction of infrastructure projects are observed?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(20 June 2003)

The Commission is well aware of the ecological importance of the Leuser region in Aceh and has, therefore, supported the conservation of the area through the ‘Leuser Development Programme’ (with a Community support of EUR 31 000 000).

The Commission has also promoted and supported the establishment and the self-sufficiency of the ‘Leuser International Foundation’ (LIF) as a crucial mechanism to ensure the long-term sustainable protection of the Leuser Ecosystem. The LIF was granted the right to implement the conservation management of the Leuser Ecosystem for seven years by Ministerial Decree No 227 in 1995, and this was strengthened by Presidential Decree No 33 in 1998, with the right extended to thirty years. The Community support to the Leuser International Foundation contributes to the Government's efforts to ensure that the existing protection laws aimed at conserving the Leuser Ecosystem will be duly enforced.

The Commission is aware of the environmental degradation that opening of roads and the subsequent land clearance would have on such a delicate ecosystem, as well as the potential adverse consequences on the long-term sustainable economic growth and social development which the Leuser Ecosystem supports, and the potentially damaging effect on the bio-diversity in the area.

In order to prevent an escalation of environmental damage and economic loss the ‘Leuser Development Programme’ and the LIF have been active in lobbying the Government of Aceh, the District Governments, the donor community and the central Government to rethink the road proposals and even cancel the most contentious plans.

The Commission's Delegation implemented an action plan on this topic with a series of meetings which were held with several line Ministers. The purpose of the meetings was to put forward the Community view on Ladia Galaska and to explore possible joint alternatives to the project.

In addition, considering the severe damage to the area that a land transportation network would provoke, the Commission has been supporting the construction of an airstrip in Kutacane. The Government of Aceh Tenggara considers this as an alternative for the lost benefits for not proceeding with the construction of roads through the Leuser ecosystem. The support to the construction of the airstrip in Kutacane has been based on sound pre-conditions: environmental, technical, legal and financial.

The Commission will endeavour to ensure that funds for which it is responsible are not utilised for infrastructure projects that risk to damage the Leuser Ecosystem.


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