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Activists demand environment minister’s transparency on the concession map

Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya’s remark made on July 17 that he would not publish the concession had sparked criticism from environment activists.

The remark Balthasar made was a response to Singapore Minister of Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, who had asked him to reveal to the public the name of any individuals or companies that had been allowed to exploit Indonesian forests.

Carole Excell of the World Resource Institute said Balthasar’s remark had contradicted Indonesian government’s commitment in practicing Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Within the OGP platform, Indonesia has pledged to provide a map portal which would support efficiency in forestry management and support transparency, accountability and public participation in the environment, natural resources and special data management.

“As we know, the statement is [also] against the spirit of the free information era in Indonesia, as stipulated in Public Information Law,” Carol said.

Echoing Carol, executive director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) Henri Subagiyo said that the government has made a commitment to provide good environmental management and therefore was expected to comply with it wholeheartedly.

“Balthasar and Forestry Ministry Zulkifli Hasan [and also other ministers] should act transparently as part of the commitment,” Henri said.

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