Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta – Relevant state agencies are set to collaborate to establish better forestry management in Papua in order to curb rampant illegal logging in the easternmost province, among other things.
The institutions involved are the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Papua Police and the Papua Forestry and Conservation Agency.
"Collaboration with other agencies is part of our focus on graft prevention by improving natural resources management, this time in relation to forestry," KPK deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif said after a meeting between the agencies in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Among measures to be taken by local authorities is forestry-related permit improvement. The joint team will also work to curb the harvesting of forestry products in the province, Papua Forestry and Conservation Agency head Yan Ormuseray said.
"We will also continue to crack down on individuals who violate forestry laws, especially illegal loggers," Yan said.
In an attempt to tackle the problem, the Papua Police have formed a task force that will cooperate with other agencies to focus on law enforcement against illegal logging. The police have handed over at least 17 forestry-related cases to the court since January.
According to the Papua Forestry and Conservation Agency, the rate of illegal logging in the province has increased recently, especially in Sarmi regency where the cost of environmental damage could reach billions of rupiah.
Papuans depend on forests for a livelihood, Yan pointed out, suggesting that the government consider allowing indigenous people to manage their own forests. (swd)