Indonesian NGOs, concerned about the spread of oil palm plantations since the onslaught of the crisis, have formed “Sawat (Oil Palm) Watch”. In May the Indonesian government stated that it would allocate a further 30m hectares of forest for new plantations – palm oil exports are a major source of foreign exchange for debt repayments – and the World Bank has agreed a US$400m loan to extend palm oil plantations. NGOs are worried that this will lead to further abuse of the environment and indigenous people, distort local and national economies and monopolise land use. Sarat Watch, which involves local, national and international NGOs, aims to:
- support the struggle of indigenous and local people against large scale palm plantations;
- campaign against Bank and Fund adjustment loans which support liberalisation of the palm oil sector;
- increase awareness at the local, national and international level about the social and environmental effects of palm oil plantations.
For more information contact Yulia Siswaningsih, INFID: tel. 62-21-7919-6721; fax. 62-21-794-1577; firstname.lastname@example.org.