A new report released today by Eyes on the Forest present the findings of a new field investigation at APRIL concession (PT RAPP) in Pulau Padang. The report confirms the findings by a joint field expedition organized by European, Chinese and North American EPN (Environmental Paper Network) last September.

 

The EPN team could take pictures of company machines still working in the area claimed by the local community. According to the company, “APRIL has taken extraordinary steps to address community concerns on Pulau Padang. We conducted more than 60 meetings with village representatives. We enforced a year-long moratorium while independent investigators and mediators reviewed the issues.” The reality however show heavy machines still clearing the forest.

PT RAPP concession in Pulau Padang stretches on around 34,000 hectares, about a third of the whole island. In this area, the company is still deforesting.

Eyes on the Forest has also submitted a grievance report on APRIL’s flawed SFMP implementation in Pulau Padang to the “Stakeholder Advisory Committee” (SAC) established by APRIL to “ensure transparency and implementation” of its new forest policy.

Ten months after APRIL published its Sustainable Forest Management Policy, PT Riau Andalan Pulp Paper (RAPP) is still clearing natural forests in Pulau Padang in breach of one or more government regulations and thus in violation of its own policy, specifically the commitment “to comply with all prevailing laws and regulations, and requires all its fibre suppliers to do so”.

Eyes on the Forest also concludes that all natural forest clearance by PT. RAPP in the fully peat covered Pulau Padang before and after 28 January 2014 was in violation of APRIL’s 2005 High Conservation Value protection policy as well as its 2014 forest policy. APRIL’s policy commitments violated include:

  • Commitment I.a. APRIL sources fibre from non High Conservation Value Forest (“HCVF”) areas that have been identified through independent HCV assessments, based on Indonesian HCV toolkit and peer-reviewed by HCV Resource Network
  • Commitment I.b. From 28th January 2014, APRIL declares a moratorium in concession areas throughout APRIL’s fibre supply chain where HCV assessments have not been completed
  • Commitment III.a. APRIL and its fibre suppliers protect and manage forested peatland areas identified as HCVF
  • Commitment III.b. APRIL declares a moratorium on forested peatland areas, including canals and other infrastructure activities, until independent HCV assessments have been completed

Eyes on the Forest investigation also finds that social conflict continues in Pulau Padang despite a specific policy commitment(V.b.) APRIL commits to resolve any outstanding community conflicts in a fair and transparent manner with input and feedback from stakeholders.

Muslim Rasyid, of Eyes on the Forest, asked to the Stakeholder Advisory Committee to request APRIL an immediate full stop to all forest clearance and peat drainage operations in all concessions until all HCV assessments have been independently verified by the HCV Resource Network as committed in the APRIL SFMP.