27.01.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

A Step Forward towards the Removal of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra from the World Heritage in Danger List

Jakarta, 24 January 2017.

UNESCO Jakarta hosted a stakeholders’ technical workshop to present the results of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the road development plans in the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS) on 24 January 2017 in Jakarta. The workshop gathered about 40 participants representing the related Ministries of the Government of Indonesia, national parks, international organizations and project partners, to discuss about the cumulative effects of road development plans in TRHS from and suggest potential alternative transport options.

TRHS, included in the World Heritage list in 2004, is one of the eight World Heritage sites in Indonesia and comprises three National Parks in Sumatra. In 2011, the property was enlisted in the World Heritage in Danger list due to the long standing threats to the integrity of its Outstanding Universal Values (OUV). Since then, the Government of Indonesia has committed to take the necessary actions as stated in their Desired State of Conservation for Removal (DSOCR) of the property from the In Danger list.

As part of these efforts and with support from the Indonesian Fund-in-Trust , UNESCO is coordinating the development of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the cumulative effects of road development plans in Bukit Barisan Mountain Range, where TRHS is located, in order to identify transport options and technologies for the region that do not adversely impact on the property’s OUV. SEA is a tool for incorporating environmental considerations along with social and economic considerations into policies, plans, programmes and strategies, before individual projects are decided upon.

The technical workshop gathered all the key parties involved in the development of the SEA in Jakarta. The objective was to present the results of the SEA, receive feedback from the different stakeholders and discuss how to improve the SEA report and its recommendations on transport alternatives which will not affect the OUV of the TRHS. Participants were representatives from the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the three National Parks of TRHS: Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat, and Bukit Barisan Selatan, project partners as well as IUCN as the advisory body of World Heritage

Dr Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Jakarta, opened the meeting with welcome remarks to all participants and an introduction of the background of the TRHS issues and the progress of the SEA project. Three baseline studies have been completed on road development plans in TRHS: ecological study by Remark Asia, socio-economic study by the University of Indonesia, and legal study by the University of Sumatera Utara. The result of these studies served as reference point for the development of a comprehensive SEA report by DHI Water and Environment. Based on the feedback from the workshop, DHI will refine the SEA and UNESCO will hand it over to the Government of Indonesia for final review before submitting it to the World Heritage Center.

Prof Arief Rachman, Executive Chair of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO; Ms Pamuji Lestari, Assistant Deputy of Cultural Affairs from the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs; and Mr Suyatno Sukandar, Director of Conservation Areas, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, gave positive remarks ensuring the commitment of the Government of Indonesia to the protection of the TRHS as a World Heritage property for national pride and international recognition.

A technical presentation about the SEA approach and methodology, results of the effects of road development plans in TRHS, and recommended transport alternatives and mitigation measures was given by Mr Joshua Van Berkel and Mr Asep Sukmara, representatives from DHI Water and Environment. The floor was then opened for comments and discussion.

 

Mr Remco Van Merm, from IUCN, reiterated that the submission of the SEA by the Government of Indonesia will be an important step in implementing the corrective measures towards the removal of TRHS from the In Danger list, however there are still other corrective measures to be implemented by the Government as stated in their DSOCR. All the representatives from the Government of Indonesia agreed and committed to have an internal meeting to review the SEA document thoroughly upon receiving it from UNESCO, before its submission to the World Heritage Center.

For more information, please contact Dr Shahbaz Khan at s.khan(at)unesco.org.




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