NGOs appeal to Unesco to save Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem

Asian Correspondent published an article online titled, “NGOs appeal to Unesco to save Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem.” The article reads in part as follows;

“A coalition of NGOs has submitted a letter to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in a bid to save a remote expanse of tropical rainforest in Indonesia’s Aceh province

Local NGOs, including the Orangutan Information Centre (OIC), the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program as well as the Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh (Haka), have raised serious concerns regarding a proposed geothermal power plant, which they claim could harm the heritage-listed Leuser Ecosystem.

Leuser is an expanse of 2.6 million hectares of remote, mountainous jungle which has been on Unesco’s World Heritage in Danger List since 2011 due to increasing encroachment by oil palm plantations.

Ninety percent of Sumatra’s 6,000 remaining orangutan live in Leuser, which Haka says is also one of Asia’s largest carbon sinks.

Haka chairman Farwiza Farhan told Asian Correspondent the remote Kappi Valley in Leuser – the proposed site of the geothermal plant – is an important habitat for wildlife. She says geothermal is considered mining, and that the region’s Unesco status means it cannot ‘take place legally’.

‘The construction process and efforts to connect the plant into the grid will be destructive for wildlife, for the forest and people’, she said.

Leuser is the last place on earth where the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, elephant, tiger and orangutan co-exist in the wild. According to the International Union for the Conservation of nature, only 700 to 1,000 Sumatran elephants remain in the wild.”

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