Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Indonesia`s MLC to invest US$15 bln in metals venture

Jakarta (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - PT Merukh Lembata Copper (MLC) says it will spend around US$15 billion to exploit gold, copper and silver deposits in the regency of Lembata, East Nusatenggara.

"MLC will cooperate with German firms Kufer Produkte GmbH, Nortddeutche Affinerie AG and IKB Deutche Indutroebank AG - which will act as the financier," company President Jusuf Merukh told the newspaper Investor Daily.

Merukh said the project will start next year after the completion of a feasibility study.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Forestry body pushes for forest rangers to take lead in illegal logging batt

Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Attempts have been made to push forest rangers to the front line in the battle against rampant illegal logging to make use of their knowledge of forestry practices and activities.

"Forest rangers, who are equipped with investigative skills and knowledge on forestry affairs, should be able to take stricter action against illegal loggers since they have the same authority as the police," Nanang Roffandi Ahmad, chairman of the Indonesian Forestry Association, said Friday during a discussion on illegal logging.

"Moreover, with their knowledge of forestry matters, they will be able to determine the type of violations."

Illegal logging has been a constant and acute problem in Indonesia in terms of both the environment and the law. In an effort to curb such activities, the government issued a 2005 presidential instruction on the control of logging activities and the distribution of logs.

The regulation stipulates that forest rangers should cooperate with police to tackle illegal loggers.

However, Nanang says responsibilities to be shared between the police and forest rangers were not clearly defined.

"Police should take action only if the illegal logging activities violate the Criminal Code. But to some extent, illegal logging does not always violate the code ... sometimes it is more of an administrative violation," he explained.

"If they are only administrative violations, it is the forest rangers that should take action against the perpetrators by imposing administrative sanctions, such as fines and by revoking their (logging) licenses," he said.

"But if the activities are categorized as a violation of the Criminal Code, it is the police's responsibility to take legal action."

To effectively combat illegal logging, Nanang said, the government needs to more clearly assign authority and responsibilities to the police and forest rangers so as to prevent an overlapping of duties.

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Sisno Adiwinoto said, however, that the police, not rangers, should constitute the front line in combating illegal logging activities.

"The authority to enforce the law against illegal loggers is only granted to the police, while forest rangers can only help us in relation to the technical aspects of forestry affairs," he told The Jakarta Post.

He added that although the police had taken serious action against illegal loggers in the past, a majority of the perpetrators are eventually acquitted in court.

"We're committed to combating illegal logging activities and we always conduct serious investigations into such cases. But, frequently, many of the illegal loggers are eventually freed of any charges," he said.

"As an example, of the recent 28 illegal logging cases in Papua, there were only seven that ended in convictions, and only with minor charges being laid, while the rest were acquitted."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Unilever rebuilds quake-damaged health, education facilities

The Jakarta Post

YOGYAKARTA: PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk. has rebuilt health and education facilities badly damaged by the 2006 earthquake in Bantul, Gunungkidul and Sleman regencies.

The company's director of corporate relations and human resources Joseph Bataona officially handed over the facilities to the respective regions on Wednesday in a modest ceremony held at Bambanglipuro Community Health Center, Bantul.

The rebuilt facilities comprise of five community health centers, or puskesmas -- four in Bantul and one in Gunungkidul -- a community center in Sleman and a kindergarten in Bantul.

"Children are the future of the nation. In rebuilding the facilities, we want to make sure that they are educated and healthy for the sake of their future," Bataona said in his remarks during the ceremony.

According to Maya Tamimi, SME program manager at Unilever Peduli Foundation, the company spent Rp 2.7 billion (about US$300,000) in reconstructing the facilities.

Together with medical and other equipment provided along with the health facilities, total funds spent amounted to about Rp 4 billion.

"We are glad that the private sector has provided us with such aid that we are sure we will be able to completely reconstruct all (damaged) public facilities within two years since the earthquake," Bantul regent Idham Samawi said at the ceremony. -- JP/Sri Wahyuni

Govt warns of high waves, eruptions in coming weeks

M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government warned Thursday of the possibility that natural disasters could strike in several of the country's regions in the coming weeks.

Senior government officials have asked the Indonesian people to brace for potential volcanic eruptions and huge waves expected to pound numerous coastal regions.

Speaking after a limited Cabinet meeting, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said that at least 12 volcanoes were active throughout the country, while Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Jamal cautioned that huge waves, in excess of six meters in height, could persist until August.

Purnomo said the danger rating of 10 volcanoes is on the third highest level and that they require close monitoring. They are Talang in West Sumatra, Minor Krakatau in Lampung, Merapi in Yogyakarta, Semeru and Bromo in East Java, Batutara in East Nusa Tenggara, Karang Etan and Lokon in North Sulawesi and Dukono and Ibu in North Maluku.

Soputan in North Sulawesi is at "beware" status, the second highest danger level, while Gamkonora in North Maluku is at the highest alert status.

The heightened activities of Gamkonora prompted the evacuation of 13,000 people after the volcano began spewing ash and debris over the past few days.

On Thursday, the government also issued a warning for high waves.

Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) chairwomen Sri Woro Budiharti Haryono attributed the high waves to tropical cyclone Man Yi that will likely shroud several regions in the country.

Sri Woro said waves of between three and six meters in height will likely crash against the Eastern shores of the country near the Seram, Aru and Arafuru seas, the Fak Fak and Merauke coasts and most of Maluku.

On Wednesday, passenger ship KM Wahai Star, plying the Buru Island-Ambon route and carrying 60 passengers, sank in Pulau Tiga Isle. High waves were blamed for the incident.

Ships of all types are barred from travel when waves reach between three and six meters, Sri Woro said.

Waves of between two and three meters will likely pound coasts facing the Indonesian Ocean south of Java, waters off Masalembo and the Sulawesi Sea, she said, adding that sea transportation during periods when waves reach such heights is considered dangerous.

The government also warned of the possibility of flooding and forest fires in the coming months.

After hearing presentations about the possible disasters, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ordered relevant agencies to implement disaster mitigation procedures.

Yudhoyono asked the BMG to keep the public updated on weather occurrences and information that could serve as an early warning for disasters.

"The President also paid special attention to information on the heightened activities of volcanoes. He wants the BMG to coordinate with governors and regents throughout the country about disseminating the information," Purnomo said.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

WFP Warns 13 Million Indonesian Children Are Hungry

Wednesday, 11 July, 2007 | 16:31 WIB

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: The World Food Programme (WFP) has stated that famine conditions involving Indonesian children are very pitiable.

Every day, said Anthony Banbury, WFP's Director for Asia, it is estimated that there are 13 million children in Indonesia who are hungry.

“This number is still extremely high,” he said during an aid donation event by American food provider company, Cargill, at the office of the Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, yesterday (10/7).

This condition, said Banbury, is highly related to poverty problems in Indonesia and a lot of families are unable to buy nutritious food.

In addition, disaster factors, such as the tsunami in Aceh and conflicts in many areas, have also influenced famine problem.

Droughts and shortages of clean water have also played roles.

“Different areas, different causes,” said Banbury.

Dipayan Bhattacharyya, Head of the WFP Analysis, Mapping, Monitoring and Crisis Evaluation Unit, who was contacted by Tempo, said that 13 million was the number resulting from the survey carried out by the Central Statistics Bureau (BPS) in 2005.

Most hunger cases happen in Eastern Indonesia including West Nusa Tenggara, Madura and Maluku.

“In Java, the number is smaller,” he said.

Conditions in Indonesia, said Dipayan, are far worse compared to Singapore and Malaysia.

In those two countries, the hunger levels are quite low.

However, Indonesia is still better compared to Cambodia and Laos.

Banburry and Dipayan said that the government has in fact already been quite serious in handling hunger problems.

The government, said Dipayan, recently tried to increase regional governments' capacity to continue monitoring hunger cases.

According to Banburry, the private sector is also needed to play a role in order to overcome hunger problems.

During the event, Cargill handed over US$3 million of aid for three years to help provide healthy food for 30,000 elementary school students in Madura and Bogor.

PRAMONO

Farmers, fishermen week leaves many feeling ill

Khairul Saleh, The Jakarta Post, Palembang

Scores of participants at the 12th National Farmers and Fishermen Week in Banyuasin regency, South Sumatra, have fallen ill due to poor sanitation at the event venue.

Participants were lining up Wednesday at a command post organized by event organizers for medical care.

Indarjo, who is attending the event from Bengkulu, was seeking treatment for a stomachache.

Doctors at the post said he was suffering from digestive problems.

"I rarely get sick, but since I arrived here I get sick easily. I don't think the sanitation here is as good as expected," Indarjo said.

He added that he was unable to take part in many of the planned activities because he was too sick.

The weeklong event, which was opened by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Saturday, is being attended by 21,000 farmers and fishermen from 33 provinces across the country, as well as representatives from Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries and Japan.

The event is designed as a forum to exchange information on the latest development in the agriculture and fishery sectors, including agriculture technology development in the regions.

The event is also intended to help improve communication among farmers and fishermen groups to enable them to help improve their welfare.

Participants are being accommodated in thousands of houses belonging to local residents in 25 villages in Sembawa district. At the event venue itself, many of the provided toilets are not working properly.

Achmad, a participant from Ogan Komering Ilir regency, said he has suffered from diarrhea since drinking water taken from a nearby well.

He said the poor sanitation was aggravated by the large amount of dust blowing through the area, which had caused breathing problems and headaches.

Other participants have complained of flu, toothaches, coughing and digestive problems.

H. Panut of the South Sumatra Health Office, said, "All of them (the complaints) have been caused by poor sanitation at the event venue."

Panut said the office was providing medicines, vitamins and medical services for participants.

More companies promise to protect Jakarta Bay area

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Several more companies located in the vicinity of Jakarta Bay have promised to revise waste disposal methods in an effort to reduce pollution.

Some 37 out of 85 companies in the area have now signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) detailing their commitment to protecting the bay.

"We will give them one year to meet their commitments, and if they fail to do so, we will withdraw their business licenses," Ridwan Panjaitan, head of pollution control at the Jakarta Environmental Management Board (BPLHD), said Tuesday.

Under the MoU, each company must treat its solid, liquid and hazardous waste and control air pollution from fixed and mobile sources, including emissions from factories and vehicles.

The companies are also required to submit reports about their progress to the BPLHD.

Companies that signed the MoU last week include Koja Container Terminal, state port operator Pelindo II in Tanjung Priok, the management of Ancol Dreamland recreation park and PT Indonesia Marine.

Residents argue a decline in fish numbers in the area is due to heavy pollution emitted from factories and businesses operating along the bay.

The program to clean up Jakarta Bay was first launched last year, with 19 companies initially signing the MoU.

However, only 10 companies have carried out their promises so far.

"Nine companies have not submitted reports regarding their progress. We will send them warning letters soon," he said.

The Jakarta administration has also been under pressure to clean up the city's river system recently.

The administration said 13 rivers flowing into the Jakarta Bay contribute at least 14,000 cubic meters of household waste to the area daily. This is almost half of the estimated 28,435 cubic meters of waste that enters the bay, endangering coral reefs and other sea life.

The Kepulauan Seribu regency is currently using four boats and a barge to clean up the sea, with collected garbage disposed of at the Bantar Gebang sanitary landfill in Bekasi.

The capital currently produces more than 6,000 tons of garbage per day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

UN food program to feed RI kids

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) launched a project Tuesday to support 30,000 Indonesian school-age children in Bogor, West Java, and Madura Island, East Java.

Anthony N. Banbury, WFP regional director for Asia, said Bogor and Madura were selected for the program because both had high malnutrition rates and the WFP already had offices there.

Banbury said the program would work toward alleviating child hunger in several ways. First, by ensuring that children receive fortified snacks every school day through the WFP school feeding program; second, by providing clean water through the construction of over 125 wells and de-worming tablets to ensure that the children absorb all the nutrients from the fortified snacks; and third, by supporting training that promotes hygienic and healthy habits among children.

"We're trying to provide life-changing assistance, life-changing opportunities. That's what the WFP is working on here with the government," he added.

The program will cover 140 schools in Madura and Bogor. The WFP selected the schools according to criteria such as their location in the malnourished areas and willingness to commit to supporting the program.

Dipayan Bhattacharyya from the WFP told The Jakarta Post that one out of three children in Madura and one out of four in Bogor suffer malnutrition.

Dipayan said there are 350 malnourished areas scattered throughout the country.

"This includes East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, some parts of Kalimantan, South Sumatra, parts of North Sumatra, Papua, Riau and South Nias," he said.

Dipayan added that the situation in Bogor is unique because the high rate of malnutrition there persists despite being located near the capital Jakarta.

"In the city of Bogor, the malnutrition rate is nine percent, but in Bogor regency it is 25 percent," he said.

The program is a collaborative effort between the WFP and the U.S. food company Cargill, which will provide US$3 million to fund the program.

Deputy Minister for the People's Welfare Adang Setiana said the Office of the Coordinating Minister for the People's Welfare would act as a supporting unit in the program.

Data gathered by the WFP in 2006 show that about 13 million children in the country suffer from hunger, and 30.2 percent of children under the age of five living in rural areas are underweight.

Banbury said the WFP currently runs two main activities: the school feeding program, which supports school-age children through the provision of fortified biscuits at school, and the health posts (Posyandu) program, which assists mothers and children under the age of five.

Thousands flee N. Maluku volcano as warning raised

Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

Nearly 8,500 people have fled the slopes of a volcano in Halmahera, North Maluku, after it spewed ash, smoke and debris, officials said Tuesday, as the volcanology office raised its warning to the highest level.

Surono, head of the Bandung-based Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation Center, said his subordinates had registered at least 8,439 residents living along the mount's slopes fleeing to nearby Ibu district in West Halmahera regency.

"We've recommended that residents living at a radius of eight kilometers from the mount's crater to evacuate to Ibu district to avoid discharges of burning materials and thick smoke," Surono told reporters in Bandung.

He explained that he had sent a team as of Monday to back up officers stationed at the Mount Gamkonora observation post and help evacuation activities. They were scheduled to arrive there on Wednesday, he said.

According to AFP, the volcanology office said volcanic activity at Mount Gamkonora, about 2,700 kilometers northeast of Jakarta, prompted it to raise its warning level to "alert" which means an eruption is imminent.

Spot fires were visible and the crater spewed burning material up to 15 metres from the crater, the office said. People nearby heard two thunderous booms and the column of smoke rising from the crater reached up to 2,500 metres, the office said on its website.

It said that as of early Monday, 8,439 people had moved off the slopes of the 1,635-metre volcano, which last erupted in 1987.

It was unclear how many remained on the slopes and were at risk.

Local official Penta Libela said authorities were helping with the evacuation of villagers and had prepared four safe shelters.

"It is not an official evacuation program. The population panicked because of the eruption and fled on their own and as the local government, we are merely helping by providing more vehicles and assigning temporary shelters," Libela said early Monday.

Indonesia sits on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire," where continental plates meet, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activity. The archipelago nation has the world's highest number of active volcanoes.

Gamkonora has erupted 12 times since records have been kept.

The volcano typically spews heat clouds, or pyroclastic flows, along with lava streams toward villages in the west and northwest of Halmahera island, rather than exploding, the volcanology website said.

ADB Assisting Viet Nam in Improving Quality, Safety of Agricultural Products

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will assist the Government of Vietnam in improving the quality and safety of its agricultural products.

“As Viet Nam’s agricultural sector becomes increasingly integrated with domestic and international markets, improvements in product quality and safety assume greater importance,” said Ahsan Tayyab, senior natural resources economist of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department. “Efforts need to be directed at agriculture research, extension, marketing, post harvest operations, and product grading and certification.”

The agricultural sector in Viet Nam experienced rapid growth during the last decade, averaging about 4% annually. Food security has improved at the national level and the country has turned from a net food importer into a major exporter of various agricultural products. However, key concerns remain, most notably meat hygiene and pesticide residue.

Financial and human resource limitations of the government are preventing the establishment of an effective regulatory mechanism, and whatever resources are available are often too widely dispersed.

Through the project, ADB will assist the Government of Viet Nam in coming up with an action plan that will improve the quality and safety standards of agricultural products, increase the number of viable small- and medium-scale enterprises in the sector and strengthen the capacity of concerned government agencies. The project is expected to contribute to Viet Nam’s sustainable agricultural growth by improving the competitiveness of farm products and enhancing linkages among producers, traders, product processors and consumers.

The project is estimated to cost $950,000, with ADB providing a grant of $750,000 to cover most of that amount to be sourced from the Japan Special Fund. The balance will be covered in kind by the Government of Viet Nam.

About ADB

Indonesia and Vietnam to join forces to market pepper

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Vietnam, two of the world's main producers of pepper, are to cooperate in marketing it, an executive of the Indonesian pepper industry said Wednesday.

Mustakim Wijaya, vice-chairman of the Indonesian Pepper Exporters' Association, said producers here and in Vietnam planned to establish a joint committee to focus on marketing, improving quality standards and compiling statistics.

"The Vietnamese side wants the joint committee to be formed before the end of the year, and we are working on this," he was quoted by Thomson Financial as saying.

Together, the two countries produce more than 45 percent of the world's pepper.

Wijaya said the committee would meet annually to discuss the international market.

China and Brazil, two other big producers, have expressed interest in joining the committee and have sent observers to meetings between Indonesian and Vietnamese representatives, including a two-day meeting which finished here Tuesday.

Vietnam has about 33 percent of the world market, Brazil has 15 percent and Indonesia 13 percent.

Mustakim said that world pepper supply remained well below demand, with a shortfall of about 47,500 tonnes estimated for 2007.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

3,000 people flee spewing Mount Gamkonora in Halmahera, Maluku

JAKARTA (Antara): Some 3,000 people have fled the slopes of Mount Gamkonora, a volcano in Halmahera Island in Maluku, after it spewed ash, smoke and other volcanic debris, a local official said Tuesday.

"Up until today, some 3,000 people from eight villages on the slopes of Gamkonora have left their homes for safer grounds," said Penta Libela, the deputy district chief of West Halmahera.

Mount Gamkonora, about 2,700 kilometers (1,600 miles) northeast of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, was on Monday placed on a level three alert, one level below the top warning which signals an imminent eruption.

Ash and smoke shot up as high as two kilometers from the peak on Monday and soared a kilometer into the air Tuesday.

"It is not an official evacuation program. The population panicked because of the eruption and fled on their own and as the local government, we are merely helping by providing more vehicles and assigning temporary shelters," Libela said.

Four villages, each more than 20 kilometers away from the crater, are accommodating most of the displaced.

The 1,635-metre (5,461-foot) volcano was relatively calmer on Tuesday, Libela said.

"There are small eruptions that release volcanic material, including ash, and smoke, but according to the Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG), these are not serious eruptions," Libela said.

The ash blanketed some villages on the volcano's slopes on Monday, he said, but he could not immediately say whether the ash was raining on any other areas on Tuesday.

Libela said there were no reports of casualties.

Indonesia sits on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire," where continental plates meet, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activity. The archipelago nation has the world's highest number of active volcanoes.

Gamkonora has erupted 12 times, the most recently in 1987.

Police stationed to guard water network

CIREBON, West Java (The Jakarta Post) : Police in Cirebon will be deployed to safeguard irrigation networks there to prevent disputes over scarce water supplies badly needed for rice planting during the dry season.

Quarrels among farmers have been common amid their efforts to secure water during the dry season for rice field irrigation networks.

Rice fields in a number of areas in Cirebon and Indramayu have already been affected by the dry season.

"We fear the drought will spread if there is no rainfall or an alternative water source," Asikin Kusnadi of the Cirebon Agriculture and Plantation Office said.

Asikin said water to the drought-affected areas in Cirebon is taken from the nearby Karet Kumpulkuista dam. "Unfortunately, it is difficult to channel water to the rice fields due to the falling water flow. In such conditions, tensions between farmers can be easily sparked in their efforts to control irrigation gates," he said.

Meanwhile, water shortages in Indramayu have been caused predominantly by the reduced water flow from Rentang dam. "Most farmers have found difficulties in getting water for their rice planting," said Kroya district head Suparto.

Chief of Cirebon Police, Sr. Comr. Bambang Puji Raharjo, said he ordered his officers to safeguard the conflict-prone irrigation gates around the clock.

The most sever discord over scarce water supplies took place July 9 last year when a mass brawl among farmers erupted in Sukgumiwang district, Indramayu. -- JP

Yogya seminar discusses disaster recovery

Sri Wahyuni, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

Participants at an international seminar on post-disaster reconstruction currently being held in Yogyakarta are looking to establish a framework for post-disaster recovery efforts and disaster mitigation based on experience gained from major disasters around the world.

Along with papers presented during the two-day seminar, the new framework will be published as an international registered proceeding to be made available to government agencies and the wider public.

Speaking at a press conference, chairman of the seminar's steering committee Gembong Prijono, said domestic and international experts as well as government officials and donor agencies involved in post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction had been invited to attend the event, scheduled to finish Tuesday.

Some 200 domestic participants are in attendance, along with 15 foreign participants from Japan, Thailand and the Netherlands.

"By comparing our experiences we will try to come up with a framework for long-term recovery planning that will not just include physical reconstruction efforts but also social and economical ones," Gembong said.

Past experiences, including from Aceh after the 2004 tsunami and Yogyakarta and Central Java after the 2006 earthquake, have shown several deficiencies in post-disaster recovery efforts, Gembong said.

Among them, he said, included long-term planning for recovery and integrated rehabilitation and reconstruction, the management and coordination of recovery activities, the effective implementation of mitigation measures and building guidelines and a lack of attention to long-term socio-economic recovery.

"At the seminar we aim to define key problems and bottlenecks encountered in current recovery processes and share lessons learned from past experiences in those areas," Gembong said.

"Another aim is to propose actions to be taken to enhance the effectiveness of future disaster recovery processes," he said.

The newly approved Law No. 24/2007 on disaster management, Gembong said, stipulates that the post-disaster recovery phase is to be further formulated in another government regulation.

"The results of the seminar hopefully will provide effective input for the formulation of the regulation," he said.

Hosted by the Jakarta-based Urban and Regional Development Institute (URDI), the aim of the seminar was to compile the best practices to rebuild disaster-affected areas as well as devise disaster mitigation strategies for long-term recovery.

"Recovery efforts for major disasters so far have been lacking long-term strategies and are too focused on physical reconstruction," URDI's director Budhy Tjahjati Soegijoko said.

She stressed the need for effectiveness and sustainability in reconstruction programs so that affected communities do not just recover from disasters but are more responsive to potential disasters in the future.

Indonesia has been rocked by major disasters since a 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami devastated Aceh, leaving some 170,000 people missing or dead.

High-profile recovery efforts by the government and local and international agencies have raised questions about the effectiveness and sustainability of rebuilding affected communities and preparing them for possible future disasters.

Prior to the seminar, participants were taken to Klaten (Central Java) and Bantul (Yogyakarta), two of the worst-hit areas after the 2006 earthquake, to witness the progress of recovery efforts.

Govt invites business to help prevent diarrhea

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Health Ministry and the private sector are working together to promote hand washing to help tackle the staggering number of deaths from diarrhea in the country, particularly among children.

Diarrhea has become one of the most common diseases in Indonesia, killing more than 100,000 children every year.

According to the Jakarta Health Agency, Jakarta saw more than 20,000 people suffer from diarrhea in 2006. More than 11,000 diarrhea cases have been recorded from January to July this year.

"Washing hands with soap in the proper way can help people avoid getting diarrhea," Tjandra Yoga Aditama, the director of Communicable Disease Control at the ministry, told the Open Partnership Meeting on Monday.

The meeting, held by the ministry, the National Development Planning Board and other state institutions concerned with sanitation and public facilities, was also aimed at encouraging the non-government sector to participate in a hand washing campaign through the Public-Private Partnership Program.

Tjandra said Jakartans and people living in other cities had low awareness of proper hand washing.

"Many people only wash their hands when they feel they're dirty."

"People should wash their hands in running water before having something to eat, before preparing food, when they hold babies (and) after defecating and urinating," he said.

Tjandra said poor sanitation and unhealthy lifestyles had contributed to the high number of diarrhea patients in Indonesia, with 423 out of 1,000 people suffering from the disease. In many areas, the disease was so frequent as to be classified as an "extraordinary occurrence".

"Children are the most prone to this disease," he said.

Acute diarrhea is usually caused by infection and may be accompanied by bloating, nausea and abdominal pain, sometimes leading to death.

"The entrance of these germs into the human body affects the alimentary canal and the respiratory system the most," he said, adding that habitual hand washing could also help people avoid respiratory diseases such as bird flu and pneumonia.

According to Wan Alkadri, a director at the Health Ministry, hand washing prevented the transmission of the dangerous pathogens that caused diarrhea.

"Habitual hand washing is considered to a be do-it-yourself vaccine, which is more effective than any other vaccine," he said.

Since 2005, 90 out of a total of 111 bird flu patients have died, the majority of the deaths occurring in West Java.

The government needed the private sectors' participation to get the best results from the promotion campaign, Wan said.

"In its implementation, this program needs the private sectors' involvement. Their involvement would allow us to extend our capabilities and make the program sustainable," he said.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Volcanic Fumes Kill 6 Teens in Indonesia

Washingtonpost.com, Sunday, July 8, 2007; 9:27 AM

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP)-- Poisonous fumes from an Indonesian volcano killed six teenagers who were camping on the mountain, a doctor said Sunday.

Indonesia has more active volcanoes than any other nation and climbing them when they are not especially active is a popular pastime. Salak, where the teens died Saturday, is just south of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and is one of the country's most popular peaks.

Jusuf Fauzan, a doctor at a hospital in the nearby town of Bogor, said families of the victims had refused autopsies, but the dead were believed to have been poisoned by gases from one of two craters on the volcano. The six were found with blood and foam on their mouths and noses, he said.

The victims, between 14 and 16 years old, were among about 50 students spending the weekend on the mountain, media reports said. Their bodies were evacuated from the 7,152 feet peak on Sunday.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Govt to revive ruined C. Kalimantan forest

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government announced Friday a plan to rehabilitate 1.1 million hectares of a 1.4 million-ha slab of land it now admits was badly damaged as a result of a massive peatland project in Central Kalimantan in the 1990s.

"The peatland project was designed to convert forested areas into paddy fields. Though it was not based on any environmental study and has resulted in negative impacts on the environment as well as the regional social structure," the head of the Center of Forestland Use at the Forestry Ministry, Dwi Sudharto, told a media conference Friday.

Between 1996 and 1997, the government initiated the land conversion project by building 187 kilometers of primary water channels, which connected two rivers in that area: the Kahayan and Barito rivers. The project, which resulted in uncontrolled forest fires, produced only 30,000 ha of paddy fields. The government ended the project in 1999.

Early this year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a presidential instruction on the rehabilitation of the area.

The eight-point instruction orders 15 departmental and regional offices to provide funds for the land reclamation and reforestation project from the state budget, the regional budget and other untied funding sources.

"The peatland project has threatened several species of rare plants, such as Ramin and Nyatoh, with extinction, while the building of the primary water channel has changed the local waterway system," said Dwi.

He added that logging carried out to clear the peatland forest for rice planting activities had decreased the ability of soil there to absorb water, which caused flooding in the rainy season and fires in the dry season. The 1997 fire in Kalimantan, he said, contributed the highest quantity of carbon ever witnessed anywhere in the world. The project also opened the door for illegal logging in the region, he said.

"In the social sector, the project evicted local communities from their own land, while replacing them with transmigrants who turned out to be incapable of peatland agriculture," he said.

He said the government had decided to return 1.1 million ha of the damaged 1.4 million-ha area to the Forestry Ministry for reforestation. He added that his office is still examining whether the remaining 300,000 ha could be made suitable for agriculture.

The head of the Forestry Ministry Planing Agency, Yetti Rusli, said her office would synchronize the regional spatial plan with the region's forest map together with other related departments.

"We warned the government (of the environmental problem) at that time. If it is possible to use the land effectively for further agriculture, we'll maintain it as such. But if it needs rehabilitation, we'll focus on that," said Yetti.

Dwi said the revision of the provincial spatial plan must reconsider permits issued by the Forestry Ministry, as well as the function of the forest and other areas that had been opened for agriculture, but whose use had never been optimized.

"There is a total of 4.5 million ha of opened land and another 4.7 million ha for plantations for which permits were issued. But only 2 million ha were set aside as land concessions. The synchronization of the spatial plan must also reconsider the existing permits in order to avoid legal problems," said Dwi.

Govt not to issue special decision on milk production

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will not issue a special decision to raise milk production amidst domestic milk price hike, the Industry Minister said.

"No decision (on milk production) has been issued," Fahmi said here on Friday.

Only the agriculture ministry which has a program to raise milk production from 10 thousand liters to 15 thousand liters per day, Fahmi said, in view of the current the milk price hike.

The agriculture ministry is trying to raise the number of dairy cows in a bid to increase Indonesia`s milk production.

Previously, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said the recent milk price hike was still within a reasonable limit in accordance with the annual increase of five percent.

Minister Pangestu made the remarks after attending a limited cabinet meeting at the presidential office here on July 3.

The Trade Minister found out that milk retail price increased only by 2 to 3 percent except in Denpasar, Bali, where the price had risen by about 10 percent.

The milk price hike was caused by the high price of milk powder (full cream) as its raw material had risen from US$280 per ton to US$4,500 per ton in the January-July period.

Meanwhile, the trade minister said the increase in the price of raw material of milk powder did not mean that milk retail price had also increased as producers in the country had taken efficiency measures.

Producers have predicted the price of the product would increase by only 5 to 10 percent, Mari said, noting that the price would increase in stages during the year.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Reforestation to provide livelihoods for forest dwellers

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

People living in the remote regencies of Sumatra and Kalimantan will be able to earn extra income by the end of the year by participating in reforestation schemes funded by low-interest loans from the Reforestation Finance Agency (BPPH).

The agency, which has been established by the Forestry Ministry, is gearing up to provide loans of up to Rp 6.34 million (around US$698) per hectare for those interested in planting trees on denuded or degraded land.

"The agency has selected 28 fast-growing species, including Acacia, which can be harvested for timber after seven to eight years," said Roni Saefulloh, head of the directorate general of cooperation at the Forestry Ministry during a panel discussion held by a not-for-profit environmental organization, the Elsda Institute, on Wednesday.

The agency has earmarked 5.4 million hectares for the project, which covers eight provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan, most of which have been badly affected by illegal logging.

Roni said that the reforestation program should provide livelihoods for 360,000 families, each of which could plant up to 15 hectares.

"Each family will have to plant 1.75 hectares in the first year, and another 1.75 hectares in each subsequent year," said Roni, adding that scheme had been specially designed to be gradual so as to enable the agency to oversee its progress.

"If they are allowed to cultivate all of the 15 hectares at once, we are afraid they might spend the loans on something else," said Roni.

Sumiati, a unit head at the Finance Ministry and member of the agency, said that the interest charged on the loans would be based on the interest rate set by the Deposit Insurance Agency (LPS), which currently stands at 8.5 percent, below the average commercial lending rate of some 14 percent.

Roni said that those taking out loans would have to repay them after their first harvests, which meant seven to eight years down the track.

In addition to providing loans to individuals, the program will also target timber firms, Roni said, adding that in total the agency intended to disburse Rp 1.4 trillion in loans to both individuals and firms.

The loans will be taken from the reforestation fund, which holds monies paid to the Forestry Ministry by companies operating in the timber industry.

Roni said, however, that the loans to the timber firms would carry commercial interest rates.

"The agency has identified 3.6 million hectares for the industry reforestation program, with the loans amounting to between Rp 8.2 million and Rp 11 million per hectare," said Roni.

Near-extinct tiger lives to tell a tale

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A wild male Sumatran tiger missing one paw has been captured on camera inside Tesso Nilo National Park and is believed to be the animal that escaped a hunter's trap last year by chewing its own paw off.

A wildlife conservation camera placed inside the Riau national park by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), one of the world's largest and most respected conservation organizations, captured in March four photographs of the three-pawed tiger walking and seemingly coping well after his ordeal.

The same tiger was photographed in a different location in May this year walking in the forest.

On both scenes, the tiger appears to be in good physical condition.

The Sumatran tiger is the most critically endangered tiger subspecies in the world. There are less than 400 left in the wild and WWF said it holds grave fears for the animal.

The tigers continue to live under constant threat because they are hunted for sale on the black market and their habitat is rapidly being replaced by agricultural and logging operations.

Some traps are set specifically by poachers to catch tigers, while most are designed to catch other animals for villagers' meat supplies or as a means of pest control.

WWF-Indonesia's tiger survey and monitoring coordinator, Sunarto, said the situation was upsetting because it had taken place inside a national park where the tiger was supposed to be protected.

"This tiger looks like he's in good condition in our photos, but his future is uncertain," Sunarto said.

"The Sumatran tiger population is at such low levels, we can't afford to lose even one to a snare."

WWF is currently working with national park management and the Natural Resource Conservation Office (BKSDA) in Riau to increase tiger conservation awareness, decrease the use of snares and rid the forest of illegal huntsman.

Since 2005, WWF and BKSDA's anti-poaching teams have confiscated at least 101 snares -- 75 of which were inside the protected areas of Tesso Nilo National Park and Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve.

Of the 101 snares, 23 were specifically targeted tigers, while the rest were used for wild boar and sunbears.

Sunarto said the use of snares was every day bringing the Sumatran tiger one step closer to extinction, but that the very primitive hunting system also put villagers and domestic animals in danger.

"When a tiger is sick or crippled, its ability to hunt and catch natural prey is reduced significantly," he said.

"As a result, such tigers search for food in nearby villages, attacking livestock or even people."

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Carbon credit boom in the offing for Indonesian firms

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Companies in developing countries engaging in carbon credit sales are likely to increase their earnings significantly this year as the global value of the market, which reached about US$30 billion in 2006, is expected to double, an analyst says.

"The market value of carbon credits is likely to again increase in very, very significant percentages. It could be double again," Jotdeep Singh, Rabo India Finance's head for renewable energy and carbon credits in Asia Pacific, told The Jakarta Post.

Rabo India Finance is a subsidiary of Rabobank International.

Singh said that as carbon credit trading itself only commenced in October 2005 following the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, more countries had been entering the market recently.

"You have a few countries that have taken the lead in terms of volumes and projects, such as China and India. Therefore, Indonesia does not want to be left behind. More and more companies need to find this out, what the opportunities are for them."

What is of concern to developing countries, like Indonesia, Jotdeep said, is how to promote the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

The CDM is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialized countries, also called the Annex 1 countries who signed quantitative limits to their gas emissions, to buy carbon credits from other countries -- mostly developing countries -- who did not sign up to poverty reduction goals under the Protocol.

Last year, CDM projects contributed about $5 billion to the total world market value, and is also expected to double this year.

"These non-Annex 1 countries still have the challenge of addressing poverty. That is why they were exempted from taking on emission reduction targets, because it was seen that the targets could harm their economic growth and therefore their poverty reduction efforts."

With that advantage in hand, companies in developing countries can reduce their gas emissions and obtain carbon credit certificates, called Certified Emission Rights (CERs), from the United Nations, which can later be traded.

A one-ton carbon dioxide reduction is estimated to be worth $13.

So far, Indonesia has only registered nine CDM projects, which delivered over one million tons of CO2 reductions. Another nine are still in the pipeline, Jotdeep said.

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Muhammad Hidayat admitted that the participation of local companies in mechanism was still as most businesses still had little idea of what it was all about.

"Indonesia has a big potential. I have received offers from Northern European countries that want to trade carbon credits with Indonesian companies. I've also met the Norwegian prime minister, who wanted to discuss a couple of projects, with one of them located in Bali," Hidayat said.

Companies planning to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions should prepare a document outlining their plans and hire a consultant to prepare a carbon credit proposal for submission to the UN. These proposals are known as Project Design Documents (PDD), which must be validated by UN Designated Operating Entities (DOEs).

Consultation and validation combined can cost from $30,000 to $50,000, Jotdeep said.

Those firms that cannot afford consultancy or validation can avail of the Verified Emission Reduction (VER) mechanism, which also involves a form of tradable credits, but which entails a lower cost compared to the CER.

Education helps improve lives of city's poorest

Anissa S. Febrina, The Jakarta Post

Who has been the most effective agent of change in the campaign for cleaner lifestyles in Jakarta's subdistricts?

In North Jakarta's Teluk Gong it has been the children. Chirpy, curious, innocent children.

Months ago, none in the slum had any knowledge of sanitation or garbage sorting. The children were among the first to introduce the words as they brought home plastic bags labeled "paper", "tin" and "plastic".

Many children now also remind their mothers and fathers to wash their hands before eating simply by singing a song taught in a small bamboo hut beside the river in Teluk Gong.

Children like these are the ones who make the efforts of non-governmental organizations such as the Emmanuel Foundation and Mercy Corps worthwhile.

Living with substandard sanitation and limited water resources, slum dwellers -- especially children -- are among those prone to infectious diseases.

And children are indeed the best group to initiate a clean-lifestyle campaign in the community.

"Who knows why we have to wash our hands before eating?" Emannuel Foundation social worker Mita Sirait asked a gathering of Teluk Gong children last Friday afternoon.

Right hands quickly raced upward for Mita's attention while answers were shouted out before she had the chance to choose a child to answer.

After the fun and educational session finished, the children ran to a used plastic bucket that had been converted into a water container outside the hut to wash their hands -- a habit the children had developed and were spreading through their community.

Outside their homes, Mercy Corps has provided water containers labeled with the advice "wash your hands before eating".

"They (Mercy Corps workers) give us cooking oil in return for our getting ourselves used to the habit of hand washing," said Nurbiyanti, a housewife in the area.

When providing aid to those living in slums, incentives are highly useful in introducing the concept of a healthier lifestyle -- both for adults and children.

"Who has finished hanging up their garbage sorting bag in their house?" asked another tutor, though this time only a few shy hands flew into the air.

Seeing that the children were not so eager to respond this time, the tutor explained the advantages of garbage sorting using examples such as last year's fatal garbage slide in Leuwigajah in Bandung, West Java.

"Remember what I told you? You can make money by sorting your own garbage," the tutor said.

"I made Rp 5,000 from selling the plastic bottles that I sorted out at home," Budi, one of the children, said confidently.

The hygiene education programs have been underway for several months now and the changes have been quite apparent.

"At least the children have been quite used to hand washing and some have even started garbage sorting. It is a bit difficult to educate the adults and expect them to change as quick as the kids," said Emannuel Foundation public health engineer Arum Wulandari.

U.S. offers RI debt-for-nature swap

Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The United States has agreed to include Indonesia in a debt-for-nature swap that will involve US$19.6 million of the country's debt to the U.S. being used to finance tropical forest conservation programs.

The U.S. Embassy here said in a statement that under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA), a portion of Indonesia's debt could be reduced and re-directed to finance conservation of the country's tropical forest, considered as one of the world's largest and most diverse.

"The U.S. Treasury Department will provide a provisional allocation of $19.6 million for the treatment of eligible debt. Initial discussions toward an agreement are expected to begin in the coming weeks," the embassy said.

It added that once concluded, the swap package for Indonesia would be one of the largest under the TFCA.

Indonesian Forestry Minister M.S. Kaban welcomed the U.S. announcement as a beginning of a bold measure to conserve the country's forest.

"This is good news," he said during a meeting with representatives from the U.S. Embassy.

The embassy said the U.S. government welcomed Indonesia's participation in the program as it recognized the country's forests as some of the most significant and biologically diverse in the world.

Foreign Ministry director for American affairs Harry Purwanto also hailed the announcement, saying Indonesia's proposal for the debt swap had paid off.

"We submitted proposals for debt swaps to several countries, and the proposal to the U.S. was one them. We hope more countries agree to our proposals," he told The Jakarta Post.

With outstanding sovereign foreign debt of $74.1 billion, Indonesia must pay around $7.8 billion a year on the interest and principal.

The embassy said that to date, 11 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America had entered into debt-for-nature agreements under the TFCA.

"These agreements will generate more than $135 million to conserve important tropical forest in these countries over the course of 10 to 25 years," it said.

The embassy said the program might be expanded to include coral reefs, often referred to as the rain forest of the sea.

This year, the Indonesian government has earmarked Rp 4.1 trillion ($454 million) from the Forestry Ministry's rehabilitation fund and the state budget to rehabilitate damaged forest throughout the country.

Many have warned of the rapid destruction of Indonesia's forests. Greenpeace recently applied to the Guinness Book of World Records to have Indonesia included in its 2008 edition for having had the fastest rate of deforestation in the world between 2000 and 2005.

Indonesia is estimated to have lost 72 percent of its approximately 123.35 million hectares of ancient rain forest, and half of what remains is threatened by commercial logging, frequent forest fires and land clearance for palm oil plantations.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Forestry ministry extends contract to use air police's choppers

JAKARTA (Antara): The Forestry Ministry has extendedits contract with the Air Police for the use of helicopters to deal with forest fires this year.

The two agreed to extend the contract which expired on July 4, the ministry's director general of forest protection and nature conservation, Arman Malolongan, said Wednesday.

The ministry was operating two helicopters to detect hot spots, he said.

Quoting the latest report, he said fire was ravaging 15 hectares of plantation owned by PT Siak Raya in Riau province.

"I have instructed (my subordinates) to look into the fire. The management of the company must be held responsible for the fire," he said.

The Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) has reported an increase in the number of forest fires in Simatra in the past week.

The agency's head of data and information in Polonia, Firman, said that based on images from the Satellite National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 254 fires were seen in Sumatra on Monday, compared to 141 a day earlier.

'Greenwashing' Jakarta -- it's just not enough

Anissa S. Febrina, The Jakarta Post, Singapore

The cities of Jakarta and Surabaya recently signed the Urban Environmental Accord -- an building and construction-related agreement which has already seen Surabaya win an ASEAN energy award for its environmentally friendly Wonokoyo building.

But experts agree Jakarta has a long way to go before it can claim all new buildings under construction in the city would comply with international standards for energy conservation or waste reduction.

"We have only recently implemented a requirement for building rooftops to have some sort of greenery," Jakarta urban architecture advisory board member Moh. Danisworo said.

"But, that is not the real concept of a sustainable building."

The award-winning Wonokoyo building in Surabaya is designed to annually consume 88 kilowatts per hour (kWh) per square meter (sq m) -- which is at a far lower rate than the Asean standard of 200 kWh/sq m/year.

Experts agree the environmentally friendly movement is often used by developers and builders as a marketing gimmick -- or something called "greenwashing".

"You cannot claim to have a green building if the only effort you make is to plant trees or use water-saving toilets," New Zealand architect Craig Price said.

"That is what's called greenwashing."

While Jakarta's office buildings and high-rises may be adorned with lush green plants and sometimes even draped in green attire, the city is yet to include environmentally friendly features into its building codes, leaving it well behind developed countries globally.

But Jakarta does have plans to green-rate its buildings, said a team member with the Urban Environmental Accord adoption, Andono Warih.

"Technical details for green rating will soon be included in Jakarta's currently revised building code ordinance," Andono said.

And Danisworo said new requirements would include an increased green space ratio and limited basement coverage for buildings occupying flood-prone areas.

Flood is an issue Jakarta needs to tackle immediately, but "going green" goes much further than that, he said.

Research by the US Department of Energy showed commercial and residential buildings consume close to 40 percent of total energy consumption.

They use 70 percent of electricity, 40 percent of raw materials, 12 percent of fresh water supplies and account for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, buildings generate 136 million tons of construction and demolition waste.

World Green Building Council said green buildings were potentially the most cost effective buildings and were a relatively quick way of reducing CO2 emissions.

For Jakarta, two of the most important enviro-targets included reducing the city's CO2 emissions and decreasing residential and commercial water wastage, experts said.

Because the city is a tropical metropolis where average temperatures range between 23 and 37 degrees Celsius, it's a well-known fact that office building managers are continually asked to ensure tenants are comfortable enough to work.

Experts agree that instead of making sure the structure itself enables a healthier microclimate, facility managements tend to rely on air-conditioning, which leads to massive energy consumption -- unless supported by eco-friendly architecture.

The total cost of air-conditioning could reach up to 60 percent of total electricity costs.

According to a research by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), only one in seven buildings in the city embraced thermal comfort with low energy consumption.

"It is costly to maintain conventional non-environmentally friendly buildings -- but cost is also our main concern in constructing eco-friendly buildings," Danisworo said.

"The level of awareness is just not there yet."

Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI) chairman Lukman Purnomosidi said it depends what perspective you use when it comes to weighing up the expenses associated with eco-friendly buildings.

According to Autodesk vice president Phillip Bernstein, a green building costs between 10 percent and 15 percent more during the design stage compared to conventional buildings.

They also cost between five and 10 percent more during the construction stage, Bernstein said.

"Some of the best green buildings reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent and water usage by up to 80 percent."

And Price said some buildings that fall under the category of cost premium buildings had their investment paid back in five to seven years."

For developers looking for a quick yield -- long term investment in enviro-friendly designs, materials or technology is not a priority.

Indonesian Society of Civil and Structural Engineers chairman Davy Sukamta said developers were mostly concerned about the upfront investment required.

"Current efforts are limited to choosing energy-saving air conditioning, integrated lighting and limited intelligent building systems," Davy said.

"Supposedly, we could also take into account building materials used and the energy consumed in manufacturing and transporting them to building site," he said.

But Davy said this was not likely to occur with out some much-needed support from Jakartans and their administration.

Because the building and construction industry is predominantly led by the private sector, Bernstein said Jakarta's effort to go green "must come from the bottom up".

Possible features for green buildings:

* Optimized use of daylight and controlled solar access
* Photocell external lighting controls
* Air purging system
* Variable outdoor air flow rates
* Non occupied AC set back modes
* Water saving fittings
* Environmentally preferable materials selection
* Pneumatic waste conveyance system
* Rainwater harvesting and recycling

Source: Singapore's Building and Construction Authority-Autodesk Sustainable Building Seminar