Platform 6: Environment and Tourism

PSI embraces a sustainable development pattern. Our development is not only for current generation, but also for future Indonesians. Our development pattern must not consume all the natural wealth at a time for Indonesia’s long term existence. We believe in a model of ecologically oriented development. For that, we will place environmental issues on the top priority development.

Ecological problem in Indonesia has not posed a serious concern. Many economic actors do not place ecological problems on their business operations. Whereas if ecology weakens, the welfare achieved by humans will be meaningless that must be paid with the recovery cost to restore and preserve the environment – also resulting in social cost that is difficult to calculate. In other words, the trade-off generated from the development process is very unbalanced with the level of economic prosperity he achieved.

There is an inverse relationship in the context of industrial expansion with natural resources. This means that the more and varied human needs, the more reduced the natural ability to provide or its carrying capacity. On the other hand, there is a perpendicular relationship between human needs and pollution, where the more and varied human needs are met through industrial endeavour, the higher the level of environmental pollution will be. If pollution trends persist, there will be time where economic growth at its saturated point, while the ability and quality of the environment is difficult to be restored (the limits to growth).

As one of the efforts to overcome “the limits to growth” is the need for capital investment to hold the growth rate of the population along with all of its needs, suppress environmental pollution to zero level, and maintain the quality and carrying capacity of the environment (natural resources) to be more stable. If these can be done, then the result is a “new era” where there is stability of the population and the improvement of the quality of life of the human (the greening of the globe).

  • Budget Strategy

We believe that through the government’s full attention, this environmental issue can be overcome. However, the government budget allocation is still very minimal, with the central government’s only about 1 percent of the total budget for environmental issues. For that reason, PSI views that the budget increase on education issues becomes the main entrance for the settlement of environmental issues.

Data from the national disaster management agency show that natural disasters occurring in Indonesia during 1815-2014 are dominated by 38% flood, 16% landslides, 21% tornadoes, 12% drought, and earthquake, tidal wave, or abrasion gave respectively 2%. That is, the largest proportion of natural disasters are associated with human activities. The loss of forests and water catchment areas is a major cause. We believe that this can all be overcome by developing environment-oriented development. Natural disasters are inevitable, but we can anticipate and mitigate their destructive power.

  • Deforestation

Lembaga Pengetahuan Indonesia or The Indonesian Institute of Knowledge (2011) noted that Indonesia ranks as the first country in terms of fastest forest clearance. In the period of 2000-2005 alone Indonesia held the record of the fastest destruction rate with the level of 1.871 million hectares or 2 percent per year or 51 square kilometres per day. This massive deforestation not only threatens our biological riches, but also the natural resources.

We will encourage and urgently declare a moratorium on deforestation. This moratorium will not only affect the cessation of deforestation, but also water pollution. Data from the World Bank show that the wood and paper industry contributes 10 to 14 percent in water pollution.

  • Overcoming Smoke Problems

One debatable issue in Southeast Asia is smoke pollution. Indonesia hosts the origin of smoke covering cities in Kalimantan, Sumatra, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bandar Sri Begawan. The smoke pollution is mainly caused by land clearing practices, especially in oil palm estates in Kalimantan and Sumatra (Varkkey 2014). This smoke does not only damages air quality in the affected countries, but also the environment in general, the economy, even creates tensions between neighbouring countries.

As the centre of smoke origin, Indonesia becomes the main responsibility of this issue. We believe this issue will be resolved. For example, with the enforcement of a zero-burning land clearing pattern. Hence, it needs to introduce a new technology that can answer the challenge. We will tighten the rules of land clearing patterns to domestic and foreign palm oil companies utilizing domestic lands and encourage the application of environmentally friendly fire-management.

  • Managing Urban Infrastructure

In 2007, 50% of the world’s population lives in the city. By the end of this century, 80 percent of the world’s population will inhabit the cities. This means that cities will increasingly become the centre of human activity. In that regard, we believe that a city built with environmentally friendly principles is the future of humanity.

We believe that the idea of ​​30 percent of green land in urban areas is a necessity that cannot be postponed. The green lands that have existing in public spaces must be preserved. We want to seriously urge building managers, both government and private, to conserve the parks in the yard and the roofs of the building. It takes a revolutionary step to restore the green fields that have been seized by the development process.

To address the food and health problems of urban residents, we will encourage urban farming. In many developing countries, this urban farming program has been widely used as one of the instruments to meet the high level of food demand in cities. Urban farmers are also at once used as one way to improve the healthy lifestyle in cities (Smith and Nars 1992). In 1996 UNDP data, 200 million people of the world have been involved in agricultural activities in cities to meet the food needs of 800 million people. Compared with urban dwellers in Africa and Latin America where 50% are involved in agricultural activities in urban areas, Indonesia is still far behind, about 11% (Zezza & Tascotti 2012).

  • Tourism

Tourism industry is one of Indonesia’s strengths. Endowed with 17,000 islands and unrivalled natural beauty, Indonesia has enormous potential. In state revenues, tourism sector now ranks the fourth. When the price of petroleum, coal and palm oil – which has been the mainstay of foreign exchange – plummeted, the tourism sector has risen, although still thin. By 2015, the number of foreign tourists to Indonesia is around 10.7 million or up by two million tourists compared to the previous year.

This figure is very small if we compare it with the achievement of tourism industry in Malaysia and Thailand. Last year, the number of foreign tourists to Thailand is three times more than Indonesia. Malaysia brings in foreign travellers two and a half times more than us. In fact, in terms of size, alternative tourist destinations, and cultural wealth, Indonesia is clearly far beyond the two neighbouring countries. We are working quite slow in the tourism sector, but there is still a chance to improve it.

One of the problems is the picture of Indonesia as an insecure country. Issues of terrorism, communal conflicts, and news of cafe raids and entertainment venues make foreign tourists reluctant to come. In all places, security issues are a major requirement to invite travellers to visit. Therefore, law enforcement is an absolute requirement in the development of this sector.

Next is to improve the image by designing branding and long-term campaigns to showcase Indonesia as a safe, beautiful country and friendly people. Long-term branding must be supported by the courage to advertise overseas to form a new picture of Indonesia.

Infrastructure poses another issue. There are many interesting areas, but there is not enough supportive infrastructure, making tourists difficult to reach the place. A large-scale government infrastructure development program needs to be encouraged to support tourism development by reaching potential sites.

Broadly speaking, Indonesia should display three things as tourism identities: natural beauty, cultural richness and creativity. This last thing will be the driving force of our tourism industry in the future. This sector will increasingly depend on our ability to develop creative imagination about Indonesia.

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