Communities, companies and government must collaborate on environmental conservation

Working together to gain local perceptions on important landscape and forest resources, Papua province, Indonesia. Photo credit: Michael Padmanaba, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Working together to gain local perceptions on important landscape and forest resources, Papua province, Indonesia. Photo credit: Michael Padmanaba, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Nowadays, the issue of environmental conservation, especially in the forestry sector, has become important for many reasons. In discussions during the Forests Asia Summit, speakers linked agenda items to the theme of “Changing communities, sustainable landscapes and equitable development”.

Present at a discussion on the theme were The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC) executive director Tint Lwin Thaung, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Indonesian chapter chairman Jatna Supriatna, Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact secretary-general Joan Carling, and Danone Aqua vice president corporate secretary Parmaningsih Hadinegoro.

They described the role of the various parties that participate in forest development programs. Local communities, governments and companies should make efforts to assess their environmental preservation activities, particularly in terms of forests.

In their discussion, the speakers outlined the role of local people who have been supported to develop an environmentally friendly way of life, manage natural resources better and use forests wisely. Local communities also have a role in taking environmental action.

While the role of these companies in conservation efforts is primarily directed at the forestry sector, they focus not only on the environment but also on local communities. Companies implement green business systems as a form of responsibility. This concept gives companies the obligation to undertake activities that are environmentally friendly. The companies must also pay attention to the people who live around the area in which the company operates.

Companies must be able to create programs that have a good impact on the local community. This is exemplified in the spring water company Aqua, which helps local communities to maintain sources of water. Aqua has collaborated with local organizations to protect the environment and to conduct community outreach, in order to reduce dependence on forests by providing new livelihoods for local communities.

Equally important is the element of government. Governments have a role to create and implement policies to preserve the environment, especially forests. The government, as a control agent, must be able to act decisively in environmental conservation efforts.

In short, if communities, governments and companies are able to work together, then making achievements in environmental conservation is possible. If all three are capable of collaborating, they will also provide benefits for one other.

Aprilia Mega Suryanti is a student of Bakrie University, Indonesia

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