Collaboration of Orangutan Organizations Supports Debate/Discussion of Environmental Position of Indonesian Presidential Candidates
July 2014 — Jakarta, Indonesia. In advance of the upcoming Indonesian presidential elections on July 9th, a group of nonprofit organizations with a focus on orangutan conservation teamed up to sponsor a debate and discussion on the environmental position of the two candidates for Indonesia's highest office. Representatives for the president/vice-president teams of Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo/Jusuf Kalla and Prabowo Subianto/Hatta Rajasa and faceed off on Thursday, July 3, 2014, at the Gallery Cafe Taman Ismail Marzukiin in Jakarta from 4pm-7pm.
Marwan Azis from the website BeritaLingkungan.com served as moderator and a panel of Indonesian environmental organizations, including Longgena Ginting of Greenpeace Indonesia and IGG Maha Adi of the Society of Indonesia Environmental Journalists participated in the pre-election event. Attendees included the news media, government officials, university students and professors, and other organizations.
The debate/discussion was suggested by members of the Indonesian group, Yayasan Inisiatif Pendidkan Orangutan Indonesia (YIPOI) to their sister organization, Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) during a recent visit to Indonesia by OURF president Dr. Gary Shapiro. Shapiro was able to enroll other orangutan organizations to help sponsor the debate/discussion in an effort to better clarify how each presidential team plans to address the environmental and natural resource challenges facing Indonesia over the coming years.
Orangutans are an endangered species and a symbol of Indonesia's enormous biodiversity. Their future is tied to the health and proper management of Indonesia's natural resources, especially on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, natural habitat of the orangutan.
"The Indonesian people deserve to know how their future president will prioritize the environment, natural resources and wildlife issues in addition to the usually discussed topics of development, jobs, law, and the economy," stated Shapiro.
The organizations sponsoring the educational event with OURF were The Orangutan Project (Australia), Orangutan Conservancy (USA), Orangutan Outreach (USA), and Orangutan Land Trust (UK). All organizations have been supporting conservation and education programs in Indonesia for many years in an effort to save the orangutan from extinction.