Borneo’s forests under threat from road-building and infra-structure projects, claims new report

Press Release
Press Release

Borneo’s forests under threat from road-building and infra-structure projects, claims new report

Tropical forests in Borneo are under major threat from deforestation from planned infra-structure development, says a new report published today.

The report by academics from Australia and Indonesia, highlights the massive risks to global biodiversity and climate posed by new road and infrastructure projects in Borneo, threatening some of the world's most pristine forest.

"You’d be hard-pressed to identify a scarier threat to biodiversity anywhere on Earth,” said Dr Mohammed Alamgir from James Cook University in Australia, lead author of the study.

“Borneo’s forests and rare wildlife have already been hit hard, but planned roads and railways will shred much of what remains, slicing across the largest remaining forest blocks,” said Professor Jatna Supriatna of the University of Indonesia.

In addition to the environmental risks, the social implications of these developments are very worrying, posing a real threat to indigenous peoples in the region.

"Given the current absence of adequate legal protection of the indigenous Dayak peoples’ land rights and the exclusion of Dayak communities from having a say over the handout of logging, pulpwood and oil palm plantations on their customary lands, the planned expansion of roads throughout Borneo poses a major threat to these peoples’ survival," said Marcus Colchester, Senior Policy Advisor of the Forest Peoples Programme.

"The government needs to urgently pass and implement laws protecting indigenous peoples’ rights, and reconsider its top-down approach to development,"  he said.

A local Dayak activist, Norman Jiwan from Sanggau, West Kalimantan, said "Our rights are protected under international human rights laws that the government of Indonesia has ratified." 

"But despite promises to pass national laws recognising our rights nothing has been done." 

"Our national indigenous peoples’ organisation, AMAN, has repeatedly brought this lack of protection of our rights to the attention of the United Nations and its Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)," Jiwan added. 

"AMAN has called on our government to protect our rights. The longer the government delays, the more problems we have. There must be no roads without rights!"