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An Urgent Message from Aceh

My name is Wiza, and I’m from Aceh on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. I’m working with local communities to protect the endangered forests of the Leuser Ecosystem as our survival and livelihoods depend on it.

But everything that I am fighting for could be lost if the new Indonesian President Joko Widodo does not reject a disastrous new land use plan that would drive destructive palm oil and pulp plantations, logging, mining, and poaching in my home province, Aceh. The fate of our people now rests in the hands of our President through his Minister of Home Affairs. I have traveled to the US because I urgently need your support in calling on the President to protect the Leuser Ecosystem by rejecting Aceh’s new spatial plan.

The most effective way for the global community to reach President Widodo is through social media. Will you take a moment to respectfully request President Widodo reject the Aceh spatial plan on his Facebook page? Please cut and paste the following message in Bahasa Indonesia:

Kepada Bapak Presiden Jokowi, dengan hormat kami meminta Bapak untuk berdiri di pihak rakyat dan membatalkan Qanun tata ruang Aceh. Masyarakat setempat bergantung pada Kawasan Ekosistem Leuser untuk air, pencegahan bencana dan mata pencaharian. Dunia juga bergantung pada daerah ini untuk menjaga stabilitas iklim. Mohon Pak Presiden, dengan pimpinan dan kewenangan Bapak, berpihak pada masyarakat dan membatalkan tata ruang Aceh. Media menyebut tata ruang Aceh sebagai “Bencana yang dapat dicegah”.

You'll be leaving this message for the President:

Honorable President Widodo: I respectfully request that you stand for the people and reject the Aceh Spatial Plan. Local communities rely on the Leuser Ecosystem, for food, water and their livelihoods. The world community relies on this area to keep our climate stable. Indonesian media is calling the Aceh Spatial Plan “An entirely preventable disaster.” Please stand for people and reject the Aceh Spatial Plan.

In his first month in office, our President promised to put people before palm oil. He has committed to give our forests and land to the people, not to corporations. I need your help to hold the President to his words by rejecting Aceh’s new spatial plan.

If the spatial plan is not rejected, crucial protections of the Leuser Ecosystem will be removed and handed to corporations, spelling disaster for the climate, forests, local communities and the long term economic health and sustainability of the region.

At 6.5 million acres, the Leuser Ecosystem is a world unto itself—a rich landscape of intact tropical lowland rainforests, cloud draped mountains and steamy peat swamps. It is among the most biodiverse and ancient ecosystems ever documented by science, and most of this protected area is located in my home province of Aceh. Its forest landscapes provide a steady, clean water supply to millions of people.

We have been fighting for so long to protect the Leuser Ecosystem and all our work could be undone if the spatial plan is not rejected. It is urgent that the President hears from you now.

Please send a message to President Joko Widodo, asking him to listen to the needs of Aceh’s people by rejecting the new Aceh Spatial plan and to ensure that protections remain in place for the Leuser Ecosystem.


Semangat - keep the spirit,

Farwiza Farhan

Acehnese fighting for the Leuser Ecosystem

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