Remarks by Ambassador Blake at Justice Sector Integrated Workshop for Biodiversity Protection, Jakarta

Dr. Hatta Ali, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;
Prof. Dr. Takdir Rahmadi, Head of the Supreme Court Environmental Working Group;
Dr. Ridwan Mansyur, Head of the Supreme Court Legal Bureau and Public Relations;
Mr. A.K. Basuni Masyarif, Deputy Attorney General for General Crime;
Mr. Warsa Sutanta, Head of the Attorney General’s Office Environment Task Force;
Friends from the Embassy of Norway;
Mr. Andy Sisson – Director of USAID in Indonesia; judges, prosecutors, members of the police, ladies and gentlemen,

I appreciate the invitation from the Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia and congratulate the Supreme Court for its efforts to improve justice sector coordination and public services to address threats to Indonesia’s biodiversity.

The US Government is proud to support and join the Government of Indonesia in its efforts to combat crimes such as illegal logging, land conversion, wildlife trafficking and wildlife poaching.

To date, the US Government, through USAID, has invested $232 million in more than 40 countries to conserve and better manage forests, especially tropical forests like Indonesia’s.

On February 17, 2014, the Governments of Indonesia and the United States of America signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Conserving Wildlife and Combating Wildlife Trafficking. It aims to strengthen the capacity of Indonesia’s wildlife conservation and management.

This MOU covers the protection of critical habitat by combatting illicit harvesting and trade of wildlife species, stabilizing and increasing populations of threatened and endangered species, and strengthening scientific information to support conservation programs.

This MOU also covers the needs to build public awareness of wildlife conservation efforts and focuses on activities to strengthen law enforcement capacity in Indonesia, particularly on biodiversity related cases.

The USG has been supporting through the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) office a series of regional workshops to bring prosecutors and investigators together to share best practices on cooperation on environmental law enforcement.

And next month, the U.S. and Indonesia are conducting a workshop in Bogor to develop an Action Plan to Protect Wildlife and Combat Wildlife Crime.  I am delighted that many of the organizations represented here today will be part of that workshop and that Minister Siti will join me as co-host.

Combatting forestry and wildlife crimes requires collaborative action and cooperation within the government, as well as among non-governmental organizations, civil society, local communities, lawyers, paralegals, and the private sector.

Investigators, prosecutors, and judges each have a particularly critical role to play as guardians of justice — to safeguard a justice sector that is fair, transparent and accountable, and that protects Indonesia’s rich biodiversity.

I commend the Supreme Court of the Republic of Indonesia for all of its efforts to combat threats to biodiversity, including this integrated workshop for all justice sector law enforcement institutions.

Of course, the value of this program goes beyond combatting environmental crimes within Indonesia alone.  Environmental crimes are transnational and organized.

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Manado, which has become a hot spot of illegal wildlife trafficking since traffickers use Manado’s port to illegally export wildlife to Philippines and other markets around the world.   So, a combined effort is required both within Indonesia and among all countries.

I therefore congratulate the Supreme Court for its leadership within Southeast Asia through the ASEAN Law Association, the “Common Vision on Environment for ASEAN Judiciaries,” which was adopted in Jakarta in 2011, and for the upcoming meeting of the ASEAN Law Association’s judiciaries to be held in Indonesia later this week.

Indonesia and the U.S. are strategic partners. We are all interconnected in this great world of ours.  We pledge our cooperation in doing our part to protect and preserve biodiversity and to sustain our livelihoods. I applaud your efforts, and extend my best wishes for success.

As prepared.