Indonesia: the rise of the politics of palm oil by Khor Yu Leng

Editor's note: I have been anticipating the rise of the politics of palm oil for Indonesia. I've been tracking the importance of smallholders to Malaysia's UMNO-BN in electoral politics for a few years now.

A few things are coming together for Indonesia:

a) The young BPDP/palm oil fund will become an increasingly contested area. There will be a political policy tussle on allocation of funds for independent smallholder replanting versus allocation for biodiesel subsidy. The latter goes directly to a handful of conglomerate quota holders, albeit for the purpose of supporting palm oil prices for all.

b) We have the coming of a more populist Presidential election in 2019 as the timing shift of the Presidential election to coincide with national legislative elections diminishes the previous system that let political party coalitions decide the Presidency. So we have Jokowi on big tours of Sumatra in 2017 and Kalimantan in 2018, to reach out to the rural voter-base.

c) Watch for the important smallholder associations like Apkasindo and plantation worker unions. While union leaders have tried to strike deals with politicians, these don't always work out such as recently on the minimum wage tussle.

Watch out for how this will affect the balance of political-economic power between the center and the periphery in Indonesia's decentralised political system. 

In the case of Thailand, the need to support domestic prices for oil palm smallholders has caused narrowing margins for millers, sometimes causing millers to shut down operations for a while.

On the allocation of BPDP funds:
  • https://www.cnnindonesia.com/ekonomi/20180126165425-85-271834/petani-sawit-kritik-subsidi-biodiesel-untuk-konglomerat
  • https://www.cnnindonesia.com/ekonomi/20180116202504-92-269411/lima-konglomerat-sawit-disuntik-subsidi-mega-rp75-triliun/ 
On supporting palm oil farmers with replanting, seeds, land titles:
  • http://www.tribunnews.com/bisnis/2017/10/13/dari-sumatra-presiden-jokowi-awali-peremajaan-sawit

Climate politics and finance: Funds and forests - DFID on Green Climate Fund, Credit Suise Invt Bank view

10 July 2016: Financiers, funds and forests - DFID on Green Climate Fund, Credit Suise Invt Bank view 

CIFOR’s Peter Holmgren on investing in landscapes - First installment in a series of interviews from the 2016 Global Landscapes Forum - The Investment Case 16 Jun 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/42002/qa-2016-global-landscapes-forum-part-1?fnl=en

2016 Global Landscapes Forum: Connecting funds to farms and forests (Part 2) - Attendees of this year's Global Landscapes Forum in London discuss concrete solutions to boost private sector investment in landscapes- from greening supply chains to leveraging fintech and GPS software. LEONA LIU 13 Jun 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41887/2016-global-landscapes-forum-connecting-funds-to-farms-and-forests-part-2?fnl=en

Balancing Transparency and Non-State Actors in the Climate Negotiations by STEPHEN LEONARD  14 Jun 2016  http://blog.cifor.org/41923/balancing-transparency-and-non-state-actors-in-the-climate-negotiations?fnl=en

DFID’s Andrea Ledward on the Green Climate Fund - Third installment in a series of interviews from the 2016 Global Landscapes Forum - The Investment Case CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL FORESTRY RESEARCH  23 Jun 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/42016/qa-2016-global-landscapes-forum-part-3?fnl=en

A Q&A with Mark Burrows, Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Global Investment Banking at Credit Suisse - Well, as I’ve said several times, the future is sustainable development, and is landscapes. And frankly, that’s going to be a 5 to 7 trillion-dollar investment space within 10 to 15 years. Every bank, every institutional investor, is now turning its attention to this space.

Watch: Highlights video from the 2016 Global Landscapes Forum- The Investment Case - Private sector investment in landscapes is no passing fad- it’s here to stay. That was the driving consensus among the 300+ participants at this year's Forum.  LEONA LIU 10 Jun 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41854/watch-highlights-video-from-the-2016-global-landscapes-forum-the-investment-case?fnl=en

Civil society organisations: Let’s brainstorm sustainibility in Indonesia by Maria Andreasdottir • June 5, 2016 -- The Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) organises seminars to gather civil society organisations in prioritised rainforest countries.... On the occasion of the conference in Jakarta, CIFOR and The Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta made a video about Indonesia’s work on reducing deforestation and the civil society’s crucial role in promoting this. (You can watch the video on www.norad.no)...http://scandasia.com/civil-society-organisations-lets-brainstorm-sustainibility-in-indonesia/

10 reasons to be optimistic for forests 5 June 2016 / Commentary by Rhett A Butler  The post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author alone. https://news.mongabay.com/2016/06/10-reasons-to-be-optimistic-for-forests/

Land tenure and livelihoods: What’s the connection? New study finds that securing land rights doesn't always guarantee better livelihoods for communities in Peru, Indonesia and Uganda.  by Barbara Fraser  16 May 2016  http://blog.cifor.org/41555/land-tenure-and-livelihoods-whats-the-connection?fnl=en

Analysis - Glaring gap: Countries are overlooking how the private sector can help meet national climate goals - As the Bonn Conference gets underway this week (May 16-26), here's a review of seven Asian countries’ plans to finance climate mitigation through land use.  Steven Lawry  17 May 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41585/glaring-gap-countries-are-overlooking-how-the-private-sector-can-help-meet-national-climate-goals?fnl=en

Measuring national REDD+ performance for the promise of results-based finance 18 May 2016, Bonn, Germany  http://www.cifor.org/cifor-at-sbsta-44/

Who is really bearing the cost of REDD+? The answer may surprise you - A forthcoming study brings a reality check on who is footing the bill for REDD+  MICHELLE KOVACEVIC  11 May 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41483/who-is-really-bearing-the-cost-of-redd-the-answer-may-surprise-you?fnl=en

What will it take to make sustainable palm oil the norm? New study examines the factors driving commitments to responsible production of a controversial global commodity.  JACK HEWSON  10 May 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41406/what-will-it-take-to-make-sustainable-palm-oil-the-norm?fnl=en

Paris Agreement signed. Now what? - Here’s what to consider as the global climate agreement set in motion at the COP21 in Paris moves towards implementation. by STEPHEN LEONARD  23 Apr 2016 http://blog.cifor.org/41210/paris-agreement-signed-now-what?fnl=en

22 December 2015: The Economist - The Paris agreement will not stabilise the climate; but the efforts it makes possible could still achieve a lot

Climate change - Hopelessness and determination. The Paris agreement will not stabilise the climate; but the efforts it makes possible could still achieve a lot
...For someone to propose means that fall so far short of their purported ends might seem like cynicism or stupidity. Sure enough, some of the keenest devotees to action on climate change have accused the Paris negotiators of both. In fact, the deal really did demonstrate collective intelligence.... The nations of the world know that they cannot suddenly force each other to stop emitting greenhouse gases, because fossil fuels are fundamental to the way that economies work. But many countries also want to reduce the risks posed by climate change and know that they need to find ways to work together. The Paris agreement offers a range of mechanisms to make this happen (see page 94)....Countries now have a framework to ensure that each is doing what it said it would; they have pledged more money to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries adapt to the effects of climate change; they have a task force for looking at the issues raised by those who cannot adapt and need to find new places to live; and they have the basis for new carbon-pricing deals. They have also agreed that big developing countries, which were largely spared by earlier deals, should consider making a greater contribution.

14 December 2015: COP21 deal and key links; headlines of "end of fossil fuel era" but naysayers call it "fraud" and undermined. The US political system is not on board?

COP21: Paris climate deal is 'best chance to save planet' 13 December 2015 http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-35086346

Paris climate deal: nearly 200 nations sign in end of fossil fuel era - Two decades of talks have come to this: an ambitious agreement to hold states to emissions targets – but already low-lying countries are worried http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/paris-climate-deal-200-nations-sign-finish-fossil-fuel-era

Obama's fragile climate legacy - More than his other achievements, the international climate agreement relies on the good will of Congress and the next president to keep it in place.  By Sarah Wheaton 12/13/15.... "The President is making promises he can’t keep, writing checks he can’t cash, and stepping over the middle class to take credit for an ‘agreement’ that is subject to being shredded in 13 months," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.... Key parts of the Paris pact are nonbinding, the only way Obama could avoid seeking approval of the deal in Congress, something he knew would be impossible. He learned that lesson in his first term, when cap-and-trade legislation failed on Capitol Hill, prompting the Environmental Protection Agency to develop its own set of greenhouse gas rules. Those regulations are now at the mercy of the courts, which will decide over the coming years whether the president overstepped his authority as president....
It’s a reminder that even as consensus grows among scientists and world leaders about climate change and what must be done to limit its consequences, the U.S. political system is not on board. Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/climate-change-obama-paris-216716#ixzz3uHN5Nq00

James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks 'a fraud' - The former Nasa scientist criticizes the talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, as ‘no action, just promises’ 12 Dec 2015 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/james-hansen-climate-change-paris-talks-fraud

Grand promises of Paris climate deal undermined by squalid retrenchments by George Monbiot  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2015/dec/12/paris-climate-deal-governments-fossil-fuels

12 December 2015: US Presidential candidate viewpoints, Leaders’ Statement on action for forests at COP21, but financing is not there says Nigeria economist

Climate Change According to U.S. Presidential Candidates   12/4/2015 Where do U.S. presidential candidates stand on climate change and how to address it? A cheat sheet of the frontrunners' positions and plans http://www.wsj.com/video/climate-change-according-to-us-presidential-candidates/D0A4A4FC-B6D6-4E13-AF4E-76498A70E824.html?mod=djemWMP_h

CIFOR DG’s Column - Climate isn’t everything … so welcome to the Global Landscapes Forum - Many solutions for a sustainable future are tied to landscapes and must meet local needs, while building on global talks....Landscapes, therefore, are places where many of our solutions for a more sustainable future must happen... The recent fire and haze crisis in Indonesia demonstrates why we need to take a broader landscape approach and a longer-term perspective. The mainstream media tend to characterize the fires as primarily issues of greenhouse gas emissions and nature conservation. While these are indeed critical, the fires really go way beyond. Health, poverty, food, rights, land tenure, law and order, and economic growth are all issues that come into play. Framing the haze crisis mainly around climate concerns is simply not accurate, especially for those closest to the scene that depend on these landscapes... http://blog.cifor.org/38307/climate-isnt-everything-so-welcome-to-the-global-landscapes-forum?fnl=en

CIFOR welcomes Leaders’ Statement on action for forests at COP21 2 Dec 2015 http://www.cifor.org/corporate-news/cifor-welcomes-leaders-statement-on-action-for-forests-at-cop21/

Landscapes for sustainability: Potential, yes. Finance, not so much. New areas of investment are needed to bring the private sector on board, speakers say at Global Landscapes Forum.  by Thomas Hubert @tom_hubert 6 Dec 2015; ....speakers at the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum in Paris warned today, achieving such sustainable land-use management will require massive amounts of investment. And those amounts are not yet there, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigerian economist and former Minister of Finance, pointed out in the opening session of the event. The Forum, organized by CIFOR and a consortium of partners, brought together more than 3000 people to explore the role of land use in reaching climate and development goals. Okonjo-Iweala welcomed the fact that most African countries had included land-use interventions in their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) as part of ongoing climate negotiations, especially given FAO estimates that one-third of agricultural landscapes are degraded—mostly in developing countries.... She then went on to quote a new paper by the New Climate Economy Project showing that $250 billion is needed each year to fund landscape conservation and restoration, activities she described as “essential to achieving a vital triple win for development and climate: increasing rural productivity, resilience and mitigation simultaneously”.

3 December 2015: By the numbers - India report says OECD exaggerates aid, Oxfam says it is myth that citizens in rapidly developing countires are most to blame - look at the world's richest 10%; Indonesia and Malaysia pledges

By the numbers

Paris climate talks: Indian officials accuse OECD of exaggerating climate aid by John Vidal 2 December 2015; ... Officials suggested that the true amount figure mobilised by rich countries may only be $2.2bn, not $57bn. “This is far from the $100bn a year goal,” the Indian paper said, which included a disclaimer that “the views and analysis contained in this discussion paper do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of India”. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/paris-climate-talks-indian-officials-accuse-rich-countries-of-exaggerating-climate-aid

World's richest 10% produce half of global carbon emissions, says Oxfam by AFP  2 December 2015 - an average person among the richest 1% of people emits 175 times more carbon than his or her counterpart among the bottom 1%, Oxfam said. .... Oxfam said its analysis “helps dispel the myth that citizens in rapidly developing countries are somehow most to blame for climate change.” ... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/worlds-richest-10-produce-half-of-global-carbon-emissions-says-oxfam

Indonesia and Malaysia pledges

April Group Invests US$100 Million for Peat Restoration 2 Desember 2015, Aside from doubling the land restoration up to 150,000 hectares, the company operating in Riau will invest money at around US$100 million to around Rp1.36 trillion for the restoration program within 10 years. The investment value is the largest that a private company has invested in the single eco-restoration in Indonesia. Investment of April covers the studies, restorations and coverage, along with management and partnership. http://en.metrotvnews.com/read/2015/12/02/456428/april-group-invests-us-100-million-for-peat-restoration

Malaysia pledges 45% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, 2 December 2015; ... Six years ago in Copenhagen it set a target of cutting emissions by as much as 40% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. The government said it had achieved a 33% reduction as of end-2013... http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-pledges-45-reduction-in-greenhouse-gases-by-2030#sthash.FkSeGtxR.YwYRnlpD.dpuf

1 December 2015: High politics, projects & campaigns, corporate news links

High politics of the Paris talks

Two Big Fights in Paris Climate Talks   11/30/2015 6:00AM       President Obama faces two major battles as delegates meet in Paris this week to tackle climate change -- one with developing nations, and the other with Republicans in Congress. WSJ's Jerry Seib explains. http://www.wsj.com/video/two-big-fights-in-paris-climate-talks/A9DF6888-1785-4D88-8396-BB4F1057A2F4.html?mod=djemTEW_h

Paris climate summit: world leaders told to iron out differences before talks end - France steps up diplomatic efforts to get consensus on a global deal six days before official talks conclude by Fiona Harvey and Kim Willsher in Paris 28 November 2015  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/28/paris-climate-summit-world-leaders-talks-france

Christiana Figueres: the woman tasked with saving the world from global warming - The UN climate chief is confident that the Paris summit can make history and produce a landmark deal to limit future carbon emissions – but any success depends on her pivotal role, UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres: ‘We are going to get an agreement [in Paris], because there is enough political will.’ by Fiona Harvey 27 November 2015  http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/christiana-figueres-the-woman-tasked-with-saving-the-world-from-global-warming

Fewer than 50% of CEOs say Paris deal would make them act on climate change - New poll reveals most business leaders are failing to get to grips with long-term implications of global warming by Oliver Balch 4 September 2015  http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/sep/04/paris-climate-summit-deal-fewer-50-ceos-say-act-on-climate-change

Paris climate talks: powerful business lobbies seek to undermine deal - Tackling climate change means drastically transforming our economies. Our political leaders, not business, are best placed to do that by Pascoe Sabido is a campaigner and researcher with Corporate Europe Observatory 27 November 2015; ...A recent report from the NGO Corporate Europe Observatory reveals that what’s on offer at COP21 is nothing short of a climate catastrophe, a guaranteed recipe to cook the planet. But rather than sending the dish back, political leaders have asked for seconds, bringing the very companies responsible for the problem ever closer into the UN fold.....  The problem, however, is that is has also succeeded in creating several platforms to ensure business-friendly proposals are at the heart of climate policy-making, rather than vice versa. New markets, experimental technologies, all endorsed so polluters don’t have to change their business models. The UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres – who before taking up her post was principal climate change advisor to Latin America’s leading energy utility, Endesa – has even told the world to “stop demonising oil and gas companies”.... If enough people get behind it, Paris could mark a watershed moment: the beginning of the end for the cosy affair between politicians and polluters... http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/nov/27/paris-climate-talks-un-business-lobbying-deal-governments

Projects and campaigns

Prince Charles in plan to help investors take polluting firms to court - Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative will lay out risks to financial returns amid increasing government curbs on emissions by Daniel Boffey Policy editor 27 November 2015; Prince Charles is taking part in a project to expose major polluting corporations based in Commonwealth nations to big-money legal action if they fail to accurately disclose their impact on climate change or reform their ways... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/prince-charles-commonwealth-climate-and-law-initiative-emissions

Bill Gates to launch clean energy project on sidelines of Paris climate talks - Microsoft co-founder will announce multi-billion-dollar Initiative Cleantech on opening day of two-week climate summit alongside Barack Obama - Gates will join Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, US president Barack Obama and French president François Hollande to announce Initiative Cleantech. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images  Reuters in Washington 27 November 2015; ...Gates has pledged $2bn of his personal wealth over the next five years to “bend the curve” on climate change, he said this summer.In a blogpost in July, Gates said more breakthrough technologies are needed to combat climate change and that current technologies can only reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a “beyond astronomical” cost. He said accelerating government funding for clean energy research and development is crucial to attracting private investment to the field..http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/bill-gates-clean-energy-initiative-paris-climate-talks

World Bank Group unveils $16 Billion Africa Climate Business Plan to Tackle Urgent Climate Challenges  November 24, 2015; One third of funds expected to come from Bank’s fund for the poorest countries http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/11/24/world-bank-group-unveils-16-billion-africa-climate-business-plan-to-tackle-urgent-climate-challenges

Corporate news

Unilever to stop using coal for energy within five years  - Consumer goods giant pledges to go ‘carbon positive’ by 2030, generating 100% of its energy needs from renewables with more to spare - Paul Polman, chairman of Unilever, will be attending Paris climate talks with other business leaders. by Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent 27 November 2015  Unilever, the consumer goods giant, has pledged to eliminate coal from its energy usage within five years, and derive all of its energy worldwide solely from renewable sources by 2030. The company will become “carbon positive” by 2030... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/unilever-to-stop-using-coal-for-energy-within-five-years

TTIP talks: EU alleged to have given ExxonMobil access to confidential strategies - Documents and emails obtained by the Guardian reveal ‘collusion’ between Brussels and industry over the fossil fuel push in free trade negotiations by Arthur Neslen Brussels 26 November 2015; .... The US has banned fossil fuel exports for 40 years but the policy was relaxed towards Mexico in August. Previous leaks of TTIP documents have revealed the EU is pressing for a guarantee in the trade deal that the US will allow free export of oil and gas to Europe, alarming environmentalists who fear imports would impact on the EU’s climate change plans.
It would cost $100bn to build the infrastructure necessary to export the US fossil fuels, according to industry estimates, also released in the freedom of information trawl.

Two-faced Exxon: the misinformation campaign against its own scientists - 100% global warming consensus in Exxon scientists’ research contrasted its $31m campaign to cast doubt on that consensus by Dana Nuccitelli 25 November 2015; ...Investigative journalism by Inside Climate News (ICN) into Exxon’s internal documents revealed that the company was at the forefront of climate research, warning of the dangers posed by human-caused global warming from the late-1970s to the late-1980s. As Harvard climate historian Naomi Oreskes noted... http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/nov/25/two-faced-exxon-the-misinformation-campaign-against-its-own-scientists

The Pope on Sustainability (update 5): Pope Francis: Extreme and compulsive consumerism fostered by the techno-economic hegemons. An "integral ecology." How about some contemplative rest instead of empty activism and unfettered greed?

Pope Francis sends an urgent call for doing the right thing for the now (the rich owe the poor big time) and for future generations, by respecting the Earth. Papal Encylicals don't seem to happen very often. Laudato si' - On care for our common home (24 May 2015) is preceded by Lumen Fidei - On faith (29 June 2013).

We assume that most readers know what should be done for socio-environmental sustainability in production and are knowledgeable about the basic issues of the ecological crisis, so we focus more on what the Pope has to say about what is going right or wrong in the sustainability movement (with a focus on consumerist lifestyle problems, which have not been well enunciated in sustainability thus far).
screenshot of Vatican website featuring the Encylica

We are in a "cultural and ecological crisis." How do we progress from here? He calls for an "integral ecology" and reminds us to focus on what is authentic in a world blinded by artifice and controlled by a powerful minority. It is indeed a lengthy reflection on sustainability, but a refreshing read on a subject area now fraught with commercial contestations. 

There are few sector specifics, but he is in favour of renewable energy and a more diversified agricultural system.


While there seems to be a lot of effort thrown into commodity-chain sustainability, it's not easy to see aggregate impact (even in palm oil sustainability which is one of the most advanced in market progression, reaching age 12 and with 20% production market share).

What does Pope Francis observe about what is stopping real progress on sustainability? It seems it's also a lot to do with economic hegemonic powers and wrong-headed sustainability policies so far apparently increasing the power of the rich at the expense of the poor - "integrate questions of justice in debates of the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." He broadly argues that the failure of environmental efforts so far lies in its capture by transnational corporations pushing the unsustainable and self-destructive consumerist paradigm. Moreover, the Pope warns that "further injustice (against the poor) is perpetrated under the guise of protecting the environment."

Interestingly, he also argues (many times) for national sovereignty (without "capitulating to spurious local or international interests") against huge global economic interests ("under the guise of protecting (tropical forests)... (that) serve the economic interests of transnational corporations).

Bottom-line: Environmental problems are a symptom of moral and cultural corruption and degradation -  clean up the transnational capitalist consumerist system, stop deifying "the market" and the utilitarian mindset. For true sustainability, start cutting consumption. Quite a contrast to the current (soft) sustainability paradigm that focus almost wholly on cleaning up commodity production in (mostly developing) producer countries via competing eco-labels and approaches on / for consumer products.

Note: Pope Francis' concerns are rather resonant of Sklair's research - The Transnational Capitalist Class and the Discourse of Globalization By Leslie Sklair Cambridge Review of International Affairs 2000; The Corporate Capture of Sustainable Development......Thus, the negative environmentalism that had forced industries to respond to specific challenges on pollution and toxic hazards gave way to more general conceptions of ˜sustainable growth' and ˜sustainable development', entirely compatible concepts in the corporate analysis. Corporate environmentalism, therefore, both as a social movement and as a discourse, co-existed easily with this moderate conception of sustainability. From this powerful conceptual base big business successfully recruited much of the global environmental movement in the 1990s to the cause of sustainable global consumerist capitalism. This achievement is an object lesson in how dominant classes incorporate potential enemies into what Gramsci called new historical blocs....  /khorreports-palmoil/2015/05/the-corporate-capture-of-sustainable.html. Revisiting Brundtland Report 1987, /khorreports-palmoil/2014/04/revisiting-brundtland-report-1987.html - also reminds us that the problems of asymmetric bargaining power and power blocs was an existing concern.




1 July 2015: Vatican officials to discuss climate change and environment with scientists and activists

Pope Francis’s environmental message brings thousands on to streets in Rome - Vatican officials to discuss climate change and environment with scientists and activists including Naomi Klein; In the encyclical, Francis directed sharp criticism at global leaders for their failure to combat climate change. It was greeted with a hugely positive response from environmentalists, who have seized on the pope’s message ahead of a United Nations climate change conference to be held in Paris in December. The UN summit is aimed at reaching a global deal on climate change, but as the pontiff noted, previous meetings have ended in disappointment, with decision-making paralysed by disagreements. Alongside Klein and Turkson, the conservation group WWF has been invited to this week’s Vatican conference and had a strong presence at the rally on Sunday, described as a “historic event” by Samantha Smith, leader of the organisation’s global climate and energy initiative.
.........While a few hundred people began the multifaith march, holding banners and sheltering from the sun under giant paper leaves, organisers said about 5,000 were present at the end of the march in St Peter’s Square. There, Francis exhorted a multifaith effort to help protect the environment. “I encourage the collaboration between persons and associations of different religions on behalf of an integral ecology,” he said.... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/28/pope-francis-environment-rome-naomi-klein-climate-change
23 June 2015: In looking at the forces for and against what the Pope talks about (cannot imagine many in dominant main stream business-economics, media and sustainability would be for it!), two recent articles in The Economist are of related interest with Barack Obama for TPP versus Elizabeth Warren,  Nancy Pelosi (her idea on international body on regulating globalization rather similar to Pope Francis - which The Economist not surprisingly dislikes ) etc.; and also the notable shift of wealth to Asia which has large consumer base and became a key part of the global manufacturing supply chain.

The TPP trade deal is highly emblematic of transnational corporate deal making for a more stream-lined global supply-chain. Globalisation with a greater loss of national policy sovereignty:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership - TPP, RIP? A row over the Pacific trade deal is harming America’s economic and political interests  Jun 20th 2015  | From the print edition; The Democrat who occupies the White House today makes the same case in defence of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-country trade pact. Barack Obama may yet prevail over the opposition of his own party as he seeks “fast-track” trade-promotion authority (TPA, confusingly)—the right to negotiate TPP and other trade agreements which Congress could then approve or reject, but not amend. However, the fight over TPP has already dented America’s leadership credentials, to say nothing of Hillary Clinton’s (see article).... On June 12th Democrats in the House of Representatives, egged on by trade-union bosses, led a revolt that, temporarily at least, has derailed Mr Obama’s chances of winning fast-track authority. Its opponents call the TPP deal a dangerous sequel to earlier trade accords, which they blame for sending factories from the American heartland to low-cost countries far away. (Never mind that, in a tactic to thwart Mr Obama, they voted against a training scheme for workers whose jobs are lost to foreign competition.) Tribunes of the populist left, such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have used the fight against TPP to revisit long-standing grievances about the power of Wall Street banks and big business. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, has called for wholly new ways to regulate globalisation, perhaps under the auspices of the UN.... Such attacks are off-target. The threat to America from low-wage manufacturing hubs is exaggerated: killing TPP would not bring factory chimneys and steel mills back to blighted Rust Belt towns. New markets among the 12 TPP countries are worth having: between them these Pacific Rim nations account for 40% of global economic output. And the thrust of TPP is to open up sectors such as services, where America enjoys a comparative advantage. As for Ms Pelosi’s ideas, they are pure grandstanding. There is no conceivable congressional majority for handing trade powers to an international body... http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21654612-row-over-pacific-trade-deal-harming-americas-economic-and-political-interests-tpp-rip?fsrc=nlw|newe|22-06-2015|

NPR: Sen. Warren on the 'tilted process' of Asia trade bill; In an interview on NPR's Morning Edition today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren explained her concerns about the trade deal debate in Congress. "I have three objections," Senator Warren said in the interview. "The first is that the president is asking us to vote to grease the skids on a trade deal that has largely been negotiated, but that is still held in secret. The second is that we know that corporations under this deal are going to get to sue countries for regulations they don't like and that the decisions are not going to be made by courts, they're going to be made by private lawyers. And the third problem is that he wants us to vote on a six-year, grease-the-skids deal.".... http://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=news&id=817

Democrats rebuff Obama on trade plans - Resounding loss in House fueled by fears for workers; By Tracy Jan Globe Staff  June 12, 2015; WASHINGTON — House Democrats, including the entire Massachusetts delegation, sidelined President Obama’s trade agenda Friday, a stark repudiation of the president just hours after he made a rare trip to Capitol Hill to plead for support. The vote reflected deep fears among Democrats about the economic impact of foreign trade deals on middle-class workers and demonstrated the potency of labor unions who lobbied aggressively against the legislation. The bill would lay the groundwork for a sweeping trade pact among Pacific Rim nations. The resounding defeat of Obama’s top domestic legislative priority also signals a weakened presidency as Obama’s second term begins to wind down. For weeks, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, cheered on by liberals in Congress and across the country, has led a concerted public effort to defeat the “fast track” trade deal authorization....Even  inority leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who flanked the president on his way in to meet with House Democrats, spoke against the series of bills shortly before casting her “no” vote. She had previously withheld her judgment..... https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/06/12/obama-makes-personal-appeal-trade-with-key-vote-house/3ZESBGSmJAIfuYzvtAHZEP/story.html
Private wealth  Jun 20th 2015  | From the print edition; Private wealth in Asia overtook that in western Europe in 2014, and is set to overtake North America by 2016, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The strong performance of equity and bond markets contributed to a $17.5 trillion increase in private wealth worldwide last year, to a total of $164 trillion. Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) provided over 60% of the increase. Across the region, private wealth grew by 29% in 2014 to reach $47.3 trillion; in North America and Europe it grew by 5.6% and 6.6% respectively. China will account for 70% of Asia’s wealth accumulation between now and 2019, BCG reckons. By 2021 it will overtake America as the world’s wealthiest nation.http://www.economist.com/news/economic-and-financial-indicators/21654571-private-wealth
Other reactions:
What would Jesus do about global warming? As the pope cries out for the planet, Latin America listens attentively but quizzically Jun 18th 2015, 14:48 | From the print edition 
AS RELIGIOUS statements go, the one by Pope Francis on the environment is readable and in places, beautiful.... http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21654651-pope-cries-out-planet-latin-america-listens-attentively-quizzically-what
The Centrality of Sustainability by Steven Cohen, Executive Director, Columbia University's Earth Institute Posted:  06/22/2015 8:47 am EDT    Updated:  06/22/2015 1:59 pm EDT; /.....The wanton and purposeless consumption of the planet's resources is unethical. Jim Yardley and Laurie Goldstein summarized the encyclical in the New York Times last week and reported that the pope's:...most stinging rebuke is a broad economic and political critique of profit-seeking and the undue influence of technology on society. He praised the progress achieved by economic growth and technology, singling out achievements in medicine, science and engineering. But, he added, "Our immense technological development has not been accompanied by a development in human responsibility, values and conscience..... While it is helpful for the pope to define sustainability as a moral issue, my own take is that sustainability is a very practical management issue. We need to do a better job of exploiting the planet for our own use so that we can continue to use it without destroying the natural systems that sustain the planet's ecological resources. We preserve the planet not because we love it or because its destruction is unethical, but because we need it. While I personally love nature and consider its destruction unethical, I am not counting on my belief system to dominate. With apologies to the pope, I am counting on self-interest, perhaps of the slightly enlightened form, to deliver a sustainable and renewable economy.

The Miracle of Pope Francis - Opinion,  By William McGurn  June 22, 2015 7:02 p.m. ET The clash of visions harks back to that between Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus.
You might call it his first miracle.  Pope Francis has succeeded in getting the  New York Times  to do what perhaps no pope has done before: hail a papal teaching as “authoritative.”
For decades the Times has warred with popes over moral issues such as marriage or the value of unborn life. But when it comes to science and climate change, the paper that likes to regard itself as the paper of record is now on record as recognizing the authority of a papal encyclical.
True, the Times did modify its praise with the adverb “unexpectedly.” And in fairness, it was Pope Francis who crossed the Tiber to embrace the Times’s orthodoxy here rather than the other way around. But such is the glee at having a papal imprimatur on the notion of man-made climate change leading the planet to catastrophe, those busy applauding are willing to overlook the pope’s critique of an environmentalism that protects endangered species but not the unborn child....
  • On population control:  What the Pope says about population growth in the Encylical... Part 50. Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. At times, developing countries face forms of  international pressure which make economic assistance contingent on certain policies of “reproductive health”. Yet “while it is true that an unequal distribution of the population and of available resources creates obstacles to development and a sustainable use of the environment, it must nonetheless be recognized that demographic growth is fully compatible with an integral and shared development”.[28] To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption. Besides, we know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and “whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor”.[29] Still, attention needs to be paid to imbalances in population density, on both national and global levels, since a rise in consumption would lead to complex regional situations, as a result of the interplay between problems linked to environmental pollution, transport, waste treatment, loss of resources and quality of life.

Where Pope Francis Goes Horribly Wrong With His Economics 6/20/2015 @ 5:45AM 13,555 views; Much of what Pope Francis says in his latest encyclical, Laudato Si, is entirely in line with standard Catholic socio-economic teaching. Sadly, that’s so much the worse for standard Catholic socio-economic teaching, as at the heart of it there’s a couple of assumptions that are simply entirely untrue. And given that these mistakes are at the heart of the argument they do work to rather disprove the rest of the teaching. The basic ideas, that the environment is important, that climate change is a real thing that we should so something about, those are fine of course. It’s not my childhood Catholicism that leads me to support a carbon tax (as an example) but the output of all of the economic research that has been done into the subject. However, the two mistakes are here....http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2015/06/20/where-pope-francis-goes-horribly-wrong-with-his-economics/
How climate-change doubters lost a papal fight; VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis was about to take a major step backing the science behind ­human-driven global warming, and Philippe de Larminat was determined to change his mind. A French doubter who authored a book arguing that solar activity — not greenhouse gases — was driving global warming, de Larminat sought a spot at a climate summit in April sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Nobel laureates would be there. So would U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. economist Jeffrey Sachs and others calling for dramatic steps to curb carbon emissions. After securing a high-level meeting at the Vatican, he was told that, space permitting, he could join. He bought a plane ticket from Paris to Rome. But five days before the April 28 summit, de Larminat said, he received an e-mail saying there was no space left. It came after other scientists — as well as the powerful Vatican bureaucrat in charge of the academy — insisted he had no business being there. “They did not want to hear an off note,” de Larminat said.The incident highlights how climate-change doubters tried and failed to alter the landmark papal document unveiled last week — one that saw the leader of 1 billion Catholics fuse faith and reason and come to the conclusion that “denial” is wrong....“This was their Waterloo,” said Kert Davies, executive director of the Climate Investigations Center, who has been tracking ­climate-change deniers for years. “They wanted the encyclical not to happen. And it happened.”


Here is a simple log of readings of Papal Encylical Letter on the environment from the perspective of commodity production sustainability programs (with a few reference notes on palm oil).

20 June 2015:  So what can palm oil readers glean from the new debate on sustainability raised by Pope Francis? Part 1 - 54. Parts 34-39 on issues in palm sustainability, part 49 on green rhetoric and social exclusion, no talk of cutting consumption in key markets, market might rules. A warning on superficial / false sustainability policy which does not challenge the models of production and consumption.
Note: It's Saturday night and we are now knuckling down to reading the document. It's an urgent call for doing the right thing for the now (the rich owe the poor big time) and for future generations. But it's also a lot to do with economic hegemonic powers and wrong-headed sustainability policies so far apparently increasing the power of the rich at the expense of the poor - "integrate questions of justice in debates of the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor."
Parts 34-39 cover the issues within palm oil sustainability. Read in particular 35, 38, 39. Monoculture,  deforestation and wetland conversion is criticised. Need for biological corridors is noted and the problem of corporate interests is highlighted by the statement that "caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness... no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation." No surprises there.

What is unexpected is this: Pope Francis has a view on the stakeholders involved in sustainability policy making and laments the loss of national sovereignty. 

In 38, our political economy antennae picks up on "huge global economic interests which under the guise of protecting (tropical forests), can undermine the sovereignty of individual nations.... (and) serve the economic interests of transnational corporations.... legitimate means of pressure... ensure that each government carries out its proper and inalienable responsibility to preserve the country's environment and natural resources, without capitulating to spurious local or international interests." 

The Pope is warning on voluntary supranational/ global sustainability efforts?? (We're keen to contact the Vatican communications team on this to find out more.)

Part 49 starts as a strong social critique: "there is little in the way of clear awareness of problems which especially affect the excluded... (They) are brought up as an afterthought, a question which gets added almost out of duty or in a tangential way, if not treated as merely collateral damage." But takes a sharp swipe on misguided policies within sustainability too as "numbing of conscience and... tendentious analyses... exists side by side with a "green" rhetoric... We have to realise that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates of the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." 

Note: This immediately leads us to think of the HCS Study of the Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto group**. Draft Synthesis Report: http://www.carbonstockstudy.com/Public-Consultation/Draft-Synthesis-Report; with a definition of HCS forests, threshold values for carbon emissions, method for identifying and mapping these HCS forests on the ground; and guidance on how to accommodate the rights and livelihoods of local communities and indigenous peoples when implementing a future HCS approach through integrated land use planning. Public consultation period 19 June - 31 July 2015.) **This blog writer led the LMC International team reviewing the Malaysia Felda case study - within the Consulting Study 11 & 12, Comparative studies of socio-economic impacts for this group.
Part 54 points out that the new power structures based on the techno-economic paradigm (part 53) "ends up sidelining anything unrelated to its immediate interests... The most one can expect is superficial rhetoric, sporadic acts of philanthropy and perfunctory expressions of concern for the environment, whereas any genuine attempt by groups within society to introduce change is viewed as a nuisance based on romantic illusion or an obstacle to be circumvented." A fist punch at sustainability efforts by (plantation) producers? 

But hang on, we are getting the gist of this document. The elbow dig (at the environmentalist, retailers and CGM bloc pushing sustainability) follows immediately in part 55: "people may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more... such behaviour... appears self destructive." 

Note: Indeed there has been no talk of cutting consumption in the developed markets even while palm sustainability is a dozen years old. No one in the supply chain wants that?

The world's focus on markets (and market players) is referred on part 56: "economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain.... (so) environmental degradation and human and ethical degradation are closely linked.. as a result "whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenceless before the interests of a deified market, which becomes the only rule."" Thus, (market) might is right?
Note: Soon after tapping out this question, Part 82 handily replies: "Yet it would also be mistaken to view other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination. When nature is viewed solely as a source of profit and gain, this has serious consequences for society. This vision of “might is right” has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all.

A warning on superficial / false sustainability policy which does not challenge the models of production and consumption. Part 59: "the rise of a false or superficial ecology which bolsters complacency and a cheerful recklessness... Evasiveness serves as a licence to carrying on with our present lifestyles and models of production and consumption. This is the way human beings contrive to feed their self-destructive vices.."

(notes halted at 59/246 and reading halted at 162/246 - thus no current notes on 60-162)

21 June 2015, morning: Don't let the environment be a guise to penalize developing countries / the poor. Don't rely on ploys like carbon credits which permits ongoing excessive consumption. Transnational economic and financial sectors block radical decisions on global warming and poverty eradication. The need for strong international institutions. Sustainable growth and business sustainability is "reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures" in order to distract attention from real changes.

On who should bear the cost of sustainability? The rich should bear the cost of environmental cost, not the poor. Don't let the environment be a guise to penalize developing countries / the poor. Don't rely on ploys like carbon credits which permits ongoing excessive consumption. Part 170: "Some strategies for lowering pollutant gas emissions call for the internationalization of environmental costs, which would risk imposing on countries with fewer resources burdensome commitments to reducing emissions comparable to those of the more industrialized countries. Imposing such measures penalizes those countries most in need of development. A further injustices is perpetrated under the guise of protecting the environment. And in Part 171: " carbon credits can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide... it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors."

Note: This has been a major bone of contention between the developing and the developed worlds, with the latter broadly saying that the former need not repeat their mistakes, and must make (and pay for as market access compliance cost) the necessary sustainability policies largely fashioned by policy makers from key developed markets. In palm sustainability, the frustration at the asymmetry in policy-making power is palpable, but has not attracted great resourcing as there is intense contestation among the stakeholders within the developing markets, ranging from big buyers, Asian transnational corporations to politicians asking what alternative economic development is there for local peoples residing in peat zones if  oil palm development there faces voluntary sustainability program (and hence international market) censure. While plantation companies talk about HCS regimes creating an orderly set of rules for developing palm oil, this still does not answer questions from those in areas which will be deemed "no go / no market access" by large companies in the supply-chain. In this regard, Part 49 is an essential read on the question of justice, as Pope Francis says: "a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates of the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." 

Transnational economic and financial sectors block radical decisions on global warming and poverty eradication. The need for strong international institutions. Part 175: "The same mindset which stands in the way of making radical decisions to reverse the trend of global warming also stands in the way of achieving the goal of eliminating poverty.... (we are) witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tends to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organised international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empower to impose sanctions."

Sustainable growth and business sustainability is "reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures" in order to distract attention from real changes. Part 194: "... it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress. Frequently, in fact, people’s quality of life actually diminishes – by the deterioration of the environment, the low quality of food or the depletion of resources – in the midst of economic growth. In this context, talk of sustainable growth usually becomes a way of distracting attention and offering excuses. It absorbs the language and values of ecology into the categories of finance and technocracy, and the social and environmental responsibility of businesses often gets reduced to a series of marketing and image-enhancing measures.

21 June 2015, evening: Extreme and compulsive consumerism fostered by the techno-economic hegemons. Pope Francis urges a change in lifestyle and (anti-consumption) consumer movements with boycotts to pressure business and the powerful; overcome individualism to get out of ourselves towards the other. While the young have a new ecological sensitivity they (and others) need to be re-educated as they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence; the "cult of appearances". New good habits needed through little daily actions. Break away from the utilitarian mindset. Community networks and community conversion needed for lasting change. Pope Francis calls for an "integral ecology." How about some contemplative rest instead of empty activism and unfettered greed?

Extreme and compulsive consumerism fostered by the techno-economic hegemons. Part 203: Since the market tends to promote extreme consumerism in an effort to sell its products, people can easily get caught up in a whirlwind of needless buying and spending. Compulsive consumerism is one example of how the techno-economic paradigm affects individuals. Romano Guardini had already foreseen this: “The gadgets and technics forced upon him by the patterns of machine production and of abstract planning mass man accepts quite simply; they are the forms of life itself. To either a greater or lesser degree mass man is convinced that his conformity is both reasonable and just”.[144] This paradigm leads people to believe that they are free as long as they have the supposed freedom to consume. But those really free are the minority who wield economic and financial power. Amid this confusion, postmodern humanity has not yet achieved a new self-awareness capable of offering guidance and direction, and this lack of identity is a source of anxiety. We have too many means and only a few insubstantial ends. and Part 204: The current global situation engenders a feeling of instability and uncertainty, which in turn becomes “a seedbed for collective selfishness”.[145] When people become self-centred and selfenclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume. It becomes almost impossible to accept the limits imposed by reality. In this horizon, a genuine sense of the common good also disappears. As these attitudes become more widespread, social norms are respected only to the extent that they do not clash with personal needs. So our concern cannot be limited merely to the threat of extreme weather events, but must also extend to the catastrophic consequences of social unrest. Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.

Pope Francis urges a change in lifestyle and (anti-consumption) consumer movements with boycotts to pressure business and the powerful; overcome individualism to get out of ourselves towards the other. Part 206: A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products. They prove successful in changing the way businesses operate, forcing them to consider their environmental footprint and their patterns of production. When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers. “Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act”.[146] Today, in a word, “the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle”.[147]. Part 208: We are always capable of going out of ourselves towards the other. Unless we do this, other creatures will not be recognized for their true worth; we are unconcerned about caring for things for the sake of others; we fail to set limits on ourselves in order to avoid the suffering of others or the deterioration of our surroundings...... If we can overcome individualism, we will truly be able to develop a different lifestyle and bring about significant changes in society.

While the young have a new ecological sensitivity they (and others) need to be re-educated as they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence; the "cult of appearances". New good habits needed through little daily actions. Break away from the utilitarian mindset. Community networks and community conversion needed for lasting change. Pope Francis calls for an "integral ecology." Part 209: An awareness of the gravity of today’s cultural and ecological crisis must be translated into new habits. Many people know that our current progress and the mere amassing of things and pleasures are not enough to give meaning and joy to the human heart, yet they feel unable to give up what the market sets before them. In those countries which should be making the greatest changes in consumer habits, young people have a new ecological sensitivity and a generous spirit, and some of them are making admirable efforts to protect the environment. At the same time, they have grown up in a milieu of extreme consumerism and affluence which makes it difficult to develop other habits. We are faced with an educational challenge.... Part 211: Yet this education, aimed at creating an “ecological citizenship”, is at times limited to providing information, and fails to instil good habits.... Only by cultivating sound virtues will people be able to make a selfless ecological commitment. A person who could afford to spend and consume more but regularly uses less heating and wears warmer clothes, shows the kind of convictions and attitudes which help to protect the environment. There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.... such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices.... Reusing something instead of immediately discarding it, when done for the right reasons, can be an act of love which expresses our own dignity.... Part 214: Political institutions and various other social groups are also entrusted with helping to raise people’s awareness.... Part 219. Nevertheless, self-improvement on the part of individuals will not by itself remedy the extremely complex situation facing our world today. Isolated individuals can lose their ability and freedom to escape the utilitarian mindset, and end up prey to an unethical consumerism bereft of social or ecological awareness. Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds.... The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.

How about some contemplative rest instead of empty activism and unfettered greed? Part 237: We tend to demean contemplative rest as something unproductive and unnecessary, but this is to do away with the very thing which is most important about work: its meaning. We are called to include in our work a dimension of receptivity and gratuity, which is quite different from mere inactivity. Rather, it is another way of working, which forms part of our very essence. It protects human action from becoming empty activism; it also prevents that unfettered greed and sense of isolation which make us seek personal gain to the detriment of all else.

Notes by Khor Reports Palm Oil on Laudato si' - On care for our common home by Franciscus - Rome, St Peter's (24 May 2015) - with excerpts numbered.

(246/246.. finis)


Some key words via pdf auto search

Agriculture, agricultural: 4, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 34, 41, 51, 125, 129, 131, 133, 146, 164, 180
Authentic: 4, 5, 10, 92, 112, 147, 205, 213, 225, 231
Crop: 129, 134, 180
Food: 4, 22, 24, 31, 32, 50, 129, 175, 194, 236
Forest, forestry, deforestation, : 8, 23, 24, 25, 32, 38, 39, 41, 51, 142, 164, 167, 195
Indigenous: 146, 179
Integral ecology: 10, 11, 62, 124, 137-162, 225, 230
Plantation, monoculture: 35, 39, 41
Production: 5, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 32, 58, 59, 109, 112, 128, 129, 134, 138, 145, 164, 172, 177, 180, 189, 191, 195, 203, 206
Renewable energy (to come)

Key mentions "agriculture" (but there are more references to be had from reading - including on crop rotation, planting areas, leaving loose fruits for local peoples etc....)
25. Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. They have no other financial activities or resources which can enable them to adapt to climate change or to face natural disasters, and their access to social services and protection is very limited. For example, changes in climate, to which animals and plants cannot adapt, lead them to migrate; this in turn affects the livelihood of the poor, who are then forced to leave their homes, with great uncertainty for their future and that of their children. There has been a tragic rise in the number of migrants seeking to flee from the growing poverty caused by environmental degradation. They are not recognized by international conventions as refugees; they bear the loss of the lives they have left behind, without enjoying any legal protection whatsoever. Sadly, there is widespread indifference to such suffering, which is even now taking place throughout our world. Our lack of response to these tragedies involving our brothers and sisters points to the loss of that sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded.

28. Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Sources of fresh water are necessary for health care, agriculture and industry. Water supplies used to be relatively constant, but now in many places demand exceeds the sustainable supply, with dramatic consequences in the short and long term. Large cities dependent on significant supplies of water have experienced periods of shortage, and at critical moments these have not always been administered with sufficient oversight and impartiality. Water poverty especially affects Africa where large sectors of the population have no access to safe drinking water or experience droughts which impede agricultural production. Some countries have areas rich in water while others endure drastic scarcity.

34. It may well disturb us to learn of the extinction of mammals or birds, since they are more visible. But the good functioning of ecosystems also requires fungi, algae, worms, insects, reptiles and an innumerable variety of microorganisms. Some less numerous species, although generally unseen, nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium of a particular place. Human beings must intervene when a geosystem reaches a critical state. But nowadays, such intervention in nature has become more and more frequent. As a consequence, serious problems arise, leading to further interventions; human activity becomes ubiquitous, with all the risks which this entails. Often a vicious circle results, as human intervention to resolve a problem further aggravates the situation. For example, many birds and insects which disappear due to synthetic agrotoxins are helpful for agriculture: their disappearance will have to be compensated for by yet other techniques which may well prove harmful. We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.

51. Inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations. A true “ecological debt” exists, particularly between the global north and south, connected to commercial imbalances with effects on the environment, and the disproportionate use of natural resources by certain countries over long periods of time. The export of raw materials to satisfy markets in the industrialized north has caused harm locally, as for example in mercury pollution in gold mining or sulphur dioxide pollution in copper mining. There is a pressing need to calculate the use of environmental space throughout the world for depositing gas residues which have been accumulating for two centuries and have created a situation which currently affects all the countries of the world. The warming caused by huge consumption on the part of some rich countries has repercussions on the poorest areas of the world, especially Africa, where a rise in temperature, together with drought, has proved devastating for farming. There is also the damage caused by the export of solid waste and toxic liquids to developing countries, and by the pollution produced by companies which operate in less developed countries in ways they could never do at home, in the countries in which they raise their capital: “We note that often the businesses which operate this way are multinationals. They do here what they would never do in developed countries or the so-called first world. Generally, after ceasing their activity and withdrawing, they leave behind great human and environmental liabilities such as unemployment, abandoned towns, the depletion of natural reserves, deforestation, the impoverishment of agriculture and local stock breeding, open pits, riven hills, polluted rivers and a handful of social works which are no longer sustainable”.[30]

131. Here I would recall the balanced position of Saint John Paul II, who stressed the benefits of scientific and technological progress as evidence of “the nobility of the human vocation to participate responsibly in God’s creative action”, while also noting that “we cannot interfere in one area of the ecosystem without paying due attention to the consequences of such interference in other areas”.[109] He made it clear that the Church values the benefits which result “from the study and applications of molecular biology, supplemented by other disciplines such as genetics, and its technological application in agriculture and industry”.[110] But he also pointed out that this should not lead to “indiscriminate genetic manipulation”[111] which ignores the negative effects of such interventions. Human creativity cannot be suppressed. If an artist cannot be stopped from using his or her creativity, neither should those who possess particular gifts for the advancement of science and technology be prevented from using their God-given talents for the service of others. We need constantly to rethink the goals, effects, overall context and ethical limits of this human activity, which is a form of power involving considerable risks.

164. Beginning in the middle of the last century and overcoming many difficulties, there has been a growing conviction that our planet is a homeland and that humanity is one people living in a common home. An interdependent world not only makes us more conscious of the negative effects of certain lifestyles and models of production and consumption which affect us all; more importantly, it motivates us to ensure that solutions are proposed from a global perspective, and not simply to defend the interests of a few countries. Interdependence obliges us to think of one world with a common plan. Yet the same ingenuity which has brought about enormous technological progress has so far proved incapable of finding effective ways of dealing with grave environmental and social problems worldwide. A global consensus is essential for confronting the deeper problems, which cannot be resolved by unilateral actions on the part of individual countries. Such a consensus could lead, for example, to planning a sustainable and diversified agriculture, developing renewable and less polluting forms of energy, encouraging a more efficient use of energy, promoting a better management of marine and forest resources, and ensuring universal access to drinking water.

180. There are no uniform recipes, because each country or region has its own problems and limitations. It is also true that political realism may call for transitional measures and technologies, so long as these are accompanied by the gradual framing and acceptance of binding commitments. At the same time, on the national and local levels, much still needs to be done, such as promoting ways of conserving energy. These would include favouring forms of industrial production with maximum energy efficiency and diminished use of raw materials, removing from the market products which are less energy efficient or more polluting, improving transport systems, and encouraging the construction and repair of buildings aimed at reducing their energy consumption and levels of pollution. Political activity on the local level could also be directed to modifying consumption, developing an economy of waste disposal and recycling, protecting certain species and planning a diversified agriculture and the rotation of crops. Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture. New forms of cooperation and community organization can be encouraged in order to defend the interests of small producers and preserve local ecosystems from destruction. Truly, much can be done!

News links on Pope Francis' views on sustainability

19 June 2015: Papal Encylical Letter on the environment - "Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk"
Friday night: Based on a quick look at news sources, the preliminary summary on what Pope Francis has to say about the global commodity supply-chain problems. Pope Francis:
  • blames the ‘ecological crisis’ on the indifference of the powerful  Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change. He attacks over consumption, and the rich who feel they are "more human.. born with greater rights" while caring little for those in poverty
  • calls for substituting fossil fuels with clean and renewable energy (but acknowledges gas as a better interim energy source versus the likes of coal)
  • laments the lack of political will - politicians are unwilling to upset consumerism and fearful of upsetting foreign investors
  • questions the boom-bust economic cycles with bank bailouts and financing over production - "Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies. The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble..."
  • points to the negatives of commodity production impacts as "underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution produced in certain mining, farming and industrial activities, especially in countries lacking adequate regulation or controls. It is not only a question of industrial waste. Detergents and chemical products, commonly used in many places of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas.... The export of raw materials to satisfy markets in the industrialized north has caused harm locally... it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture"
  • takes on big business, appearing to back "what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products" in order to force companies to respect the environment.
  • but he rejects "market approach" to environmental issues e.g. carbon credits may lead to speculation and allows excess consumption in some countries and some sectors: "we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals"
  • laments that "human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful..."
  • argues that "Agriculture in poorer regions can be improved through investment in rural infrastructures, a better organization of local or national markets, systems of irrigation, and the development of techniques of sustainable agriculture. New forms of cooperation and community organization can be encouraged in order to defend the interests of small producers and preserve local ecosystems from destruction.."
  • he is wary of risks of genetic modification
  • ... more to come.....
It's all rather (business) politically sensitive.... "The most controversial papal pronouncement in half a century.... won broad praise from scientists, the United Nations and climate change activists, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama, who lauded the pope for making the case "clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position." The pope also raised the wrath of conservatives, including several U.S. Republican presidential candidates and leading lawmakers, who have scolded him for delving into science and politics..... http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/18/us-pope-environment-idUSKBN0OX1LW20150618



News coverage includes:

Excerpts from Pope Francis encyclical on the environment  Updated: Thursday June 18, 2015 MYT 6:45:05 PM  (Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Thursday issued a major encyclical on the environment, called "Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home". Here are some key excerpts from the official English version:

"We all know that it is not possible to sustain the present level of consumption in developed countries and wealthier sectors of society, where the habit of wasting and discarding has reached unprecedented levels. The exploitation of the planet has already exceeded acceptable limits and we still have not solved the problem of poverty."
"We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions, vainly showing off their supposed superiority and leaving behind them so much waste which, if it were the case everywhere, would destroy the planet. In practice, we continue to tolerate that some consider themselves more human than others, as if they had been born with greater rights."

"There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies."
"We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions. But the international community has still not reached adequate agreements about the responsibility for paying the costs of this energy transition."

"...recent world summits on the environment have not lived up to expectations because, due to lack of political will, they were unable to reach truly meaningful and effective global agreements on the environment."
"A politics concerned with immediate results, supported by consumerist sectors of the population, is driven to produce short-term growth. In response to electoral interests, governments are reluctant to upset the public with measures which could affect the level of consumption or create risks for foreign investment. The myopia of power politics delays the inclusion of a far-sighted environmental agenda within the overall agenda of governments."

"Once more, we need to reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals. Is it realistic to hope that those who are obsessed with maximizing profits will stop to reflect on the environmental damage which they will leave behind for future generations? Where profits alone count, there can be no thinking about the rhythms of nature, its phases of decay and regeneration, or the complexity of ecosystems which may be gravely upset by human intervention."
"The strategy of buying and selling 'carbon credits' can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors."

"Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery. The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world. Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This
frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies. The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble. The problem of the real economy is not confronted with vigour, yet it is the real economy which makes diversification and improvement in production possible helps companies to function well, and enables small and medium businesses to develop and create employment."

"underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution produced in certain mining, farming and industrial activities, especially in countries lacking adequate regulation or controls. It is not only a question of industrial waste. Detergents and chemical products, commonly used in many places of the world, continue to pour into our rivers, lakes and seas."
"The export of raw materials to satisfy markets in the industrialized north has caused harm locally, as for example in mercury pollution in gold mining or sulphur dioxide pollution in copper mining. There is a pressing need to calculate the use of environmental space throughout the world for depositing gas residues which have been accumulating for two centuries and have created a situation which currently affects all the countries of the world."
"In this sense, it is essential to show special care for indigenous communities and their cultural traditions. They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners, especially when large projects affecting their land are proposed. For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values. When they remain on their land, they themselves care for it best. Nevertheless, in various parts of the world, pressure is being put on them to abandon their homelands to make room for agricultural or mining projects which are undertaken without regard for the degradation of nature and culture."
Pope Blames Markets for Environment’s Ills - Pontiff condemns global warming as outgrowth of global consumerism; ROME— Pope Francis in his much-awaited encyclical on the environment offered a broad and uncompromising indictment of the global market economy, accusing it of plundering the Earth at the expense of the poor and of future generations. In passionate language, the pontiff attributed global warming to human activity, blamed special interests for holding back policy responses and said the global North owes the South “an ecological debt.” The 183-page document, which Pope Francis addresses to “every person living on this planet,” includes pointed critiques of globalization and consumerism, which he says lead to environmental degradation. “The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he writes.

Pope's climate change encyclical tells rich nations: pay your debt to the poor - Pontiff’s 180-page intervention in climate change debate casts blame for ‘ecological crisis’ on the indifference of the powerful  Pope Francis has called on the world’s rich nations to begin paying their “grave social debt” to the poor and take concrete steps on climate change, saying failure to do so presents an undeniable risk to a “common home” that is beginning to resemble a “pile of filth”. The pope’s 180-page encyclical on the environment, released on Thursday, is at its core a moral call for action on phasing out the use of fossil fuels.  But it is also a document infused with an activist anger and concern for the poor, casting blame on the indifference of the powerful in the face of certain evidence that humanity is at risk following 200 years of misuse of resources. Up to now, he says, the world has accepted a “cheerful recklessness” in its approach to the issue, lacking the will to change habits for the good of the Earth. “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods,” the papal statement says. “It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” The release of the statement was timed with the pope’s upcoming trip to the US, where he will speak before the United Nations and a joint session of the Congress. “This is his signature teaching,” said Austen Ivereigh, who has written a biography of the pope. “Francis has made it not just safe to be Catholic and green; he’s made it obligatory.”.... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/18/popes-climate-change-encyclical-calls-on-rich-nations-to-pay-social-debt

Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change By JIM YARDLEY and LAURIE GOODSTEIN JUNE 18, 2015  VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Thursday called for a radical transformation of politics, economics and individual lifestyles to confront environmental degradation and climate change, blending a biting critique of consumerism and irresponsible development with a plea for swift and unified global action. The vision that Francis outlined in a 184-page papal encyclical is sweeping in ambition and scope: He describes relentless exploitation and destruction of the environment and says apathy, the reckless pursuit of profits, excessive faith in technology and political shortsightedness are to blame. The most vulnerable victims, he declares, are the world’s poorest people, who are being dislocated and disregarded..... http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/world/europe/pope-francis-in-sweeping-encyclical-calls-for-swift-action-on-climate-change.html?_r=0

Pope Francis: 'Revolution' needed to combat climate change By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor Updated 0107 GMT (0807 HKT) June 19, 2015 | Video Source: CNN (CNN)—As a former teacher, Pope Francis knows how to deliver a stern lecture. On Thursday, he gave one for the ages.
While slamming a slew of modern trends -- the heedless worship of technology, our addiction to fossil fuels and compulsive consumerism -- the Pope said humanity's "reckless" behavior has pushed the planet to a perilous "breaking point."  "Doomsday predictions," the Pope warned, "can no longer be met with irony or disdain."  Citing the scientific consensus that global warming is disturbingly real, Francis left little doubt about who to blame.  Big businesses, energy companies, short-sighted politicians, scurrilous scientists, laissez faire economists, indifferent individuals, callous Christians and myopic media professionals. Scarcely any area of society escaped his withering criticism.
"The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth," Francis said. "In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish." http://edition.cnn.com/2015/06/18/world/pope-francis-climate-technology-encyclical/

10 key excerpts from Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment By Sarah Pulliam Bailey June 18 at 6:45 AM Pope Francis is calling for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful in his sweeping new encyclical on the environment. In “Laudato Si,” or “Be Praised” (or “Praised Be,”) he warns of harming birds and industrial waste and calls for renewable fuel subsidies and energy efficiency.
Here are some of the key passages people will read closely, everything from climate change and global warming to abortion and population control.
1) Climate change has grave implications
2) Rich countries are destroying poor ones, and the earth is getting warmer
3) Christians have misinterpreted Scripture
4) The importance of access to safe drinkable water is “a basic and universal human right.”
5) Technocratic domination leads to the destruction of nature and the exploitation of people, and “by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.”
6) Population control does not address the problems of the poor
7) Gender differences matter
8) The international community has not acted enough
9) Individuals must act. “An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness,” he writes. We should also consider taking public transit, car-pooling, planting trees, turning off the lights and recycling.
10) By the way, why are we here on Earth in the first place? “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” he writes....

Release of encyclical reveals pope’s deep dive into climate science  By Anthony Faiola, Michelle Boorstein and Chris Mooney June 18 at 3:10 PM      VATICAN CITY — He warns of “synthetic agrotoxins” harming birds and insects and “bioaccumulation” from industrial waste. He calls for renewable fuel subsidies and “maximum energy efficiency.” And although he offers prayers at the beginning and end of his heavily anticipated missive on the environment, Pope Francis unmasks himself not only as a very green pontiff, but also as a total policy wonk. In the 192-page paper released Thursday, Francis lays out the argument for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change — a position bringing him immediately into conflict with skeptics, whom he chides for their “denial.” Francis urges taking public transit, carpooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, recycling — and boycotting certain products. He called for an “ecological conversion” for the faithful. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/how-pope-franciss-not-yet-official-document-on-climate-change-is-already-stirring-controversy/2015/06/17/ef4d46be-14fe-11e5-9518-f9e0a8959f32_story.html

News coverage on political reactions
USA: Pope demands 'action now' to save planet from environmental ruin VATICAN CITY  |  By Philip Pullella  Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:03pm EDT   Pope Francis demanded swift action on Thursday to save the planet from environmental ruin, urging world leaders to hear "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor" and plunging the Catholic Church into political controversy over climate change. In the first papal document dedicated to the environment, he called for "decisive action, here and now," to stop environmental degradation and global warming, squarely backing scientists who say it is mostly man-made. In the encyclical "Laudato Si (Praise Be), On the Care of Our Common Home", Francis, the first pope from a developing nation, advocated a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a "throwaway" consumer culture and an end to an "obstructionist attitudes" that sometimes put profit before the common good. He also took on big business, appearing to back "what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products" in order to force companies to respect the environment..... The most controversial papal pronouncement in half a century.... won broad praise from scientists, the United Nations and climate change activists, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama, who lauded the pope for making the case "clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position." The pope also raised the wrath of conservatives, including several U.S. Republican presidential candidates and leading lawmakers, who have scolded him for delving into science and politics..... http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/18/us-pope-environment-idUSKBN0OX1LW20150618

Australia: Papal environment encyclical a win for the Greens, challenge for Abbott Date June 19, 2015 - 5:32PM  34 reading now by Matthew Knott Politicians from across the political spectrum and Catholic Church leaders have welcomed Pope Francis' major encyclical on the environment, saying they expect it to have a significant impact on the local and international climate change debate, with the potential to change voting intentions. Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, who is also president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, described the encyclical as a "clarion call" to all global leaders, including Australia's, to take stronger leadership on climate change. "I would hope our leaders, including Mr Abbott, would carefully consider the message of the encyclical," Archbishop Hart said.........Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he thinks "everyone will give it great weight", including Prime Minister Tony Abbott. "I think this is a very, very significant move by the Pope, to make the church and the leadership of the church much more relevant to young people," Mr Turnbull said on Friday. In his encyclical, released on Thursday night Australian time, Pope Francis bemoans "weak international political responses" to environmental issues.
At least eight of Mr Abbott's 19 cabinet ministers are Catholics, including the Prime Minister, who trained for the priesthood in his youth. Mr Abbott last year said coal was "good for humanity" and said recently he wished the Howard government had never implemented the Renewable Energy Target..........Jesuit priest Frank Brennan said he expected Pope Francis' intervention to increase the mainstream appeal of the Greens, including among Catholic voters."In the past in Australia, church leaders like [former Sydney Archbishop] Cardinal [George] Pell cautioned people against voting for the Greens," Father Brennan said. "That sort of thing is out the window now. Minor parties like the Greens can take heart that the Catholic Church thinks environmental issues are central to political debate." Cardinal Pell, now the Vatican's finance chief, previously warned Catholics not to vote for the Greens, describing them as "sweet camouflaged poison"..........

Indonesia politics (update 21): Golkar split goes to court, Jokowi seeks Golkar in his coalition, party split renders Golkar ineffective; Jokowi studying ministry issues for first 6 months

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28 January 2015: Golkar split goes to court

Court opens trial for Golkar saga The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Wed, January 28 2015, 7:16 AM . The West Jakarta Court opened on Tuesday the first hearing of a trial on an internal dispute between two factions of the Golkar Party. Embattled Golkar chairman Aburizal Bakrie filed a lawsuit against a splinter group led by Agung Laksono, which had claimed a party national congress held in Bali was illegal. Calling itself the Presidium of the Golkar Party’s Saviors, Agung’s camp later held another national congress in Jakarta, which named him party chairman.The legal path was taken by Aburizal’s camp following a deadlock in reconciliation efforts between the two camps. - See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/28/court-opens-trial-golkar-saga.html#sthash.qpFaQ3c7.dpuf

11 January 2015: Jokowi seeks Golkar in his coalition, party split renders Golkar ineffective; Jokowi studying ministry issues for first 6 months

Interview on 29 December 2014: In chat with close Jakarta political observer just before the New Year, we hear that much rests on the splinter of Golkar, which has rendered Golkar non-functional at the national policy level amidst its legal uncertainties under the split in the party. This bolsters the ruling coalition. The Jokowi administration ministers are making studies of the key issues under their portfolios in the first six months, so there is not expected to be substantial shifts until then. However on maritime power, it's obvious from news headlines that Indonesia is asserting strongly its territorial power against encroaching fishing boats (one example, Malaysia-Indonesia: Confirms sinking of Malaysia fishing vessel http://khoryuleng.blogspot.com/2015/01/malaysia-indonesia-confirms-sinking-of.html)

Jokowi wants Golkar in coalition The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Sat, January 10 2015, 7:00 AM; President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has applauded the Golkar Party’s plan to quit the Red-and-White Coalition in the House of Representatives, the leader of the party’s splinter group, Agung Laksono, claims.“I met him yesterday and he praised Golkar’s intention to quit that coalition,” Agung said as quoted by Antara news agency late on Thursday.... A splinter faction held a party congress in December last year and elected Agung as the party’s new chairman. http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/10/jokowi-wants-golkar-coalition.html#sthash.RFBN0dh1.dpuf

Loyal supporters ask Jokowi to fulfill campaign promises Sita W. Dewi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, January 09 2015, 9:34 AM; Men, women and children from the Network of Urban Poor (JRMK) and the Urban Poor Consortium (UPC) came to meet with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Thursday, waiting for hours outside the State Palace to talk to him about promises he made during his campaign to be president and earlier as Jakarta governor. The strict protocol at the State Palace proved very different from their experience when Jokowi was at City Hall, when residents could talk to him without having to make an appointment. Is it still the same man, humble and caring, standing behind the strict palace protocol, or has the people’s leader changed into a different person? “I understand that everything is different now that he is the President. Back then, I came to City Hall almost every week. I came just before he arrived at the office in the morning and he would give us 15 minutes to two hours to listen to our grievances,” group representative Marno “Ujang” NP told The Jakarta Post in front of the State Palace.....http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/09/loyal-supporters-ask-jokowi-fulfill-campaign-promises.html#sthash.PogtwgGd.dpuf

8 December 2014: Bakrie retains Golkar hold, in a setback for Jokowi

Bakrie's comeback - Political allies of Joko Widodo suffer a setback; Dec 5th 2014  | JAKARTA | Asia; "On December 3rd, at a conference on the island of Bali, members of Golkar, which is the second-largest party in parliament, re-elected Mr Bakrie as chairman for five more years. The tycoon-politician was the sole candidate after his main rival, Agung Laksono, who was expected to pose a serious challenge to Mr Bakrie's leadership, was purged from the party, along with his allies. Under Mr Bakrie's leadership, the party failed to put forward its own candidates for president or even vice-president in July's election. But in the run-up to the conference Mr Bakrie shored up support for his candidacy behind the scenes.... Supporters of Jokowi, who took office in October after a narrow victory in the presidential poll, had hoped a Golkar party led by someone other than Mr Bakrie might switch sides, giving the ruling party a majority in parliament. At present Jokowi's own Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, along with its four smaller allies, have about 44% of the seats. A Golkar defection would have left them with about 60%.... This now looks much less likely. Golkar's position within the rival "red-and-white" coalition, led by Prabowo Subianto, the losing presidential candidate, seems secure for the time being—though Mr Bakrie's re-election could yet be challenged if it turns out party rules were breached...." http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21635666-political-allies-joko-widodo-suffer-setback-bakries-comeback

26 October 2014 - presumed cabinet list (Jokowi Facebook posting confirms this half hour ago)

profiles here by Kompas.com http://lipsus.kompas.com/topikpilihanlist/3154/1/Kabinet.Jokowi-JK

Breaking: Presumed List of Cabinet Ministers Leaked By Jakarta Globe on 03:54 pm Oct 26, 2014
A leaked list of the presumed cabinet of President Joko Widodo shows a high proportion of party and crony appointees; "Jakarta. The Jakarta Globe has obtained from a reliable source a list of the ministers expected to be named in an announcement later this afternoon and sworn into office on Monday. This list has been confirmed through two independent sources. Several of the names expected to be announced differ from an confirmed list obtained by Investor Daily last week. Among the notable changes are the removal of Kuntoro Mangkusubroto from the cabinet lineup, as well as the placement of Anies Baswedan as minister of primary and secondary education and culture.
One immediately striking feature of the list is the high number of politicians from President Joko Widodo’s coalition and associates of former president Megawati Soekarnoputri, Joko’s party patron. These include Megawati’s daughter, Puan Maharani, as coordinating minister for human development and culture, and Susi Pudjiastuti, who runs an aviation business, handling maritime affairs — the centerpiece of Joko’s policy platform. The Globe counts at least 19 such appointees in the list...." http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/breaking-presumed-list-cabinet-ministers-leaked/
Note the following:
National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) minister: Andrinof Chaniago
Coordinating minister for the economy: Sofyan Djalil
Minister of energy and mineral resources: Sudirman Said
Finance minister: Bambang Brodjonegoro
 - Deputy finance minster: Mardiasmo
Minister of cooperatives and small and medium enterprises: Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Puspayoga
 Minister of industry:  Saleh Husin
 Minister of trade: Rahmat Gobel
Minister of agriculture: Amran Sulaiman
Minister of forestry and environment: Siti Nurbaja
Minister of development of villages and underdeveloped regions and transmigration: Marwan Jafar

24 October 2014 - President Jokowi installed, enviro-forestry ministry, awaiting (vetted) ministerial line up

Indonesia’s Jokowi sworn in as president as economic problems mount - Hopes high for reform as president elected from outside military and political elite for first time in young democracy’s history
Reuters in Jakarta The Guardian, Monday 20 October 2014; "Indonesia’s Joko Widodo has taken over as president of the world’s third-largest democracy, with high hopes among supporters but pressing economic problems set to test the former furniture businessman.... The former Jakarta governor leader, widely known as Jokowi, won a narrow victory over an ex-general in July’s election, marking the first time in the fledgling democracy’s history that a president was elected from outside the military and political elite.. “This is the time for us to unite our hearts and hands, this is the time for us … to reach and realise an Indonesia that has political sovereignty, economic independence and cultural character,” Jokowi said in his inaugural speech to a packed parliament..." http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/20/indonesia-jokowi-sworn-in-president-jakarta

Jakarta street party as Jokowi fever hits city October 20, 2014 by Michael Bachelard

President Jokowi Inauguration Street Party by Jakartaguy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfCZBbhc2Rg

Jokowi’s merging of environment, forestry ministries scorned by Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, Batam | Fri, 10/24/2014 10:05 AM; "President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s vow to protect the environment has come under question following his plan to merge two complimentary entities, the Forestry Ministry and the Environment Ministry, into a single ministry.... A conservation group, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), said on Thursday that the plan would be a setback to the country’s effort to improve the management of the environment, as the monitoring function of the Environment Ministry may diminish as it merges with the Forestry Ministry, one of the subjects of the monitoring.... Likewise, Greenpeace Indonesia chairman Longgena Ginting said that the focus of the ministry might be skewed toward exploiting forests.... Another thing that might be problematic in the future is the fact that the Environment Ministry is in charge of monitoring unruly public officials authorized to issue forestry permits and file lawsuits against them, while the Forestry Ministry who issues permits...." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/10/24/jokowi-s-merging-environment-forestry-ministries-scorned.html

Eight new ministerial candidates still under KPK consideration: Jokowi by The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 10/24/2014 10:42 AM; "President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo revealed on Thursday evening that he was still waiting for the result of probes being conducted by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on eight new ministerial candidates. Therefore, he, along with Vice President Jusuf Kalla, had yet to announce members of their Cabinet...." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/10/24/eight-new-ministerial-candidates-still-under-kpk-consideration-jokowi.html

‘No fat bank accounts’ for Jokowi’s ministerial candidates by The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 10/23/2014 6:52 PM; "Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) chief Muhammad Yusuf says his institution has not found evidence of suspicious bank accounts in its investigations into the 43 ministerial candidates proposed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla...." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/10/23/no-fat-bank-accounts-jokowi-s-ministerial-candidates.html

House wants Jokowi Cabinet structure ready by next week by Margareth S. Aritonang The Jakarta Post/Jakarta, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 10/24/2014 10:08 AM; "The House of Representatives expects President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo to announce his Cabinet structure early next week after it issues its recommendations regarding changes in the structure of the Cabinet...." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/10/24/house-wants-jokowi-cabinet-structure-ready-next-week.html

6 October 2014 - Speculation on ministerial jobs, Parliament opposition bloc holds together

Politicians in top posts limit progress on environment: Activists by Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, October 03 2014, 9:38 AM; "As president-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is set to announce his Cabinet this month, speculations are rife over who will fill the top jobs at the forestry and environment ministries, which bear the herculean task of managing forests, one of the country’s most coveted natural resources... Environmentalists agree that both posts should not be filled by political party members. “Some past forestry ministers were from parties, such as Mohamad Prakosa, Nur Mahmudi Ismail, MS Kaban and Zulkifli Hasan. But they didn’t excel at saving or managing forests,” said Greenpeace Southeast Asia forest campaigner Yuyun Indradi.... “They won’t make much progress because environmental destruction is usually caused by corporations that have close ties with political parties,” he said.... Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) executive director Abednego Tarigan said that ideally, forestry and environment ministers should possess strong communication skills, which would be helpful in efforts to lobby corporations and other government agencies.“If we’re talking about [forest fire] cases, the corporations were brought to court only after they were pressured by civil society,” Abednego said...." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/10/03/politicians-top-posts-limit-progress-environment-activists.html

Indonesia’s Widodo Faces Emboldened Opposition - President-Elect’s Political Foes in Parliament Could Be Positioned to Dictate Policy; "President-elect Joko Widodo and his ruling coalition suffered another political setback Thursday after their opponents won control of key positions in the Indonesian parliament, a development that threatens to further weaken Mr. Widodo’s hand as he tries to push through a reformist agenda.... A coalition of parties that had supported former army Gen. Prabowo Subianto in his hard-fought presidential race against Mr. Widodo took the most important posts in the national legislature, including speaker, after members were sworn in to new five-year terms. They already control a majority of legislative seats.... Unless he can lure members of the coalition to his side in the next few weeks before taking office, Mr. Widodo will face a parliament resolutely hostile to him and his programs, which include reducing inequality in a nation of 250 million people and revamping the nearly-trillion-dollar economy.... The five parties in the Subianto-led coalition have defied expectations since the election in July that some would defect to Mr. Widodo in exchange for cabinet posts and other traditional incentives—which the reform-minded new leader has been reluctant to hand out.... Instead, they have hung together and formed a powerful bloc in parliament that has already tasted success in opposing the new president. That puts them in a strong position to dictate public policy and increase their power despite Mr. Widodo holding the nation’s highest office...." http://online.wsj.com/articles/indonesias-widodo-already-outflanked-weakened-by-opponents-1412255931

Editorial: Take a Stand to Save Nation’s Democracy By Jakarta Globe on 12:29 am Oct 06, 2014; "The House of Representatives, or DPR, and People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR, are two state institutions through which the people’s will is supposedly voiced.......We are powerless as we witness the slow demise of the country’s democracy; all we can do is wait for another five years to get involved and — hopefully — use our votes to take the power away from KMP.... But should we wait that long? Is our middle class too divided, blinded and too lazy to fight back? With a divided mass media, it’s not easy, but we must take a stand before it’s too late...." http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/opinion/editorial-take-stand-save-nations-democracy/

29 September 2014

Party of Indonesia president-elect denied parliament speaker role; JAKARTA  Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:01am EDT; http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/29/us-indonesia-politics-parliament-idUSKCN0HO13L20140929 (Reuters) "Indonesia's highest court on Monday rejected a legal challenge by president-elect Joko Widodo's party to a law that prevents it from filling the role of parliamentary speaker, complicating efforts to push through economic reforms. Widodo's Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P) won just under 20 percent of the total vote in April's parliamentary election, the biggest share of any political party. But lawmakers in the outgoing parliament in July rushed through a change to a previous law that allowed the biggest party in parliament to automatically appoint a speaker, arguing that the appointment should be based on a vote. "It's not just that this robs us of the right as a party to select the speaker of the (parliament) but also affects the sustainability of the incoming government of Widodo," PDI-P lawmaker Trimedya Panjaitan told media...."

28 September 2014

Indonesian politics - Don't touch those ballots , Sep 26th 2014, 5:55 by J.F. | SINGAPORE
(Jokowi) did not offer voters promises of glory or elegant speeches (he is in fact a notoriously awkward public speaker); instead, he ran on a record of good governance and constituent service, earned during his tenure first as mayor of Solo, his hometown, then as governor of Jakarta. When Indonesians elected him president, the old order took it on the chin. Early this morning, that order fought back.... After ten hours of debate, Indonesia's parliament voted 226-135 to end direct elections of local politicians. Indonesia's 34 provincial governors, as well as more than 500 mayors and regency heads, or bupati, will now be chosen by regional legislatures, rather than being elected by the people they are supposed to serve. The measure was largely supported by parties that backed Prabowo Subianto, who lost the presidential election to Jokowi; and largely opposed by Jokowi-supporting parties. As the Wall Street Journal explains, the vote's result was uncertain, until legislators from parliament's largest party—the Democratic Party, of which Indonesia's current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is also a member—walked out of deliberations and abstained from the vote.... Supporters of the bill argued that direct local elections were expensive: the vice-chair of Mr Prabowo's Gerindra party said that eliminating them would save 60 trillion rupiah ($5 billion) over five years. As this outstanding primer from the Asia Foundation notes, that is less than one-fourth the annual cost of Indonesia's fuel subsidies. Besides, Indonesia's constitutional court ruled that from 2019, local and national elections would be held simultaneously, which would reduce electoral costs. Supporters also argued that direct local elections encourage corruption, a problem rarely solved by handing more power to political insiders. And that is what this bill is really about: seizing power back from the people, who made the "wrong" choice for president.... "

Yudhoyono disappoints Indonesian  people with Dems’ walkout by The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Fri, September 26 2014, 12:10 PM; "...Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) secretary general Tjahjo Kumolo said on Friday that President and Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) had broken the hearts of the Indonesian people with the decision of his lawmakers to walk out of the plenary meeting on the regional elections (Pilkada) bill at the House of Representatives (DPR).... During the meeting, lawmakers from the Democratic Party, which supported direct elections, decided to walk out because the 10 amendment points proposed by their party had been rejected. Therefore, when the voting was conducted, votes from the camp supporting direct elections, which consisted of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Hanura Party, only totaled 135, which were far fewer than the 226 votes cast by the camp supporting indirect elections, which consisted of the Golkar Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN), the United Development Party (PPP) and the Gerindra Party..."  

30 July 2014

Jokowi goes online for Cabinet by Sita W. Dewi and Yuliasri Perdani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, July 25 2014, 8:36 AM; "... Social media played a major role in his presidential-election victory and now president-elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has embraced the same tool to recruit his ministers. At the same time he is easing pressure from those seeking places in the Cabinet and attempting to win over his opponents... Amid rumors and media speculation about his Cabinet choices after he is sworn in as president on Oct. 20, Jokowi and his team have produced an online poll called “People’s Choice for an Alternative Cabinet” published on jokowicenter.com.... In the survey, the team is putting forward three different names for each ministerial post in a Cabinet of 34 ministers. The poll also provides an option should respondents wish to propose another name. It is expected citizens will respond enthusiastically to this Indonesian Idol style of recruitment as it will be the first time they have been involved in Cabinet formation.... Several big names have been tossed into the hat. Former Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University rector Azyumardi Azra has been touted as a potential religious affairs minister, while popular economists including National Economic Council member Aviliani, Gadjah Mada University (UGM) academic Sri Adiningsih and energy expert Kurtubi have been suggested as potential candidates to fill economic posts.
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politicians, including Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, Pramono Anung, Maruarar Sirait, Puan Maharani, Hasto Kristiyanto and Eva Kusuma Sundari are also on the list..... From the current Cabinet, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu, Coordinating Economic Minister Chairul Tanjung, Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Agus Martowardojo, former trade minister Gita Wirjawan and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan are also among the favorites..... The poll also includes some prominent figures from the camp of Jokowi’s rival Prabowo Subianto. Among them are Religious Affairs Minister and United Development Party (PPP) deputy chairman Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil from the Gerindra Party...." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/25/jokowi-goes-online-cabinet.html
Previous news story - Kalla envisions future Cabinet | The Jakarta Post; http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/21/kalla-envisions-future-cabinet.html

Here is the list of ministerial candidates, and the ones close to plantation industry issues are highlighted.

Berdasarkan KAUR, berikut adalah para kandidat menteri (candidates for minister):
1.Menteri Koordinator Politik, Hukum, dan Keamanan: Jenderal TNI Budiman; Jenderal TNI Dr Moeldoko; Jenderal TNI (Purn) Sutiyoso.
2.Menteri Koordinator Perekonomian: Chairul Tanjung, Dahlan Iskan, Gita Irawan Wirjawan.
3.Menteri Koordinator Kesejahteraan Rakyat: Muhaimin Iskandar, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Alwi Shihab.
4.Menteri Dalam Negeri: Abraham Samad, Agustin Teras Narang, Pratikno.
5.Menteri Luar Negeri: Don K Marut, Makmur Keliat, Raden Mohammad, Marty Muliana Natalegawa.
6.Menteri Pertahanan: Andi Widjajanto, Mayor Jenderal (Purn) TB Hasanuddin; Jenderal TNI (Purn) Ryamizard Ryacudu.
7.Menteri Hukum dan HAM: Artidjo Alkostar, Saldi Isra, Zainal Arifin Mochtar.
8.Menteri Keuangan (Finance): Hendrawan Supratikno, Raden Pardede, Agus Martowardojo.
9.Menteri ESDM: Arif Budimanta, Luluk Sumiarso, Tumiran.
10.Menteri Perindustrian: Anton Joenoes Supit, Poempida Hidayatulloh, Tri Yogi Yuwono.
11.Menteri Perdagangan (Trade): Mari Elka Pangestu, Soetrisno Bachir, Sri Adiningsih.
12.Menteri Pertanian (Agriculture): Arif Wibowo, Bustanul Arifin, Iman Sugema.
13.Menteri Kehutanan (Forestry): Frans Wanggai, M Prakosa, Satyawan Pudyatmoko.
14.Menteri Perhubungan: Marsekal TNI (Purn) Chappy Hakim, Danang Parikesit, Ignasius Jonan.
15.Menteri Kelautan dan Perikanan: Jamaluddin Jompa, Kadarusman, Rokhmin Dahuri.
16.Menteri Tenaga Kerja dan Transmigrasi: Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, Rizal Sukma, Wahyu Susilo.
17.Menteri Pekerjaan Umum: Bayu Krisnamurthi, Ilham Akbar Habibie, Tri Mumpuni Wiyatno.
18.Menteri Kesehatan: Fasli Jalal, Ribka Tjiptaning, Ali Ghufron Mukti.
19.Menteri Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan: Abdul Munir Mulkhan, Hilmar Farid, Yudi Latif.
20.Menteri Sosial: Dadang Juliantara, Eva Kusuma Sundari, Hasto Kristiyanto.
21.Menteri Agama: Azyumardi Azra, Lukman Hakim Saifudin, Siti Maulida.
22.Menteri Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif: Garin Nugroho, Jeffrie Geovanie, Mira Lesmana.
23.Menteri Komunikasi dan Informatika: Ferry Mursyidan Baldan, Nezar Patria, Onno W Purbo.
24.Menteri Sekretaris Negara: Maruarar Sirait, Pramono Anung Wibowo, Yuddy Chrisnandi.
25.Menteri Riset dan Teknologi: I Gede Wenten, Romi Satria Wahono, Yohannes Surya.
26.Menteri Koperasi dan UKM: Abdul Kadir Karding, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Nusron Wahid.
27.Menteri Pemberdayaan Perempuan dan Anak: Lies Marcoes Natsir, Nani Zulminarni, Puan Maharani.
28.Menteri Lingkungan Hidup (Environment): Chalid Muhammad, Charlie Heatubun, Dodo Sambodo.
29.Menteri Pendayagunaan Aparatur Negara dan Reformasi Birokrasi: Eko Prasojo, Tri Rismaharini, Agung Adi Prasetyo.
30.Menteri Pembangunan Daerah Tertinggal: Akbar Faizal, Andrinof Achir Chaniago, Indra Jaya Piliang.
31.Menteri Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional: Aviliani, Faisal Basri, Revrisond Baswir.
32.Menteri Perumahan Rakyat: Rhenald Khasali, Suprihanto Notodarmojo, M Ridwan Kamil.
33.Menteri BUMN: Hendri Saparini, Kurtubi, Emirsyah Satar.
34.Menteri Pemuda dan Olahraga: Adhie MS, Anies Baswedan, Herry Zudianto.

Other interesting news:
  • REDD+ agency hopes for committed new govt by The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sat, July 26 2014, 12:20 PM; ".... indigenous groups were estimated to hold the rights to around 45 million hectares of forest currently being misused as commercial concessions. REDD+, setup this year to protect rainforests and peatland, has advocated the rights of indigenous people and local communities, including the 2012 Constitutional Court verdict stating that customary forests should no longer belong to the state..." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/26/redd-agency-hopes-committed-new-govt.html
  • Lame duck SBY slips in Freeport deal by Raras Cahyafitri and Satria Sambijantoro, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sat, July 26 2014, 11:42 AM; "...Less than three months before the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is due to leave office, it sealed a strategic deal on Friday with the local unit of US giant miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc., which ensured the company would continue to operate after its license expires in 2021...." http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/26/lame-duck-sby-slips-freeport-deal.html

24 July 2014

I checked with a source who's a Jokowi supporter, who had this to say: "I am holding the jubilation at least until two things happen: i) Golkar crosses over from Prabowo side, giving Jokowi 2/3 majority in parliament thus he cannot be impeached. Currently, the parties backing Prabowo have threatened impeachment on the first few days in parliament* and b) Prabowo finally concedes."
*refer to 11 July posting (below), Indonesia’s Parliament in a extraordinary session, amended the constitution. Referred to in the Indonesia media as the "Law on MD3", the next leader of Parliament will be chosen by MPs, rather than awarded to the party winning the most seats i.e. Jokowi's PDI-P....

23 July 2014

Another milestone is the cabinet announcement in Oct 14. Key ministrial posts are those in finance, trade, state-owned enterprises, economic development, energy and mineral, industry, health, education, cooperatives, small medium enterprises and the Head of the Investment Coordinating Board. From "Jokowi Wins; Bright Future for Indonesia," 23 July 2014, UOBKayhian

Joko Widodo elected Indonesian president, July 23, 2014 - 8:13AM; Michael Bachelard, Indonesia correspondent for Fairfax Media; http://www.smh.com.au/world/joko-widodo-elected-indonesian-president-20140723-zvv5a.html; "A man raised in a squat built on a river bank has been elected to be Indonesia’s next president. Joko Widodo, who hopes not just to dominate Indonesian politics but to wrest it from the hands of Indonesia’s old, corrupt elite, was late last night pronounced the winner of the country’s presidential election with a convincing 53.15 per cent of the vote. President Joko will not begin his five-year term until October 20, but last night he suggested that his success, which was driven by the work of thousands of volunteers, not party apparatchiks, signalled a flowering of hope in Indonesian politics. The election, in which he claimed support “from artists to rickshaw drivers,” had been a “cultural event, not merely a political event”, adding: “Politics is full of fun; politics has some wisdom; politics is freedom”.... But Mr Prabowo, a former army strongman and now three-time failed presidential candidate, tried to pre-empt the announcement by “withdrawing” from the entire election process, saying it was the result of “massive cheating that is structured and systematic”... Mr Prabowo’s legal representative has said, however, his withdrawal meant he no longer had standing as a candidate to launch a Constitutional Court challenge, and therefore he would not take that route.... The final count of almost 135 million votes, which were cast on July 9, showed the new president elect and his running mate Jusuf Kalla had won by a comfortable margin of 6.3 per cent, or 8.4 million votes.

22 July 2014: 

Jokowi named president-elect, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | July 22 2014 | 9:41 PM; The General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the official final vote tally and named Joko "Jokowi" Widodo president-elect with a total vote of 70,997,833, or 53.15 percent, on Tuesday evening. http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/22/jokowi-named-president-elect.html
Indonesian Stocks, Rupiah Slump as Prabowo Rejects Vote  By Harry Suhartono and Yudith Ho  Jul 22, 2014 5:11 PM GMT+0800, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-22/indonesian-stocks-rupiah-slump-after-prabowo-rejects-election.html; "Indonesian stocks retreated from a 13-month high and the rupiah snapped a four-day rally after presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto withdrew from the vote count, heightening concern the outcome will be challenged.... Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is set to be declared the winner of the closest presidential contest in a decade. Streets in the capital Jakarta were quiet with a visible police presence near the commission’s headquarters. Investors may have to wait until as late as August for certainty on the nation’s next leader if an appeal is filed to the Constitutional Court....."

22 July 2014, 1.30pm: "...The KPU is scheduled to declare the winner at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The official vote tally at the KPU headquarters in Jakarta had reviewed results from 22 of 33 provinces as of Monday night. According to earlier vote-count results, Jokowi-Kalla was in the lead with a total of 41,127,377 votes, or 51.4 percent of the total of about 80 million legitimate votes. Jokowi was winning in 14 provinces while Prabowo was leading in the remaining eight provinces....." http://m.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/22/indonesia-awaits-new-president.html

11 July 2014, 3pm update: Worries of "stealing" the election?
Prabowo supporters also worry about Jokowi stealing their election. We are hearing political sources alleging that some big wins for Prabowo in Java at 65% has been under-reported by pro-Jokowi pollsters at 52% instead, while various domestic & most foreign media remain biased against Prabowo.

The outcomes are quite contested. What's real in the midst of this uncertainty was a big political action on the eve of Presidential polling day - 8 July. Indonesia’s Parliament in a extraordinary session, amended the constitution. Referred to in the Indonesia media as the "Law on MD3", the next leader of Parliament will be chosen by MPs, rather than awarded to the party winning the most seats i.e. Jokowi's PDI-P. PDI-P currently leads a smaller coalition than the Prabowo's Gerindra-led coalition (see coalition map below). PDI-P says it will seek a judicial review of MD3 in the Constitutional Court. News link: http://news.metrotvnews.com/read/2014/07/10/263758/pdip-bakal-ajukan-judicial-review-uu-md3-ke-mk

11 Jully 2014, 11am update:
"Prabowo’s game plan" by Edward Aspinall and marcus Mietzner - 10 July 2014, http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au/newmandala/2014/07/10/prabowos-game-plan/'; "On the basis of this smaller number of quick counts, Prabowo Subianto has also claimed victory. Consequently, Indonesia is now set for a period of significant political confusion, uncertainty, and even instability, in the weeks leading to the formal announcement of the results by the KPU on 22 July.... How can this confusion have arisen? We wish to be very clear that this is not a matter of a range of equally credible quick counts showing a wide range of potentially legitimate results. Rather, the confusion is part of Prabowo Subianto’s strategy to steal the election, a strategy that evidently has been long in the making. Reportedly, one of Prabowo’s chief campaign strategists, Rob Allyn, has been known for exactly this kind of strategy: to produce surveys which create the impression that an electorally weak candidate is competitive, and use the subsequent confusion among the electorate to manoeuvre this candidate into a more favourable position. Allyn has been known for this strategy in US and Mexican elections, and he has apparently found a very fertile ground in Indonesia to apply the same method...."

10 July 2014, 10am update: Both sides claim victory, final results 22 July.

Narrow Finish as Indonesia Presidential Candidates Stand Their Ground By Jakarta Globe on 12:45 am Jul 10, 2014; http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/narrow-finish-indonesia-presidential-candidates-stand-ground/

source: screenshot of thejakartaglobe.com website with various "quick counts" -
showing 4 for Jokowi-JK and 4 for Prabowo-Hatta

Narrow Finish as Indonesia Presidential Candidates Stand Their Ground By Jakarta Globe on 12:45 am Jul 10, 2014; http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/narrow-finish-indonesia-presidential-candidates-stand-ground/: ".....At least 11 pollsters performed quick counts of the election and announced the results on Wednesday, although by the late evening most of the results were not final yet and still a few percentage points away from 100 percent.... Quick count results typically don’t differ much from the actual final tally, as was the case in the April 9 legislative election, when polls predicted the PDI-P won between 18 and 20 percent of the vote to lead all 10 parties in the running. The official result from the KPU showed that the PDI-P won 18.95 percent.... The results of the 11 quick counts on Wednesday, though, were divided, although most of the pollsters — seven — declared Joko the winner, while the four called it for Prabowo.... SMRC, the Indonesia Survey Circle (LSI), Indikator Politik Indonesia and Kompas were among those calling the election for Joko, saying he won by a clear margin of 4 to 6 percentage points.... Meanwhile, the Indonesia Voter Network (JSI), the National Survey Institute (LSN), the Indonesia Research Center (IRC) and the Center for Policy Studies and Strategies Development (Puskaptis) — which are less known to the public — showed Prabowo in the lead, albeit by the narrowest of margins, collecting 50 to 52 percent of the vote over Joko’s 48 to 49 percent.... Both camps have disputed the quick count results deemed unfavorable to their sides...."
9 July 6pm note: PDI-P and Megawati declared victory but no concession from Prabowo then.
It seems that big corporate donors sure made a big push Prabowo to win but Jokowi-JK prevailed and their lead grew.
For plantations, Prabowo sounded more bullish on upstream and biodiesel topics. Jokowi has warned on special interests and those companies falling short on various issues of governance.

But PDI-P is still rather nationalistic and we should expect differences; as seen elsewhere in the world. 
Our reader SK notes this: Now the question is who will be in the cabinet? Will Jokowi co-opt more competent bureaucrats from Demokrat? We might also wonder how will Jokowi'srelationship with Megawati and daughter-son evolve.

Exit polls: Jokowi-JK win 52.7% vs 47.2%. 9 July 2014 update, 4.15pm.
Several polling organisations find for Jokowi-JK victory, 5.5%-age points ahead of the Prabowo team. This is ahead of the 3%-age point narrowing lead just before polling day.

LSI, SMRC dan IPI: Jokowi-JK Menang 52,7% Vs 47,2%,
http://pemilu.tempo.co/read/news/2014/07/09/269591684/LSI-SMRC-dan-IPI-Jokowi-JK-Menang-527-Vs-472; Kompas' quick count. http://indonesiasatu.kompas.com/hitungcepat.

30% of voters are below 30 years old,

Noon data shows Jokowi-JK doing better in rural zones and weaker in urban.

Rupiah Forwards Jump Most Since February on Signs Jokowi Leading; Indonesia’s rupiah forwards jumped the most since February and dollar bonds extended gains as Joko Widodo said unofficial counts at polling booths showed him leading the presidential race. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-09/rupiah-forwards-advance-with-dollar-bonds-as-indonesians-vote.html

POLLING DAY! 9 July 2014 update, 9am.

Thanks to our reader SK, two negatives on Jokowi's campaign - apparent campaign planning and excecution problems in PDI-P and an alleged TNI program:

Also from SK, Exit polls in foreign voting show strong support for Jokowi; http://news.detik.com/pemilu2014/read/2014/07/07/165013/2630335/1562/1/hasil-exit-poll-lembaga-ini-mengunggulkan-jokowi-jk-di-6-negara (Bahasa); Singapore 83% and Hong Kong 79% for Jokowi-JK. 

For those interested in policy directions, UOBKH Research, 8 July on final debate: The final round of the presidential debate was a heated one with Jokowi-Kalla on the attack. Kalla raised the issue of Newmont divestment, graft regarding the people surrounding Prabowo and conditional coalition offered by Prabowo. Jokowi also attacked his rival’s promises and questioned how they would ever realise those plans....

• Increase food productivity. Jokowi believes Indonesia should increase food productivity through the timely provision of seeds, fertilisers and irrigation improvements. Jokowi will build an additional 1m ha of rice paddy fields to support the growing need for food. He will also fight the “special interest” groups that control food, energy and the environment. Conversion from oil to gas: Jokowi believes the mind set for energy consumption should be changed by converting oil into gas in transportation and improving the public transportation system. Repairing environmental damage: Jokowi believes Indonesia should start repairing the environment by repairing 2m ha of forest, repairing the river flow and repairing the cities. Jokowi also proposed a single zoning map for the nation.

• Self sufficiency in food. Policies will be enacted to achieve self sufficiency in food and food must be affordable to the entire community. Develop the food quality and nutrition community, as well as mitigation, so that there is no damage to the food. Probowo will add 2m ha of rice paddy fields. Increase oil production. Raise oil & gas production, reduce imports and develop diversified energy sources through increase in exploration, enhanced oil recovery and research. Sustainable development in environment. Address the environmental global climate change. Conserve the
ecosystem maintained order. Improve the quality of water, air and soil.

• Increase cattle population. Both parties agree that to control soaring cattle prices, especially during Lebaran; more cattle will need to be given to the villages. Both parties agree to eventually eliminate cattle imports and provide additional supply during the Lebaran season

Candidates Conceptual views, operational plans and beneficiaries - summary by UOBKH from Jakarta Globe and Kompas with views on stock market beneficiaries

source: UOBKH 8 July 2014 - please refer to source report for complete versions

7 July 2014 update:

News and view on the 5th and final Presidential Debate on Food Security, Energy, Environmental Issues. Also, interesting to note that Jakarta Globe wonders about a situation of "no clear winner" of the election, worries about TNI (armed forces) role and which are the key swing voting regions.....

Video of debate #5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58tPyr7NqNQ

Jul 5, 2014 Politics; As It Happened: Indonesian Candidates Square Off in Final Debate; http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2014/07/05/as-it-happens-indonesian-candidates-squre-off-in-final-presidential-debate/; “Mr. Subianto, a former army general, and Mr. Widodo, governor of the capital Jakarta, have agreed on many points in the past three debates – covering everything from the economy to foreign policy – so for many the debate was more about the differences in their style and tone…. The agriculture sector employs tens of millions and contributes nearly a quarter of Indonesia’s GDP, but a lack of advanced technology and a focus on cash crops such as palm oil means the country relies heavily on food imports….”
Final debate #5: “Prabowo at loss, Jokowi in command,” by Kurniawan Hari, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Sun, July 06 2014, 11:07 AM; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/06/prabowo-loss-jokowi-command.html: “Prabowo reiterated his ambitious plan to develop 2 million hectares of land to ensure a sustainable rice supply for the country…. Prabowo said the biggest farming problem Indonesia faced was that it was losing 60,000 hectares of farmland a year to real estate and factories. Citing data from the Agriculture Ministry, he said that for next year alone, the country needed at least 730,000 hectares of additional land to cover the loss.The retired three-star general then explained that his government would introduce new types of fertilizers to boost agriculture production. He believed that new fertilizer introduction alone would be able to increase rice production by 40 percent. “We are using outdated fertilizers,” said Prabowo. When asked about his plan to boost oil and gas production and explore renewable energy sources, both Prabowo and Hatta emphasized the importance of the upstream industry. Hatta said that Prabowo would honor the existing oil and gas contracts but would try to renegotiate the contracts….”

Indonesia’s Tight, Dirty Presidential Race May Be Decided in West Java By Randy Fabi & Kanupriya Kapoor on 08:47 am Jul 07, 2014; http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/indonesias-tight-dirty-presidential-race-may-decided-west-java/
Close Call: What if Indonesia’s Election Yields No Clear Winner?  By Wellian Wiranto on 08:18 am Jul 07, 2014; http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/close-call-indonesias-election-yields-clear-winner/

Editorial: The TNI Must Stay Out of Politics By Jakarta Globe on 11:59 pm Jul 06, 2014; Category Editorial, Opinion; http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/editorial-tni-must-stay-politics/
Editorial: Endorsing Jokowi; The Jakarta Post | Editorial | Fri, July 04 2014, 10:08 AM; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/04/editorial-endorsing-jokowi.html
Exit polls show Jokowi victory overseas; The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Election Watch | Sun, July 06 2014, 1:40 PM; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/06/exit-polls-show-jokowi-victory-overseas.html: “Exit polls at voting stations abroad are showing the Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Jusuf Kalla presidential ticket is ahead in the overseas vote… “I hope it is indicative of what the result will be in the domestic voting,” Jokowi was quoted as saying by Antara after the fifth and final presidential debate at Bidakara Hotel in Jakarta, early on Sunday… Jokowi-Kalla campaign spokesman Anies Baswedan said volunteers had conducted exit polling at each voting station all over the world…. “We got the result from our volunteers monitoring the election. I’m happy and Insya Allah [God willing] I will forward this message to all Indonesians, so that those who watched the balloting and vote-counting processes can carefully examine the results,” said Anies…. He expressed hope the result would be a bellwether for domestic voting on July 9….”
Another key regional issue is the annual mid-year dry season peat smog haze often thought to be linked to farmer land clearance, and some timber and palm oil plantations...  Satellite detects 18 hotspots in Sumatra; The Jakarta Post, Pekanbaru | Archipelago | Mon, July 07 2014, 6:37 AM; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/07/07/satellite-detects-18-hotspots-sumatra.html: “The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite operated by Singapore detected 18 hotspots across Sumatra Island on Saturday…. “So far, the number of hotspots is not worrying, however, we should remain watchful,” Saqlul Amri, head of the Riau disaster mitigation office (BPBD), said in a statement as quoted by Antara on Sunday…. Of the total 18 hotspots, four were found in Rokan Hilir regency, he said….”

4 July 2014 update:

Interview #2 Presidential race heats up, foreigners worry? In the last two weeks, I've been in touch with six (6) people who represent large business interests in Indonesia including in palm oil (domestic and international owners) and three (3) Malaysians who work and/or are invested in Indonesia palm oil.

  • View of Indonesia invested MNC interests
  • Indonesia domestic business interests
  • Malaysia observers
Click here: /khorreports-palmoil/2014/07/interview-2-presidential-race-heats-up.html

 What some have said about the four (4) Presidential Debates (fifth and final soon):
We focus a bit more on the short-medium term economic policy approaches relevant for resource-based investors. Readers can find more material in some of these links and sources. Palm oil sector investors will be likely also interested in the upcoming, final debate #5.
  • Debate #5: to cover topics including energy and agriculture.
  • Debate #4: UOBKayHian Regional Morning Notes, 1 July 2014, Politics: Debate Round #4 - Human Resource Development, Science & Technology, “A marked divergence in implementation policies and programmes by the vice presidential candidates. The average of seven national polls shows Jokowi’s lead reduced to 3%....”
  • Debate #3: Indonesian Presidential Candidates Hold Third Televised ... www.voanews.com/...indonesian-presidential-candidates...debate/194270... 
  • Debate #2: Presidential Election Indonesia 2014: 2nd Television Debate Jokowi-Prabowo; “Sunday evening (15/06), the second debate… The debate, the theme of which was ‘development of the economy and social welfare‘, was characterized by a nationalistic and protectionist tone… The reason why both candidates stress protectionism and are eager to evoke nationalistic sentiments is because this strategy is an important vote earner. The threat or idea of Indonesia’s economy being dominated by foreign, particularly western forces, finds easy breeding ground in a country that has a long colonial history. Subianto in particular tries his best to evoke these sentiments, not only by his words but also by the way he dresses… For example, when answering the question what can be done about the country’s wide trade deficit (and current account deficit), Subianto answered that it can be done by reducing the role of foreigners in the country’s oil & gas sector, thus leaving more resources for the benefit of Indonesia…. Jokowi felt the need to follow suit in order not to lose out on votes and also stressed, on several occasions, that foreign participation in the Indonesian economy should be curbed. For example, he stressed that with the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, inflows of foreign businesses - for example - the aviation industry, should be curtailed through protectionist measures… On other topics, Jokowi was more foreign investor-friendly. For example, regarding contract renegotiations with foreign companies in the country’s mining sector. Jokowi said that although some contracts are unfair from an Indonesian point of view, these contracts need to be respected as they had once been approved. However, when contracts have expired or in case of new contracts, the government should make sure that it contains fair conditions for Indonesia. ….” Source: www.indonesia-investments.comVideo link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=r2PJzR2Nc7I 2nd debate (Indonesian language)
  • Debate #1: Politics: Presidential Debate Round #1; UOBKH research said: “Our take on the first round of the Presidential Debate is that Jokowi-Kalla offer a track record in implementation while Prabowo-Hatta are idealists….”
Also in the news: Indonesian presidential election: Young voters talk politics, BBC News  - ‎Jun 29, 2014;  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-28083667
Energy and biofuels policies?
Palm oil watchers will be interested in the biodiesel policy outlook under the candidates. Keoni Indrabayu Marzuki wrote on 25 June 2014 on the topic “Indonesia’s Post-Election Energy Policy: Growing Economic Nationalism?” noting the following: “The energy visions offered by Prabowo-Hatta and Joko Widodo-Kalla have similar tones. Both candidates will pursue energy policies that are oriented towards energy sovereignty and self sufficiency. Rhetoric from both candidates strongly indicates that the overall economic policy, as well as energy policy, will lean towards economic nationalism. Moreover, both candidates explicitly state that they will revise the Oil and Gas regulation to be in accordance to Article 33 of the Indonesian Constitution to exert greater control over Indonesia’s energy sources….notable differences. For example, Joko Widodo – Kalla propose to formulate a strategic reserve to ensure long-term energy security, enhance domestic oil production and introduce new investment schemes to encourage investor participation. Prabowo-Hatta alternatively, propose special plantations dedicated to biofuel material production. Yet, biofuel and development of renewable energy have already been pursued by the current administration… It is unlikely that the SBY administration’s energy diversification and nuclear energy programmes are going to be discontinued by either pair of candidates as they are already underway…. Regardless of who wins the election, there is not likely to be any significant shift in energy policies from the current administration. Despite their nationalistic rhetoric, it remains unlikely that they can translate such a posture into policy. Rather, both candidates are likely to be more pragmatic given their business backgrounds which will tend to make them less ideological…. To avoid being exploited by foreign powers, the next administration would need to formulate win-win contracts keeping in mind Indonesia’s future needs.”

Khor Reports notes on key Indonesia-Malaysia plantation topics:
·        One of the key plantation business issues is the relative ease of labour access in Indonesia versus escalating problems facing Malaysia (there are rising reports of a slump in Indonesia migrant workers seeking work in Malaysia[3]). It seems that Malaysia palm oil will be missing more and more the reliable Indonesia-sourced workers for their estates, as opportunities in Indonesia prove more attractive than the risky move to join the migrant labour pool; widely said to be fraught with frequent harassment in Malaysia.
·        Competition via export duty tariffs and downstream capacity-build up in Indonesia.
·        Industry support via biodiesel mandates.
·        Mooted foreign ownership limits.
·        Cooperation over sustainability approaches.
[3]Reuters article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/27/us-palmoil-labour-idUSBREA3Q0P320140427, “Indonesian applicants for jobs in Malaysia's palm oil sector plunged to 38,000 in 2013 from more than 120,000 in each of the previous two years, according to data from the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur.” Khor Reports has previously noted that, East Kalimantan minimum wages (pushed up in part by transport costs and its oil & gas sector) exceed Sabah non-documented workers; Malaysia is trying to get Bangladesh workers for its plantations via a G2G arrangement.
 17 June 2014 - One survey shows  Prabowo-Hatta surpassing Jokowi-Kalla who have been on a narrowing trend. Indonesia surveys were off base when some earlier expected a solid Jokowi-PDIP win in the legislative elections. Sample size was not terribly big for this one and some say that Indonesia voters can change their minds with a large 40% proportion as undecided in other surveys.

I'm also hearing on Indonesia sources that many civil servants are not be terribly keen on Jokowi given his public "shaming" of Jakarta bureaucrats. Thus, they tend to be Prabowo supporters.

Prabowo-Hatta’s electability at 44.64%, says survey
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Election Watch | Mon, June 16 2014, 11:21 AMhttp://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/16/prabowo-hatta-s-electability-4464-says-survey.html
"The electability of the Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa pair has exceeded that of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo-Jusuf Kalla, a survey commissioned by the Strategic Development and Policy Research Center (Puskaptis) shows. The survey put the electability of the Prabowo-Hatta pair at 44.64 percent and their rival ticket at 42.79 percent. “Prabowo-Hatta has surpassed Jokowi-Kalla by around 1.67 percent. This data shows that Prabowo-Hatta pair is experiencing a positive trend, with electability up by around 5.36 percent. Meanwhile, support for the Jokowi-Kalla ticket has started to stagnate and entered a negative phase or down by around 1.75 percent,” said Puskaptis director Husin Yazid in Jakarta on Sunday, as quoted by Antara news agency. From the results of the survey, which was conducted from June 6 to June 12, Prabowo-Hatta is leading in Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, Java, and Sumatra while Jokowi-Kalla fare better in Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua-Maluku.... The survey involved 2,400 respondents in 115 regencies and municipalities across 33 provinces. The survey was conducted via a face-to-face interview with a sampling error of +/-1.8 percent and a trust level of 95 percent."

Prabowo-Hatta popularity climbing: Analysis; The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Election Watch | Thu, June 12 2014, 12:48 PM; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/12/prabowo-hatta-popularity-climbing-analysis.html

Presidential candidates share thoughts on people’s economy in second debate; The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Sun, June 15 2014, 11:45 PM; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/15/presidential-candidates-share-thoughts-people-s-economy-second-debate.html
Jokowi struggles to nix attacks questioning his Islamic faith; Sita W. Dewi and Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post, Tasikmalaya, West Java/semarang | Headlines | Fri, June 13 2014, 9:43 AM;http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/13/jokowi-struggles-nix-attacks-questioning-his-islamic-faith.html
 Interview #1: Presidential politics and Indonesian palm oil. We've been chatting with Malaysia and Singapore palm oil industry specialists and noticed significant interest in the upcoming Indonesia Presidential vote. Early in the week, we had the opportunity to talk to a Khor Reports reader who was interested to talk about it, and so we present to you this interview. Political changes can bring major shifts in resource development policies as well as a different approach to NGOs such as seen in Australia. On the buy side, in major consuming countries, we should note the rise of right wing nationalistic parties who gained more power especially in the European Parliament.

Interviewee #1: Indonesian voter, palm oil industry senor manager, who was part of the student demonstrations in the 1998 ousting of Suharto. A Jokowi supporter./khorreports-palmoil/2014/06/interview-1-presidential-politics-and.html

9 June's Update 2 is for Jokowi sugar milll update plan.
Khor Reports comment:

We've been keeping an eye on this and expected increasing economic nationalism once Jokowi failed to get a large majority in the earlier polls. A plantation expansion moratorium for large companies is in regulations with a 100,000 hectare cap to be implemented but still subject to negotiation on the finer details. One way to lift this ceiling is to be publicly listed in Indonesia - but there is uncertainty as to the public float expected. This situation has not been tested, but we suspect that a significant public float[1] may find favour with Indonesia's economic and financial sector development policies.

The Jokowi-Kalla team is ahead in the polls, albeit with a narrowing lead according to pollsters.  From our previous checks with our senior Jakarta contacts (in November 2013), we heard that Jokowi is a popular politician but that the strategic, tactical and administrative talent was not with him, but actually with his deputy. Knowledgeable Jakarta observers were thus questioning how he would function without his former able deputy. Thus, this may suggest that his new deputy - Jusuf Kalla - has an important role to play, assuming Jokowi's more political front-man role. Kalla hales from Southern Sulawesi in eastern Indonesia and his father, Hadji Kalla was part of the Garuda Movement in Sukarno’s time. Sukarno aimed to empower the indigenous business leaders, so a few were identified and Hadji Kalla and Ahmad Bakrie were among them. Hadji Kalla was from Sulawesi of Bugis ethnicity. Their business started there and is mostly still there today (interview of Jakarta banker in 2012). Kalla is from Golkar, which has proposed resource nationalism.

On the 100,000 hectare ceiling policy and earlier talk of advanced policy plans for a 30% foreign-equity cap (with sell down required)[2] please refer to our posting here: /khorreports-palmoil/2014/03/at-sidelines-of-poc-2014-1-on-new.html.

Jokowi on Plantations Moratorium: "Widodo plans an expansion moratorium on some plantations, especially owned by large companies, those with tax problems or mired in social conflict, and plantations that are ecologically unsustainable, according to his policy document"

[1] In separate news, Indonesian palm oil firm Sinar Mas Agro plans stake sale in 2015 Reuters-Jun 3, 2014: "The Indonesian stock exchange in January required companies to make shares amounting to at least 7.5 percent of their paid-up capital available to the public in a bid to increase market liquidity and trading volumes.... Sinar Mas Agro will comply with the regulation, Director Jimmy Pramono told reporters.... The company currently has a market value of 18.7 trillion rupiah ($1.6 billion). PT Purimas Sasmita, a unit of Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources Ltd, owns 97.2 percent and the remaining 2.8 percent is in public hands"; http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/03/sinar-mas-agro-indonesia-listing-idUSL3N0OK1PR20140603

[2] For those who remember Malaysia plantation history, you will recall its policy that required foreign plantation owners to sell down to a similar level, alongside its New Economic Policy.

News excerpts on sugar:

...Sugarcane Farmers Association (APTRI) chairman Soemitro Samadikoen told tempo.co last Wednesday that presidential candidate Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had promised in a meeting to overhaul state-owned sugar mills to boost national sugar productivity. “Jokowi said that if he is elected, he will prioritize sugar mill improvement. Up to five sugar mills will be improved each year,” he added....;
Modern sugar mill starts operation in Central Java; Suherdjoko, The Jakarta Post, Blora, Central Java | Business | Mon, June 09 2014, 10:29 AM; http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/06/09/modern-sugar-mill-starts-operation-central-java.html

News excerpts on palm oil:

Bloomberg, June 5, 2014 reports, "Widodo to keep Indonesia ore ban, limit expansion of plantations" the following: Indonesian presidential frontrunner Joko Widodo will keep an export ban on mineral ores that has rattled global metals markets, his running mate for the July election, Jusuf Kalla, said in Jakarta yesterday.... Widodo aims to boost exports of processed minerals and give incentives for local miners, and will also seek to limit the expansion of plantations to help achieve food self-sufficiency, according to a yet-to-be released 129-page policy document for his campaign obtained by Bloomberg News. “We must not export our earth for cheap and not get any results out of this,” Kalla told Bloomberg News, after meeting businessmen to present their policies for the July 9 election. “We must export goods with high value.” The policy plans signal the country’s next government is likely to build on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s efforts to turn Indonesia from a commodity-based economy into an exporter of manufactured goods. Indonesia, the world’s largest nickel ore producer, banned ore exports in January, causing a jump in the price of the metal while halting copper output at units of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and Newmont Mining Corp....  “Indonesia must do subsidy reform, which means the additional cost to finance infrastructure will be from cutting the fuel subsidy,” Ichsan said in an interview yesterday. Widodo’s policy document calls for a revision of the country’s oil and gas law to increase legal certainty for investors.... Plantations Moratorium - Widodo plans an expansion moratorium on some plantations, especially owned by large companies, those with tax problems or mired in social conflict, and plantations that are ecologically unsustainable, according to his policy document. The country is the world’s largest producer of palm oil, second-biggest rubber grower and third-biggest robusta coffee and cocoa producer.... Widodo wants to cut food imports and achieve rice and corn self-sufficiency by 2018, the document said. He also aims to reduce imports of soybeans, a staple protein source, to 25 percent of domestic demand from 65 percent currently......

More on the Jokowi-Kalla policies here: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/05/21/jokowi-kalla-hawkish-economic-policies.html.... "A document on the vision, mission and working programs of presidential hopeful Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his running mate, Jusuf Kalla, has revealed an aggressive approach to reforming the economy, education and security.... Jokowi-Kalla programs make up the so-called Nawacita — a Sanksrit term for nine programs — authored jointly by Jokowi, Kalla, chair of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Megawati Soekarnoputri, and a team of academics and professionals..."

Muhammad Jusuf Kalla ... was the 10th Vice President of Indonesia from 2004 to 2009 and Chairman of the Golkar Party during the same period. He was unsuccessful as Golkar's presidential candidate in the Indonesian presidential election, 2009....Before Kalla declared himself as the running mate for Joko Widodo in the upcoming Indonesian presidential election, 2014, a 2012 poll place his popularity among likely voters in the top three contenders for the presidency and ahead of his own party's nominee Aburizal Bakrie....In 2009 Kalla ran in the Indonesian presidential election with former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Wiranto as his running mate, finishing third with 12.4% of the vote.... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jusuf_Kalla

UOB Kayhian reports on 02 June 2014, "STRATEGY – INDONESIA, Politics: Watch Out For Undecided Voters" the following: According to the May 14 nationwide poll by Indikator Politik Indonesia, Jokowi is still leading the presidential election poll but his popularity is declining while  Prabowo’s is rising. The poll indicates there are undecided voters who can be the  swing factor in the 2014 Presidential Election. 85% of Indonesian voters do not  associate themselves with a certain party. Honesty, care for the people and  leadership skills are the top three traits desired by Indonesians. This poll was  conducted with 1,220 samples with a 2.9% margin of error at 95% confidence level.... If the presidential election were to be held today, 51% of the voters would choose Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla as the president and  vice president respectively, down from 58% in March....32.4% of the voters would choose Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa as the president and vice president respectively, up from 23.3% in March. Undecided voters could make this a tight race.... 16.6% of the voters have not decided.... Focus on 2015 fundamentals. We believe that it will be wiser for investors to focus on  the fundamentals of Indonesia in 2015 because Indonesian businesses will find a way to  adjust their business plans according to the new regulations regardless of the eventual winner. Aside from certain sectors such as construction that could benefit, it could be  business as usual for the other sectors... PDI-P has always been pro-labour while Gerindra is known for its people economic policy. All of these could potentially translate to higher benefits for working class and purchasing power for mass population....

Our posting on the parliamentary elections: /khorreports-palmoil/2014/04/indonesia-parliamentary-elections.html

Interview #2 Presidential race heats up, foreigners worry?

In the last two weeks, I've been in touch with six (6) people who represent large business interests in Indonesia including in palm oil (domestic and international owners) and three (3) Malaysians who work and/or are invested in Indonesia palm oil.
View of Indonesia invested MNC interests:
One observed that Indonesia ethnic Chinese businessmen were initially fearful of the Prabowo candidacy (relating to uncertainty over his exact role during the violation of social rights during the height of the Reformasi crisis). However, one close observer thought that they now seem to be quite accepting of him, especially with Santiago Uno playing a lead role in his economic team. Supporters say there is no firm evidence of his role during the troubles.

Some felt that Kalla seemed a tired face to put next to Jokowi; and other gripes about against Jokowi were that his role would be determined by Megawati with significant dissension reported in the family-controlled PDI-P. Moreoever, another source had recently visited at a more rural province – in talking to locals at warung, he heard that they liked Jokowi, but because the governor supports Prabowo, they thought they should vote with his recommendation. Hatta is from Palembang, and some hope that he will be good for plantations since as he would know about palm oil and rubber from his home town area; further he has been Coordinating Minister and is an in-law of SBY.

International investors are concerned with Prabowo’s rise in the polls and his economic policy ideas. He has a significant nationalistic, strong-man image and widely said to have a temper. Thus, they worry about downward pressure on the Indonesian currency and other Indonesia financial assets if he should come to win[1].
[1] What do foreign investors think? Nomura, 2 July 2014, “Asia Insights - Indonesia election: Pitting investor expectations vs views on the ground” reports: “Our global investor survey on Indonesia’s upcoming presidential elections show an overwhelming 90% of respondents expect a Jokowi win and by an average 8.5% margin of victory over Prabowo. This expected margin is high compared with the latest polls which are showing between 3-5%. However, these polls, in our view, are increasingly capturing the realities on the ground.  Indeed, our recent trip to Jakarta gave a clear impression that the presidential race will go to the wire, and that the election outcome remains uncertain. There is therefore a rising risk of market disappointment, in our view.” Also, view Economist article: http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21606330-indonesias-presidential-race-tightens-election-day-approaches-knifes-edge?fsrc=nlw|hig|3-07-2014|5356bdcd899249e1cca0fce6|

Indonesia domestic business interests
Domestic business interests sound hedged either way (as one would expect), well prepared to lobby for sectoral interests. Reaching out to specialists, we were also updated that a mooted foreign ownership limit is still in the drafting. Clearly it was not ready to be in place before the start of presidential campaigning. We also heard of hopes to launch palm oil sector programs prior to the election, but these may have run out of time. On the question of the rumoured export duty change - it really depends who you talk to i.e. whether they have interest downstream processing (ex-refinery) versus upstream. Some moot a convergence with the Malaysia export duty regime, which would tend to give palm oil farmers a better price. In this regard, the final presidential debate should be of interest as it will also cover energy and agriculture.

A recent interview source notes that SBY has declared his support for the Prabowo team. Presumably, SBY must have good reason (data support?) to do so. As mentioned earlier, Hatta is his in-law. Some senior Indonesians consider the first Presidential Debate a bit of tie while the others were won by Prabowo-Hatta. It is noted that the mainstream newspapers support Jokowi (but note from Interview #1 that most of the large TV stations support Prabowo). Prabowo has the money and the better organization in the electoral campaign. The marked preference that foreign investors have for Jokowi is also noticed by highly-placed Indonesians and there is suggestion of some bias in the way Prabowo’s policies are reported in the international media and by foreign bank analysts[1].

Malaysia observers
In the previous election presidential candidate debates, a Malaysia observer was much struck by the difference between Megawati and the outgoing President SBY. In a past debate, one source remembered that the former was more kneejerk hawkish on her preferred approach to resolve Malaysia-Indonesia dispute matter while SBY quoted the Pancasila and pointed to the need to first negotiate[2]. Clearly there is some discomfort with overly strong nationalistic approaches. However, some Malaysia investors seem relatively sanguine about business regulatory changes. They note that while the candidates may sound more nationalistic in campaigning and new regulations may seem tough, the implementation usually ends up more practical and business-friendly.
[2] Those interested in foreign policy can read this: RSIS Commentary 125/2014 Aspiring Regional Power: Indonesian Foreign Policy Under Next President by Yang Razali Kassim, published 3 July 2014; which finds both candidates willing to negotiate, but reckons that Jokowi is more dove-ish.

Do also view: Indonesia presidential race (update 4), /khorreports-palmoil/2014/06/indonesia-presendial-race.html and Interview #1: Presidential politics and Indonesian palm oil,