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  • Indonesian lawmakers aim to pass a long-awaited revision of the country’s Criminal Code this month, but already the draft has been widely criticized for rolling back personal freedoms and human rights.
  • Activists say it also threatens to gut existing legislation on environmental protection, effectively going easy on polluters and other environmental violators.
  • Problems identified include raising the bar for proving an environmental offense; more lenient sentencing prescriptions; and failing to hold the responsible parties accountable for environmental crimes.

JAKARTA — A highly contentious set of revisions to Indonesia’s Criminal Code threatens to undermine the fight against environmental offenders and polluters, activists warn.

Deliberations on the new draft are in the final stage in parliament, in what proponents are calling a much-needed overhaul and reform of a penal code inherited from Dutch colonial rule more than 70 years ago.

Already the bill has drawn intense criticism for new provisions that, if passed as expected in April, would criminalize consensual non-marital sex, outlaw the promotion of contraceptives, and make it illegal to insult the president or religious leaders, among other points.

But overshadowed by the furor over the looming rollback of personal freedoms and human rights are provisions that appear to weaken existing enforcement articles under the 2009 Environmental Protection Law.

“When we studied the draft, we found out that it’ll heavily affect existing environmental law enforcement and there are going to be many things that can’t be enforced,” said Reynaldo Sembiring, a researcher with the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).

“While the current law still has some weaknesses, those weaknesses will be amplified further in the new Criminal Code.”

These include making it more difficult to prove an environmental crime has taken place, watering down sentences for environmental violations, and a persistent failure to apportion accountability for these crimes.

Read more: Activists fear for environmental protection under Indonesia’s revised Criminal Code

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ECO-BUILDERS — The Circle Hostel’s PR/Events Coordinator Jermaine Choa-Peck (left) and a volunteer from Angat Buhay build a planter box made of eco-bricks for an elementary school in Taysan, Batangas. Eco-bricks are plastic bottles stuffed with non-biodegradable wastes.

Recycling plastic — bottles, in particular — will never be enough to solve the country’s garbage and pollution problem.

Read more: ‘Upcycling’ could be the best way to beat the plastic menace

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  • Climate change could cost South Asia 50% of its GDP by 2050.  In order to drive action at scale climate adaptation needs to be mainstreamed into all areas of decision making.
  • The Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme has developed a new ‘governance framework’ for integrating climate adaptation into government systems, policies and plan has been successfully tested in South Asia.
  • Most traditional approaches to mainstreaming climate change emphasize technical issues and often overlook the politics. This framework puts institutions and politics it at the center.

Read more: New framework has successes integrating climate change into governance systems in South Asia

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MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) aims to plant bamboo on more than 15,000 hectares of land this year under the National Greening Program.

Read more: DENR: 15,000 hectares to be planted with bamboo

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Conflict and climate change have pushed 124 million people in 51 countries into acute food security, a situation when the inability to consume adequate food represents an immediate danger to people’s lives and livelihoods. In 2017, the number of people affected by acute food insecurity increased by 11 million.

Read more: Report: More People at Risk of Hunger Because of Conflict and Climate Change

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BN-XJ209 CHOCOL P 20180207105719

It was predictable that one day Adisa Azapagic, who studies the carbon footprint of various foods, would get around to chocolate. Little was known about the environmental impact of producing that guilt-and swoon-inducing pleasure, and for many, ignorance was bliss. “My husband wasn’t amused when I suggested he consider switching to dark chocolate,” which has a smaller carbon footprint than milk chocolate, she said. “He said it was a divorcing issue.”

Read more: Keep your love of chocolate from destroying the planet with this one easy fix

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Seagrass meadows in the vast Indonesian archipelago. Credit: Dr. Richard Unsworth

Research led by Swansea University's Bioscience department has found that the world center of biodiversity is under widespread threat of losing a key marine resource.

Read more: Center of world's marine biodiversity is in danger

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The conservation of the forest is also one of the main reasons for the establishment of the sanctuary.(Image Credit: MonkeyChild)

A new wildlife sanctuary in Oddar Meanchey, a Northwestern province of Cambodia is going to be established as The Royal Government of Cambodia has recently issued the statement.

Read more: Cambodia to establish a new wildlife sanctuary

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The breakthrough, spurred by the discovery of plastic-eating bugs at a Japanese dump, could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis.

Scientists explain how plastic-eating enzyme can help fight pollution – video

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.

Read more: Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles

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A leading DFID-funded programme called Action on Climate Today (ACT), has released a new paper ‘Mainstreaming, accessing and institutionalizing finance for climate change adaptation’. 

Insufficient funding remains one of the biggest barriers to adaptation action, and ACT’s framework helps governments to identify, track and measure climate adaptation finance through their budgets. This is the first of a series of reports based on ACT’s work in South Asia.

New framework ensures effective government financing for climate adaptation

  • The cost of climate change adaptation in South Asia could be as much as US$500 billion per year by 20501. Insufficient funding remains one of the biggest barriers to climate adaptation action. However, few countries have successfully accounted for public spending on climate adaptation.
  • A new framework that makes sure government spending on adaptation is effective, has been successfully tested in South Asia.
  • The new framework - Financing Framework for Resilient Growth (FFRG) – can help countries integrate climate change adaptation into their plans, policies, and budgets at the national and subnational level.
  • This framework helps governments identify climate spending for adaptation issues, track it through departmental budgets, understand the scale of need for new funding, and plan for and access new sources of climate finance.
  • The Action on Climate Today (ACT) programme has applied the FFRG in four South Asian countries: Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Read more: New framework helps governments meet climate spending goals

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