Indonesian government looks to Laudato si' for guidance

The head of an Indonesian district government said he will use the papal encyclical Laudato si' as a reference point in developing an environmental policy for the region.

Apr 25, 2016

JAKARTA: The head of an Indonesian district government said he will use the papal encyclical Laudato si' as a reference point in developing an environmental policy for the region.

"Laudato si' is very important because it is in accordance with the local government's vision of fair development. Fairness doesn't merely refer to the policy of development itself but also to the respect toward the environment," Kamelus Deno, district head, said April 22 in Ruteng on the predominantly Catholic province of East Nusa Tenggara.

Deno said the district is in the process of developing a five-year environmental plan and is using Laudato si' for guidance.

During the program organized to mark Earth Day, Franciscan Father Peter C. Aman, director of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and professor of moral theology at the Driyarkara School of Philosophy, presented a copy of the papal encyclical to district officials.

According to Father Aman, the papal encyclical should serve as a moral exhortation as it doesn't explain the practical steps that should be taken to protect the environment.

"The pope isn't someone who makes policies. That is in the hand of the local government. But we see that the local government opens their arms when we deliver the idea," he told ucanews.com.

He said the district government should develop policies that will protect the environment.

"A renewal of the way of thinking is needed so that (the local government) doesn't think only about the present but also the future. This is the point stressed by Pope Francis," he said.

Melky Nahar, campaign manager for the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, said the local government has issued a number of mining permits that takes up land normally reserved for farming.

"There are 14 mining permits on 19,000 hectares of land (in the district). … Some mining permits seize the forests. This is what the local government must review," he told ucanews.com.

The local government, he said, should also make a long-term policy.

"Besides stopping to issue mining permits, the local government should preserve the springs," he said.--ucannews.com

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