Our focus now is prevention
– RGE Director Anderson Tanoto On July 28, 2015, APRIL Group launched the Fire Free Village Programme in Pangkalan Kerinci to create fire-free villages through the collaboration with villages, community stakeholders, non-governmental organisations and enforcement agencies. (see News Release and APRIL Dialog for more information)
Fire Free Village Programme
Village chiefs and NGOs signing and pledging their commitment to the fire prevention collaboration initiative. (Source: APRIL’s Twitter Page)
Tapping on the strengths of collaboration, the multi-stakeholder partnership for fire prevention is a first in the region by a forestry company. The Programme is another addition to APRIL’s robust and world-class fire suppression and management capabilities and initiatives. It focuses on stopping fires before they start. The Fire Free Village Programme a comprehensive five-pronged approach:
- Community incentives to not burn
- Community fire crew leaders
- Sustainable agricultural alternatives
- Air quality monitoring
- Community awareness campaign
A strong partnership
“Prevention is key” – Acting Riau Governor A Rachman.
Nine fire-prone villages are involved in the Programme. Apart from raising awareness, APRIL Group will provide them with fire management good practices, training and equipment for land clearing. This builds on the pilot programme in 2014 that involved four villages, in which one was kept fire-free and the total number of fires in the villages was halved. (More on The Jakarta Globe). APRIL Group has invested USD 6 million on firefighting equipment and spends USD 3-4 million annually on fire suppression. This Fire Free Village Programme strategically complements existing efforts by building ground-up awareness and capabilities in fire prevention. Supporters of the Programme include Masyarakat Peduli Api (MPA), the local government, police, military and the Provincial Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD).
Guest-of-Honour General Moeldoko (centre) arriving at Pangkalan Kerinci. (Source: GoRiau)
The Programme launch was attended by guests-of-honour former Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) Chief Commander General Moeldoko and Acting Governor of Riau Arsyadjuliandi Rachman. They were joined by Pelalawan Regent HM Harris, Chairman of Parliament Pelalawan Nasarudin, members of the Regional Leadership Communication Forum (Forkopimda), members of Military Command Post Danrem 031 and local NGOs Rumah Pohon and Blue Green. NGOs Rumah Pohon and Blue Green will assist the Programme partners in identifying and supporting alternatives to fire as a land management tool, supporting community fire crews and raising awareness of the environmental and economic impact of fire and haze.
Leading the way in community-focused multi-stakeholder fire prevention
RAPP Director Rudi Fajar shares with (from right) General Moeldoko, Anderson Tanoto and RAPP Strategic Fire Manager Craig Tribolet. (Source: Berita Satu)
Many parties have expressed optimism at APRIL’s Fire Free Village Programme, which addresses the root causes of uncontrolled fire. Acting Riau Governor A. Rachman said in his speech that the was a “stellar initiative” by APRIL that other companies should follow. Noting that the focus on fire prevention important, he commended APRIL for initiating the Programme. General (Ret.) Moeldoko called the Programme a new “out of the box” breakthrough as it targets the heart of the issue in fire prevention – a “remarkable achievement”. APRIL Group’s Indonesian subsidiary Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) director Rudi Fajar reiterated his company’s commitment towards a comprehensive approach to fire prevention and management:
Fire prevention is a collaborative effort between government, private sector and community. We will work with the community to provide solutions to sustainable farming without using fire.
RGE Director Anderson Tanoto shared in interviews with media and on his Twitter that the focus was now on prevention, and that investments will put into community-based efforts to prevent fire.
Mr Tanoto cited the operating costs of operating a helicopter for six hours of fire-fighting at $15,000, money that could be “better spent on the community to prevent fires”. These views were echoed by General (Ret.) Moeldoko, who added that the provision of equipment and assistance for land preparation as a means to fire prevention would be a better alternative to continual spending on fire suppression.
Different stakeholders committed to working together in the Fire Free Village Programme. (Source: Okezone)
This latest announcement showcases how APRIL Group has taken its business principle of “doing good for the community, good for the country before achieving what is good for the company” to another level with the involvement and participation of the community, local government, military and NGOs in a concerted effort towards a common goal that is beneficial not only to all parties in the Fire Free Village Programme, but also the neighbouring countries. The Programme is also in line with APRIL Group’s sustainability policy.
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