Minister laments twisting of her positive response to DiCaprio concerns

JAKARTA (foresthints.news) - Indonesia's Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Dr Siti Nurbaya, has sought to defend the tone of her response to the concerns of actor Leonardo DiCaprio, claiming that she meant to come across as positive and not defensive, let alone offensive.

“Quite frankly, I was a little bit surprised to see the reaction to my comments about DiCaprio's concerns being portrayed as both defensive and offensive by one of the international news agencies. That’s not an accurate representation at all of what I said,” the minister told foresthints.news on Wednesday (Apr 6).

The minister took the opportunity to express her disappointment in the reporting of her comments on the sidelines of a meeting with palm oil stakeholders to discuss sustainability policies, held in Jakarta.

The minister reiterated that the actor’s good intentions, as reflected in the concerns he expressed while in Indonesia, deserved to be welcomed in good faith. This included making an offer to cooperate in a joint effort through which on the ground solutions could be sought for the threats facing the Leuser Ecosystem.

As proof of the seriousness with which she is treating the matter, the minister explained that her ministry had already prepared a technical analysis on palm oil plantations and their relationship with the Leuser Ecosystem, which will be taken to UN headquarters in New York on 20 April.

“It is in the interests of the Indonesian government to explain to our colleagues at UN headquarters the complexities of the Leuser Ecosystem and how it is linked to the palm oil sector and community livelihood issues. As for DiCaprio, or his foundation, I will also gladly provide them with the same technical analysis on Leuser,” she said.

The minister further lamented the fact that the words of those acting in good faith could be somewhat twisted. In her view, this could hamper constructive developments and put paid to a potential partnership that would be of great benefit to the Leuser Ecosystem.

“As part of the government, we need to try and find a relevant solution to each and every problem we encounter on the ground, while taking into account the numerous concerns of various stakeholders, in particular communities.”

“Ultimately, responsibility lies with us,” the minister continued. “For this reason, I am open to working together with DiCaprio to help find on the ground solutions - solutions that are impartial and adoptable, of course.”

The minister went on to explain that, when it comes to the Leuser Ecosystem today, various issues need to be studied in a comprehensive manner, including looking at how the situation there has developed over time.

“It is essential that we have some form of dialogue, including with DiCaprio or his foundation. Only through dialogue can we attain the best solutions. I am hugely motivated about this, so the tone and spirit of my response to DiCaprio’s concerns are nothing but positive,” the minister enthused.

Before concluding the interview with foresthints.news, the minister reaffirmed her view that, “good intentions must be met with good intentions, so all I ask is for my words, which were expressed in good faith, not to be twisted.”