UNESCO REJECTS CONSTRUCTION OF ROAD THROUGH LORENTZ PARK

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UNESCO
REJECTS CONSTRUCTION OF ROAD THROUGH LORENTZ PARK

JAKARTA, Indonesia (October 23, 1999 – Indonesian Observer/Kabar Irian)---The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has rejected a local and central government plan to construct a road from Timika to Mimika. UNESCO is concerned that the road, which would pass through Lorentz National Park, would damage rare, endangered species of fauna and flora.

The Head of the Natural Conservation Service of Irian Jaya, Ignatius Sutedja, pointed out in Jayapura yesterday, as reported by Antara, that the local administration had received strong complaints from UNESCO, which urged that the plan to construct a road passing through the park must be dropped.

Recently, the local government prepared maps where new roads are to be constructed.

The Ministry of Forestry and Plantation agreed that one of the proposed roads would pass through the national park

The UNESCO protest was also based on the fact that, following agreement at an international seminar in Paris last June, the park is slated to become an international park. The final decision about this will be made at an international seminar to be held in Marrakech, Morocco on November 29, 1999.

"Once the road passes through the park, all endangered fauna and flora will face extinction," said Sutedja, quoting the statement of a UNESCO official.

The park covers an area of two million hectares, including the ice cap at the top of Carztens Mountain.

"UNESCO is also concerned with the melting of the ice cap, caused by exploitation and gold mining done by PT Freeport Indonesia," said Sutedja.

"Should the (international park) plan be implemented, a feasibility study must be made by national and international NGOs, conservationists and UNESCO, so that any destructive conditions may be anticipated," he added.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") Website: http://www.irja.org/ 

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