Book review: Indonesia Etc. by Elizabeth Pisani

A recent book review of Indonesia Etc. for the Devpolicy Blog.

Elizabeth Pisani, a former newswire journalist who was based in Jakarta during the Suharto era before making a career change into epidemiology, has previously brought us The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS. Her latest offering, Indonesia Etc.: Exploring the Improbable Nation, takes a ‘random sample’ epidemiological approach to Indonesia’s 17,000ish islands to try to figure out just what holds the country together, against all odds.

Read the full review.

CIFOR annual report 2012: The changing face of forestry

From September 2012-March 2013 I compiled, set the direction for and wrote the majority of the text for the 2012 CIFOR Annual Report, titled ‘The Changing Face of Forestry”.

Download PDF here.

View HTML version here.

Examples of my stories in the Annual Report:

Scoping out solutions for Zambia’s charcoal trade

Increasing women’s participation in community forest management in Nicaragua

Emerging trade, emerging trends: Examining China’s engagement with Africa

New research agenda for West Africa’s forests

Action on agriculture needed at upcoming UN climate talks — Reuters AlertNet

Support for a work program on agriculture is urgently needed at Doha to incorporate the growing sector into international efforts to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change as well as address looming food security issues, said experts.

“Agriculture is still considered a sideshow in the climate arena and a decision has been lacking over several years of U.N. climate negotiations. Agriculture will be massively impacted by climate change, both the increase in extreme conditions and the rising temperatures. We need global action to ensure food security under climate change,” said Bruce Campbell, head of the CGIAR Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) research program.

Read full post on CIFOR Forests News or Reuters AlertNet.

(Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT)

Legal frameworks for REDD+: a Q&A with MP Barry Gardiner

British parliamentarian Barry Gardiner, a passionate advocate on environmental policy, talks to Forests News about REDD+ during the 18th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP18) in Doha, Qatar.

One of the key concerns about the U.N.-backed scheme is whether developing countries will be able to implement the legal and policy frameworks needed to make it a success. Legislators in developing and developed countries all have a significant role to play in creating these frameworks and need to use their oversight roles to ensure enough resources are directed towards the scheme, says Gardiner.

Read full post at CIFOR Forests News or Reuters Alertnet.

Feature — Touring the Sidoarjo Mudflow

Indonesian politicians have suggested the Lapindo mudflow disaster site near Sidoarjo, East Java, could be turned into an ecological tourism attraction.  However, those that have already been taking disaster tourists around the area for more than four years disagree.

Written in May 2010, published online March 2011.

Read the story here

Photography — Sidoarjo Mudflow Disaster

The Sidoarjo mudflow disaster has affected numerous villages in the Porong subdistrict of East Java, leaving many homeless.  The mud volcano, which continues to expel mud at a rate of 30,000-100,000 cubic metres a day, is believed to have been triggered in 2006 by poor practices used by the oil company PT Lapindo Brantas when drilling in the area.  Many of the victims are still waiting for compensation, some four years later, and scientists have no idea when the mudflow will stop.

I visited the Sidoarjo site in May 2010 and spoke with the people there about suggestions from Indonesian cabinet ministers and the president that the site be promoted as a ‘natural tourist attraction.’

These are some of the photographs I took of the dusty and hot disaster site and the villages on its periphery.  More than 13,000 families have been displaced from their villages since the mud volcano first began.

View slideshow here (opens in new window)

Yogyakarta Travel Guide — Travelfish

I compiled the original travel guide for Yogyakarta in Central Java for Southeast Asia’s most respected independent travel site, Travelfish, during mid-2010.  Work included researching history and general information, writing detailed guides to attractions, hotel and guesthouse reviews and photography.

View the guide here

Aceh’s Tsunami Museum a Hollow Attempt — Jakarta Globe

Aceh’s Tsunami Museum is full of possibility. Unfortunately, that’s about all it is full of at the moment. The walls designed for exhibitions remain bare and white. The top floor, which includes a rooftop garden that has been designed to be used as an escape point should another tsunami ever strike, remains closed to visitors.

Published in the Jakarta Globe newspaper on May 29, 2010.

Read the full story online