Riki Frindos, the New Executive Director of KEHATI
13 April 2018
13 April 2018
Riki Frindos has been officially appointed as the new Executive Director of Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati Indonesia (KEHATI) for period of 2018-2022. The energetic, 45 year-old who has held an extensive career in finance and investment, succeeds M.S. Sembiring, who has successfully headed KEHATI for eight years – made it into leading Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) in Indonesia, managing grant funds of more than 175 million USD cumulatively.
The Chairman of KEHATI Governing Board, Ismid Hadad, highlighted that the accomplishment of M.S. Sembiring’s period as Executive Director, also marks the 25th years of KEHATI’s journey in carrying out its mandate as grant making institution for biodiversity conservation in Indonesia. Through this succession, it is expected KEHATI’s achievements will be continuing for years to come, especially in the midst of increasingly complex challenges in Indonesia biodiversity conservation.
“With the new young executive director, we hope he can be a fresh face for subsequent works in KEHATI,” said Ismid after the handover event for KEHATI executive leader in KEHATI Foundation’s office in Jakarta, Thursday (5/4).
According to Ismid, going forward, there are three major challenges in biodiversity conservation work in Indonesia. First, an increasingly heavier pressure on Indonesia’s biodiversity due to increasing exploitation, deforestation, and climate change-related activities, particularly in the field of forestry and environment. Second, the need for food security and sovereignty in this country is getting more crucial as population increases and natural supporting capacity decreases, affecting food production. Third, the political year looming on the horizon may dictate policy directions. Thus, there is a need to be extra vigilant on short term political interests to win the upcoming local/general election.
“Often, natural conservation and preservation becomes an object that is always sacrificed, even bargained with, for the sake of instant benefits for the political contestants,” continued Ismid.
In this complex situation, the new leader of KEHATI cannot afford to only work based on business as usual but has to be able to advocate policies, and not only awaits for governmental actions.
“Together with our network at the local level, we need to be more active in mobilizing the community and also private sector to actively protect the forest and endangered natural resources, as well as make creative efforts to use various biodiversity in an innovative and sustainable manner,” Ismid said.
Indonesia’s biodiversity condition is still in a concerning state. Tropical rainforest, for example, continues to diminish every year. According to data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, from 2010 to 2015, forest loss in Indonesia has reached an alerting 684.000 hectares each year. This number ranks Indonesia as the country with the highest forest loss in the world after Brazil. Meanwhile, the awareness on biodiversity conservation remains relatively low, and implementation of existing policies and regulations still leaves much to be desired.
At the same event, M.S. Sembiring stated that he was much honored to carry-out the mandate for the past eight years. Smooth transition of leadership in this organization indicates a well-planned and healthy regeneration process. This would become KEHATI’s strengths in becoming a world class CTF organization. He also noted several challenges that needs to be addressed; to strengthen existing achievements – therefore KEHATI can expand its role in conserving biodiversity in Indonesia through community empowerment, which has been embedded in its identity right from the very beginning.
Furthermore, as Indonesia’s leading conservation organization in pioneering the implementation of Sustainable Financing in line with one of the principles in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), KEHATI must maintain and strengthen its cooperation with all stakeholders, especially to the private-sector. “Nothing should be left behind in promoting conservation. That is the duty of all of us, including the business world,” stated by M.S. Sembiring – the prominent figure of Indonesia Capital and Financial Market also a former Indonesian Stock Exchange Director.
Three crucial steps
KEHATI’s Executive Board Dr. Endang Sukara reveals that there are at least three steps that must consistently be taken in saving biodiversity in Indonesia going forward: protecting and conserving biodiversity, sustainably utilizing biodiversity, and distributing its benefits in a fair and equal way for the sake of people’s welfare.
“These three must be implemented in an integrated fashion. In addition, to strengthen the sustainable use of biodiversity, in the future KEHATI must also invigorate research. Even though our country has the richest biodiversity in the world, we are behind in this compared to other countries,” said the former Deputy Head of Indonesian Science Institution (LIPI).
Riki, who has 20 years of career in the financial sector under his belt, expresses that as a new leader, he will learn and strive to develop things that are currently running well in KEHATI towards wider and more in-depth achievements. He believes that his extensive experience in the finance and investment sector will strengthen the efforts to develop this organization. This is because environmental issues cannot be separated from managing funds and investment, especially in the natural resource sector as one of the keys to support the progress of Indonesia’s economic development in the future.
KEHATI, said Riki, is different from other environmental NGOs. In its journey, this foundation collaborates with finance and business sector in order to attain the principles of environmental friendliness, conservation, and sustainability. Through the Sustainable and Responsible Investment Index (SRI), for instance, KEHATI bridges or creates a mutualistic symbiosis between the conservation world and business sector.
“The investment sector should not only work to gain personal or corporate profit, but also envisions to improve the welfare of many people and towards a sustainable biodiversity,” he said.
He also believes that his wide network and relations in the finance and investment sector will be beneficial when leading KEHATI, especially for two needs. First is to increase the awareness of business people and investors in adopting environmentally friendly principles. Second is to strengthen funding source in order to continue the course of its journey in achieving its vision and mission, while maintaining an independent principle.
Dukung program kerja KEHATI dalam rangka konservasi keanekaragaman hayati indonesia