Indonesia safeguards forest, boosts livelihoods

Sep 21, 2011

New York – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark today praised Indonesia for putting into action environmentally sensitive forest management techniques to create economic opportunities and improve livelihoods.

Indonesia is implementing a programme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which offers financial incentives for developing countries to reduce deforestation-related emissions and invest in low-carbon and long-term forest management.

“Forests are a key sector as nations look to strengthen sustainable development on the Road to Rio+20 taking place in June next year,”  Helen Clark said during a high-level meeting with around 200 representatives from government and non-governmental organizations during the UN General Assembly’s 66th session.

With financial support from the Government of Norway, Indonesia’s enhanced programme, REDD+, goes beyond deforestation to include new approaches in conservation, long-term management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
“Indonesia’s REDD+ programme can help generate new investments in areas such as access to alternative energy, which can spark new economic opportunities and contribute to poverty alleviation,” Helen Clark added, after signing an agreement that boosts coordination to implement the Indonesia REDD+ programme.

While 60 percent of Indonesians depend on their environment for daily survival, the southeast Asian nation is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions globally and almost 80 percent of the country’s current emissions stem from deforestation and forest degradation.

Finding a means to curb deforestation, which causes 20 percent of global carbon emissions - more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector - is crucial to cutting greenhouse gas emissions which are major contributors to climate change.

In 2009 the Government of Indonesia committed to reducing carbon emissions over the years running up to 2020 by 26 percent on its own and by 41 percent if international assistance is provided. The Norwegian government agreed to support the initiative with US$1 billion over several years.

“Indonesia is committed to making REDD+ a success to serve the purpose of combatting climate change and redefine development in the interest of humankind,” said Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, head of Indonesia’s REDD+ Taskforce. “But we cannot do this alone.  With international support we can ensure that Indonesia exemplifies the model for sustainable economic growth.”

“The progress we have seen in Indonesia’s efforts to protect their rainforests has been impressive. During the year since we signed the agreement in May 2010, more has been achieved than in the previous decade. This is to the credit of brave Indonesian politicians”, said Erik Solheim, Norwegian Minister of Environment and International Development, who also emphasized that significant challenges remain.

As part of the programme, Indonesia will implement a two-year suspension on all new concessions for conversion of peat and natural forest.

Indonesia’s third largest tropical forest in the world—ranked first globally for the number of palm, mammal, swallowtail butterflies and parrot species—is home to indigenous and other resident communities who will take part both in the planning and implementation of Indonesia’s REDD+ strategy.

UNDP Around the world