Thursday, September 22, 2011


     Jakarta, Sept 22, 2011 (ANTARA) - Central Kalimantan Province which still has a vast area of virgin forests has been selected to host a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus) pilot project , a program designed to preserve forest ecosystems and tackling climate change.
       The initial pilot project was launched by Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan and Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Gregory Laurence Moriarty in Kapuas District, Central Kalimantan Province, last September 15, 2011.

      The pilot project sites cover Katunjung village, Mantangai Hulu, Kalumpang, Sei Ahas and Tumbang Muroi in Mantangai sub district, and Petak Puti village in Timpah sub district, Sapto Subagio, a spokesman of the Kapuas District administration said in Palangkaraya on September 16, 2011.
       Some 1.2 billion tree seedlings had been planted by at least 1,684 residents of the seven villages this year with funding from the Kalimantan Forest Climate Partnership (KFCP) program, Kapuas District Head M Mawardi said.
      "Local residents have received incentives totaling Rp635 million in June 2011, and Rp785 million in August 2011. A total of Rp6 billion has been allocated for the payment of the incentives to the local people until March 2012," he said.
      The indicators of the project`s success must be seen from both the successes in reducing greenhouse gas emission rate and in empowering the local people`s economy, he said.
      REDD is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
      And "REDD+" goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
      It is predicted that financial flows for greenhouse gas emission reductions from REDD+ could reach up to US$30 billion a year. To achieve these multiple benefits, REDD+ will require the full engagement and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities.

Australia has committed $47 million over four years to the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP). Under the KFCP, Australia and Indonesia are working together to develop and implement a large-scale project in Central Kalimantan aimed at reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, including from the degradation of peatlands.

"I saw first-hand the good progress to re-forest degraded peat lands in Central Kalimantan under a scheme funded by Australia. I was very pleased that Minister Zulkifli Hasan was so supportive of the work in the Kapuas district", said Ambassador Greg Moriarty in a press statement recently after visiting the REDD+ villages.

"Together, we saw seedlings of native species being grown for re-planting and traveled in local canoes to look at the peat which, when deforested, is a major contributor of Indonesia?s carbon emissions."

According to the Australian embassy, this year the KFCP program will support the local community to grow and plant 1.2 million seedlings. So far Rp1.4 billion has been provided to villages for the establishment of these nurseries.

Moriarty said he hoped that by getting the local community involved in stopping further degradation of the peat, his government could both improve the livelihoods of the local community and also contribute to the global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

"I look forward to continuing the strong cooperation with the Ministry of Forestry, the Provincial and District Government and of course the strong involvement of the local community in tackling this global challenge," the ambassador further said.

The involvement of local villagers is a fundamental factor in the implementation of REDD+ projects, according to Dr Terry Sunderland, a senior scientist of Bogor (West Java)-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

"The involvement of local community or people living surrounding the forest area will boost the effectiveness in achieving the target," Terry said in a press statement recently.

Excluding local community in REDD+ projects could cause dear social and economic consequences, he said.

The Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi)`s Central Kalimantan chapter, however, has warned that implementation of REDD+ schemes in Central Kalimantan Province was prone to conflict.

"This is so because many things in the program are not monitored and registered as the project`s executors are not transparent," Ari Rompas, the director of Walhi`s Central Kalimantan chapter, said in Palangkaraya, on September 18, 2011.

There had been social conflicts regarding natural resources and land ownerships involving local people, oil palm plantation companies and forest concession holders in the province, he said.

"Due to plantations and mining activities, there have been many social conflicts, which have even tended to become human rights violations," he said.

Deforestation activities and the existence of oil palm plantations, mining companies and forest concession holders in the province would threaten the implementation of the REDD+ pilot project and President Yudhoyono`s pledge to cut the greenhouse gas emission by 26 percent by 2020, he said.

Another challenge facing the pilot project is the fact that most of local people living surrounding forest area are not aware about the REDD+ activities, while they are supposed to be one of the main actors in the pilot project implementation.

Central Kalimantan has forest and peat land areas functioning as carbon sinks, and is therefore suitable for REDD pilot projects and carbon trade deals.

"One of the projects implemented in Central Kalimantan is the Kalimantan Forest Climate Partnership (KFCP), a joint project between the governments of Indonesia and Australia," he said.

The Indonesia-Australia Forest Climate Partnership (IAFCP) on REDD is implemented at 14 villages covering a total area of 120,000 hectares in Mantangai and Timpah sub districts, to support the realization of UNFCCC (the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change), he said.

Central Kalimantan hosted the fifth annual meeting of the Governors` Climate and Forest Task Force (GCF) in Palangkaraya, from September 20 to 22, 2011, to discuss sub-national and provincial efforts to tackle deforestation and develop REDD+ schemes.

"We are hoping to learn a tremendous amount about the progress being made at the federal and state levels and how sub-national governments are leading the way and building comprehensive approaches to REDD", said William Boyd, GCF Secretariat at the GCF meeting opening press conference.

The three-day meeting was participated in by over 200 representatives and experts from the GCF member states to share knowledge and discuss the challenges of designing and implementing Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation schemes (REDD).

"The GCF 2011 meeting is an important signal to Palangkaraya, Indonesia and the world that progress in REDD+ is moving fastest at the provincial and state level", Central Kalimantan Governor Teras Narang said in his opening address.

Central Kalimantan plays a central key in Indonesian REDD+ policy and is currently the "Pilot Province" for REDD+ readiness activities.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will officially launch more REDD+ pilot projects in Central Kalimantan in late 2011. ***4***

(T.F001/A/F001/F001) 22-09-2011 15:24:57

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