Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Government deforestation programs get shot in arm from overseas

Personal Comment:

Government deforestation programs get shot in arm from overseas

Source: The Jakarta Post - August 28, 2007

The Indonesian government's programs to tackle deforestation are getting a
much needed injection of funds, with several developed countries committing
to providing financial support.

Forestry Minister M.S Kaban, addressing a two-day conference on
deforestation in Central Jakarta on Monday, said the German government
would donate approximately 20 million euros (US$27.3 million) to help
Indonesia in its efforts to overcome deforestation. He said that the
country would need the funds to finance reforestation programs and
operations throughout the country.

The two-day conference aims at collecting information to be used as a
platform for further discussions to be held in Bali at the end of this
year. The Bali conference, to be attended by top government officials, will
be treated as a new benchmark on environmental issues, replacing the Kyoto

Dieter Brulez of the German Technical Cooperation, a subsidiary of the
German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, however,
said that the discussion between Indonesia and German was still ongoing. He
said further technical discussions between the two governments would be
held next month to determine the amount of assistance provided. The
collaboration of the two governments started with the ratification of the
Kyoto Protocol by Indonesia in 2004. The cooperation has provided technical
support throughout the country since then.

"We help the people to understand that they can use the forest but still
have to preserve it for the many generations to come," Brulez told The
Jakarta Post.

Indonesia has cooperated with many countries to overcome environmental
problems. Dozens of countries and groups have supported the government by
providing assistance.

Edith Stelzl of the Hans Seidel Foundation said the foundation has
established many courses that provide locals with skills to improve the

"We provide experts to teach as many locals as can be taught about how
important it is to guard their forest and environment by themselves," she

Country officer of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC),
Atsuko Nishikawa, said that she had attended the conference to collect
information that would be used by the JBIC to consider their further
support for the Indonesian government.

Indonesia's forests occupy 120 million hectares of land or around 65
percent of the country's land area. Unfortunately, deforestation has
significantly cut the country's forest area. Currently, the high rates of
emissions from landclearing, peatland blazes and growing industries have
made Indonesia the world's third largest greenhouse gas emitting country
after the United States and China.

Executive director of the Indonesian Forum on the Environment Chalid
Muhammad said he hoped the government would become more critical toward
developed countries, and added it also needed to raise its voice about gas
emissions produced by those countries, which contributed the greatest
amount worldwide.

Japan, Britain, Germany, the U.S. and Canada are five largest producers of
carbon dioxide emissions.

"We have to force those countries to lower their emissions as well as
increase our efforts to combat deforestation. Don't let them think that we
won't criticize them because they support us financially. Global warming
has become our common enemy," he said.

The World Health Organization estimates that climate change has directly or
indirectly killed more than one million people globally since 2000, with
more than half of those deaths occurring in the Asia-Pacific, the world's
most populous region. These figures do not include deaths linked to urban
air pollution, which kills around 800,000 people worldwide annually. (10)