Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Jambi, Aussie investor sign carbon trade agreement

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jambi, Aussie investor sign carbon trade agreement

Jon Afrizal , The Jakarta Post , Jambi Tue, 11/18/2008 9:52 AM The Archipelago

In a bid to further preserve their area’s forests and increase regional revenue, Jambi’s provincial and municipal administrations signed a carbon trade agreement with an Australian investor last week.

Jambi Governor Zulkifli Nurdin and Mayor Bambang Priyanto signed the contract on Nov. 12 with Australian consultant Peter N. Kene of International Business Network and investor Charles Jackson of Carbon Strategic Global.

Zulkifli said the contract would last indefinitely as long as it was mutually beneficial, in line with prevailing regulations and forests were well preserved.

“So by preserving forests we are making money. We will use the money to improve the prosperity of communities living around the forests,” Zulkifli said.

The contract covers the carbon value of some 200,000 hectares of forests across the province with a price set at US$10 per ton per year during the first phase, Zulkifli said.

“The price will be reviewed periodically according to market developments,” he said.

At the current price, Jambi expects to gain credit for some 100,000 tons of carbon per year, meaning it will earn US$1 million from the forest’s preservation, Zulkifli said.

“Imagine if the price rises to US$20 or even US$30 per ton per year.”
Zulkifli was confident the contract would guarantee the protection of the forests because the local community would benefit directly from it.

He gave his word that the money would be spent to benefit the communities living around the forests, adding that they would no longer need to cut down trees to make a living but preserve them instead.
“As long as the forests are preserved, carbon is produced. And as long as the carbon is produced, money is also earned,” he said.

Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) executive director Arif Munandar said the contract was a step in the right direction.
On the one hand, he said, forests and whole ecosystems will be well preserved. On the other hand the local administrations will earn rewards from their preservation efforts.

Arif reminded the local administrations to keep their word regarding the use of money earned from the carbon trading, and to make certain it was for communities living around the forests and not other purposes.
“It is they who contribute the most to the preservation of the forests ... So, don’t ever forget them,” Arif said.

He further reminded the local administrations that they needed to work out what they would do with the money, especially to improve the livelihoods of communities.

Among other means, he suggested, was the establishment an economic institution to help communities become economically independent.
Arif said local administrations needed to change people’s perspective of forests, so that they see forests as not just a timber resource but having myriad other advantages also.

“This way we will be able to maintain the beauty of the forests while the community also benefit economically,” he said.