Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Indonesia needs $4b to avert deforestation

Personal note: When you have read this please also read my letter below this article, which was printed in the Jakarta Post.

Indonesia needs $4b to avert deforestation

Adianto P. Simamora , The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Wed,
06/03/2009 9:31 AM | National

The government is upbeat that Indonesian deforestation could be
averted if international communities grant US$4 billion until 2012 to
finance the livelihood of local people and stop forest conversions.

The Forestry Ministry said the money would be used to address the main
causes of deforestation prior to the implementation of the reducing
emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) mechanism.

“We need an investment of $4 billion to address the causes of
deforestation. The fund should be from world communities as
deforestation has become a global problem, especially concerning
climate change,” Nur Masripatin, secretary for the ministry’s forestry
research and development agency told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

“Tackling deforestation is not merely about law enforcement, money
talks here, including on how to finance the livelihood of local
communities around the forests or how to deal with the expansion of

She said the government only had a limited budget to handle
deforestation. She did not elaborate the exact amount.

“Deforestation in developing counties will continue to increase if
there is no policy intervention that enables the countries to reduce
emissions from forests without sacrificing their national

The world countries have long eyed Indonesia’s forests as one of the
lungs to “clean” the atmosphere from rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Many have criticized the Indonesian government for its failure to
combat high rates of deforestation, which have risen to over one
million hectares per year.

Indonesia has about 120 million hectares of rainforest – the
third-largest on the planet after Brazil and Congo.

Deforestation contributes about 20 percent to global greenhouse gas
emissions, with about 75 percent from developing countries.

Seeing the impact of the deforestation, the world countries have
adopted the use of the REDD mechanism to help protect the forests by
providing financial incentives to forest nations.

The government hoped the upcoming REDD mechanism would also cut the
country’s illegal logging.

Forestry Minister Malam Samat Kaban said illegal logging cases, which
also caused deforestation, had declined sharply over the last four
years with only hundreds of cases currently compared to about 9,600 in
Soeharto’s era.

Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia Elfian Effendi said the
illegal logging practices remained rampant in the country due to the
government’s poor monitoring.

“Yes, there is a decline in term of illegal logging cases but such
practices remain rampant in places,” he said.

“The fact is that illegal logging and illegal trade along the borders
of Kalimantan-Malaysia, Riau-Malaysia-Singapore and in Papua remains

He said illegal logging could also be seen from the expansion of oil
palm estates in protected areas and conservation forests in the

Even worse, he said the local administrations still awarded licenses
for forest conversion, including for plantations.