Australia helps REDD projects in Jambi

Australia helps REDD projects in Jambi

6 January 2010

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Indonesia — Indonesia and Australia are set to launch the first-ever forest carbon project in Jambi following the adoption of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) scheme at the recent UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.

The A$30 million project, to be launched this month, will be held in production, protected, conservation and communal forests in the province.

“This will be the first REDD application in communal forests,” Wandojo Siswanto, head of the Forestry Ministry’s climate change working group told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

He said the Jambi projects would help form policies on the sharing of financial benefits between the central government, local administration and the local communities in the province.

“The projects will also be used to calculate the total carbon volume that can be stored in production, protected, conservation and communal forests if the REDD deal is made,” he said.

Under the partnership, Australia will provide A$30 million in grants to the Jambi provincial administration to develop the projects.

The Jambi project is the first project after developed nations and forest nations adopted REDD during the Copenhagen Summit, and Australia’s second project in Indonesia.

The first project was implemented in peat swamp forests in Central Kalimantan with a A$40 million grant.

The German government, NGOs such as the Nature Conservancy (TNC) and International Timber Trade Organization (ITTO) are currently developing REDD projects in Kalimantan, mostly in peat swamp forests.

The Copenhagen accord has recognized the role forests play in reducing emissions through the REDD-plus scheme where rich nations agree to mobilize financial resources to support forest nations.

REDD previously covered projects that endeavored to cut emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It has since been enlarged to REDD-plus, allowing companies or forest owners to keep their forests intact in return for financial incentives.

Planting new trees is also rewarded with financial incentives under the carbon trading scheme. The accord stipulates developed countries would provide US$30 billion from 2010 to 2012.

However, the Copenhagen accord failed to set legally binding targets on emission reductions for rich nations, leading critics to say REDD schemes were rendered ineffective.

Indonesia, the world’s third-largest forested country with 120 million hectares of forests, has high hopes of cashing in on REDD.

Indonesia was the first country to issue a regulation on REDD, allowing indigenous people, local authorities, private organizations and businesspeople, both local and foreign, to run REDD projects.

Under the regulation, permits for REDD projects would only be granted to people who were certified to control forests.

Environmentalist have called on the government to move quicker to resolve long-standing forest issues including forest governance, land ownership, accurate emission data, forest fires and illegal logging.

They also called on the government to allow indigenous people to take an active part in forest projects.

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) criticized Australia’s role in the REDD projects, saying it was participating only to offset emission cuts at home.

Australia is listed as an Annex I country, which is obliged to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol signed by Canberra in 1998 and ratified in 2007.

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