Norway Won’t Fund RI Tree Planting Program: Govt

Norway Won’t Fund RI Tree Planting Program: Govt

31 May 2010

Source: The Jakarta Post

By Adianto P. Simamora

Indonesia — The billion dollar deal signed by Indonesia and Norway will only be used
for preserving forests and peatlands and will not finance tree-planting in
deforested areas, says a presidential aide. Agus Purnomo, President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono’s special assistant on climate change, said Saturday that
initially the agreement was to have covered REDD Plus programs, but Norway
apparently agreed only to fund REDD (reducing emission from deforestation
and forest degradation) programs. REDD Plus programs include tree planting
initiatives intended to increase absorption of carbon and slow global
warming, according to the United Nations. REDD Plus programs also include
initiatives that are focused on degradation, conservation, reducing
emissions from deforestation and sustainable forest management.

“The agreement is for REDD Plus programs, but there is no money for carbon
*absorption* enhancement through tree planting,” Agus told The Jakarta Post
on Saturday. Indonesia considers tree planting a potential way to shift the
country from a polluter to a net absorber of carbon by 2015. Wandojo
Siswanto, the head of working group on the climate unit at forestry
ministry, said tree planting was the most popular climate change initiative
program in Indonesia.

“We will renegotiate the agreement with Norway. Indonesia needs money for
tree planting,” he said. The ministry’s carbon-mitigation scenario says its
target to re-green 2.2 million hectares of forest each year could be
increased if richer nations provided additional funds. Many were
pessimistic that the target could be reached since it is not clear who
would take care the trees after planting. The government said it had
planted almost one million trees in the last three years but did not say if
the trees grew as expected. The forestry ministry said that it plans to
plant about 1 billion additional trees. Wandojo said that this year’s tree
planting target could be verified under international standards.
Negotiators from the two countries will meet again next week to discuss the
agreement’s details.

Yudhoyono said that Indonesia would impose a two-year moratorium on new
permits for oil palm plantations, which experts say is a major cause of
Indonesian deforestation. Indonesia is the world’s third-largest forested
nation and has 120 million hectares of rainforest. Deforestation rates in
the country are the world’s highest due to illegal palm oil plantations,
mining and forest fires. Indonesia was named the world’s third largest
carbon polluter between 1997 and 2000 – ranked just behind the US and China
– when 3.51 million hectares per year had been destroyed. Deforestation
subsequently decreased to 1.08 million hectares per year. Wandojo said that
illegal palm oil plantations would increase deforestation in Indonesia to
1.17 hectares per year in 2010, equal to 2004 and 2006 levels. The
government had yet to determine a baseline level for calculating needed
deforestation-related emission reductions, he said

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