The Nature Conservancy (TNC) carries out conservation projects in Berau, East Kalimantan. It provides a management for sustainable forests required for Indonesia’s economic growth and contributing in global efforts to turn back climate change. It is hoped the Berau Forest Carbon Program will hopefully demonstrate a proper low carbon development scheme. The Jakarta Post recently spoke with Glenn T. Prickett, the TNC’s newly appointed chief external affairs officer, about the project. Below are the excerpts.
Question: What activities are carried out under the Berau Forest Carbon Program?
Answer: We are supporting national, provincial and district governments to show how Berau can be managed not only for economic development but also to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation. The program provides important lessons to support development of a Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program across Indonesia.
Could you describe specific targets to be achieved under the Berau Forest Carbon Program?
We will reduce emissions by 10 million tons of carbon dioxide over five years. This is a 10 percent reduction from business as usual. In the process, the program will be supporting communities to increase income and improve livelihoods for at least 5,000 people. We work in an area of 2.2 million hectares.
Within that area, we bring at least 800,000 hectares of land, or about 50 percent of forest areas in Berau, under effective management for conservation. We also work with forestry concessionaires on 650,000 hectares of areas to meet government certification for sustainable forest management.
Why do you think Indonesia can be a proper model for green growth?
I think the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) is a great example of this. It’s an initiative of six countries — Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. This was really led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who encouraged his counterparts in the region through the vision that coastal marine resources should be managed in a sustainable way for the benefit of coastal communities.
In hosting the Bali Conference, the Indonesian government was able to get the issue of REDD-plus very firmly on the international agenda.
Why do you think REDD-plus is still a good deal for the earth in terms of tackling climate change?
I think that what we saw in Cancun was that REDD-plus was a popular concept and it’s still a big chance two or three years ahead. If you go back before the Bali Conference, it wasn’t.
The Bali Conference really put REDD-plus on the road map. It continues to be popular for a couple of reasons: It’s a very effective way to reduce emission and an inexpensive way to reduce emissions compared to other alternatives, and it can benefit not only Indonesia but also other countries as well. So it’s a good deal both for the world in terms of tackling climate change and for forest communities. (ebf)