Indonesia and Australia expand forest carbon partnership in Sumatra

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Indonesia and Australia expand forest carbon partnership in Sumatra

March 01, 2010 - 19:16
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CANBERRA, Australia, March 2, 2010 (Press Release) -The Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water of Australia, Senator Penny Wong, and the Minister of Forestry of Indonesia, HE Mr Zulkifli Hasan, today announced the establishment of the A$30 million Indonesia-Australia Sumatra Forest Carbon Partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

The Sumatra Forest Carbon Partnership is a significant expansion of existing joint action by Australia and Indonesia on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), within the framework of the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership agreed by Prime Minister Rudd and President Yudhoyono in June 2008.

This new joint practical REDD activity in Sumatra will address immediate threats to forest on mineral soils in the Sumatran province of Jambi, complementing our first large-scale joint activity in the carbon-rich peat swamp forests of Central Kalimantan.

The new activity will also reflect recent developments in international negotiations, building on the good progress made on REDD in Copenhagen where there was agreement by countries on the need to immediately establish a mechanism for REDD-plus. REDD-plus builds on the existing elements of REDD and encompasses conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Australia and Indonesia are committed to ensuring this progress is translated into concrete and practical action to advance the implementation of REDD-plus.

The province of Jambi covers an area of 5.3 million hectares on the island of Sumatra, and is home to unique forests and biodiversity. In 2005 it was estimated that around one third (1.7 million hectares) of Jambi province was forested, but the landscape is continuing to transform due to land use change, releasing greenhouse gas emissions.

As a practical REDD-plus activity, the Sumatra Forest Carbon Partnership will focus on addressing the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation. Indonesia and Australia are currently working closely together to determine a precise location and design for the REDD-plus activity within Jambi province. The activity will be designed to fit with national and international frameworks for REDD-plus as they continue to develop.

The two Ministers emphasised the importance of partnerships between developed and developing countries, supported by appropriate levels of international public financing and national resources, in addressing the immense challenge of climate change.

Minister Hasan warmly welcomed the announcement at Copenhagen by Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States to dedicate US$3.5 billion to "fast-start" financing for REDD-plus, which includes a contribution from Australia of US$120 million.

In addition to joint work in Central Kalimantan and now Sumatra, Indonesia and Australia are working closely together on the development of policy frameworks and measurements systems for REDD-plus, including the development of Indonesia's national carbon accounting system. This co-operation is helping to lay the groundwork for the implementation of a global REDD mechanism.

Australia's funding for the Sumatra Forest Carbon Partnership comes from the International Forest Carbon Initiative. Total commitments announced under the Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership now stand at $70 million.

Practical bilateral partnerships such as these provide the building blocks for a workable and effective global REDD-plus mechanism.