Press release: Breakthrough for Indonesia's rainforests

After 9 years of support from Norway, deforestation in Indonesia has now begun to decline, and for the first time Indonesia can receive payments from Norway for reduced emissions from deforestation.

Photo: Rainforest Foundation Norway

Oslo, Norway. 18 February 2019 - for immediate release

“This is fantastic news for the climate, for the world's animal and plant species and for the millions of people who depend on these forests", says the director of the NGO Rainforest Foundation Norway, Mr. Øyvind Eggen.

The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative collaborates with several rainforest countries in order to halt deforestation. The cooperation between the countries is divided into phases, where phase one and two are all about getting the rainforest countries ready to stop deforestation through changes in national legislation and frameworks.

Phase three starts when the rainforest countries manage to reduce deforestation, and that is when Norway starts paying out the big money based on reduced climate emissions. Indonesia has spent many years in the two initial phases.

Now the emissions are going down and pending independent verification Indonesia will qualify for phase three. This can provide significant further support provided Indonesia continues to reduce deforestation.

“We had not come this far today if it hadn’t been for the Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative. This collaboration has put rainforest conservation high on the political agenda in Indonesia, led to better forest management and strengthened the rights of those who protect the forests and whose livelihoods depend on them”, says director Eggen of the NGO Rainforest Foundation Norway.

“If this positive development in Indonesia continues in the next phase, this joint effort can yield a massive climate dividend.”

Indonesia holds the world's third largest rainforest, critical for the survival of much of the Earth's species and for 60 million people. In addition, this rainforest is pivotal for the world to reach its climate goals.

“Saving this rainforest is a matter of life and death, and is important to us all, says Eggen. In order to succeed in saving the imperiled remaining rainforest in Indonesia, it is important that the moratorium on logging and on new plantations in rainforest and on peat bogs be made permanent. It is also important that the moratorium be expanded to include more types of valuable rainforest than today.

In addition, all licenses granted in the rainforest and on peat bogs before the moratorium was introduced should be reviewed and canceled wherever they are in violation of the laws and risk destroying valuable forests. A separate law should be created to safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples who are the ones protecting the rainforest of Indonesia. This work must be done with transparency and involve those who are affected”, says Eggen.

Rainforest Foundation Norway has since 1997 been working to save the rainforests in Indonesia, and works closely with 15 environmental, local and indigenous organizations in the country.

Teguh Surya, executive director of the Indonesian environmental NGO Yayasan Madani Berkelanjutan is happy about the breakthrough in the binational collaboration to protect Indonesia’s rainforests.

“To make this breakthrough a success, our politicians must show the political will to follow up on national policies to ensure that they are integrated at the regional political level, as well as ensure transparency in the processes that affect deforestation", Teguh Surya says.




The Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment Mr. Ola Elvestuen and Indonesia's Minister of Environment and Forestry Ms. Siti Nurbaya Bakar announced in Jakarta on Saturday that the forest cooperation between Norway and Indonesia is transitioning to phase 3. It means that pending independent verification of the numbers Norway can start paying for actual emissions cuts. Norway will initially pay for 4.8 million tons of readuced CO2 in Indonesia due to reduced deforestation.

Norway and Indonesia have collaborated to reduce deforestation since 2010.