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27 Apr 07
Indonesia's Aceh, Papua Pledge to Protect Forests
NUSA DUA, Indonesia - Governors from three Indonesian provinces which are home to most of the country's rainforests pledged on Thursday to conserve them as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The governors of Aceh, Papua and West Papua provinces appealed for the government and the international community to provide financial incentives through carbon trading schemes.
"We are determined to implement environmentally friendly policies, sustainable development and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions," the governors said in a statement after the World Bank sponsored meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
They said the policies would also help reduce poverty, create jobs and attract investment.
Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf said his administration would enforce a moratorium on logging pending a review of forest sustainability. Papua governor Barnabas Saebu said he would revoke licences of timber companies unless they were proven to have contributed to the preservation of the regions' forests. Thousands more forest rangers would be recruited as part of the effort, the statement said.
Environmentalists say illegal logging in Indonesia strips 2.1 million ha (5.2 million acres) of forest every year in a trade worth US$4 billion. Indonesia wants rich countries to pay developing nations to preserve their forests and plans to push this proposal at a UN conference on climate change in December.
The talks are expected to launch formal negotiations about extending the Kyoto Protocol after its first period ends in 2012. The pact is the main UN plan for curbing global warming and the annual gathering will attract government officials and non-governmental organisations from around the globe.
Joe Leitmann, the World Bank's environment coordinator for Indonesia, said the bank had earmarked US$200 million for pilot projects aimed at preserving forests. Conservation efforts would cost between US$10-15 billion annually, he said.
About 10 percent of the world's remaining tropical forest is found in Indonesia, which has a total forest area of more than 90 million ha (225 million acres), according to Rainforestweb.org, a portal on rainforests (www.rainforestweb.org).
It said Indonesia has already lost an estimated 72 percent of its original forest and half of what remains is threatened.
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