UK welcomes Indonesia’s lead in protecting forests
- Published on Monday, 26 September 2011 16:44
- Posted by Scott Buckler
Work to tackle illegal logging has taken a step forward with the news that Indonesia has become the fifth country to sign a voluntary partnership agreement with the EU to protect its forests which will lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
Indonesia is leading the way in Asia and has one of the biggest areas of forest in the world. Six countries have now signed agreements with the EU, and another four are in negotiation.
Speaking at the ‘Forests Indonesia’ conference in Jakarta, Environment Minister Jim Paice said:
“If we’re going to stop the decline in biodiversity, we need to protect the forests which house the majority of the world’s species. And we can’t address climate change properly unless we deal with deforestation. I’m delighted that Indonesia has signed up to this agreement and I hope other countries in Asia will follow their lead.”
Indonesia is losing its forests faster than any other country in the world; from 2000-2009, it lost forest equivalent to 300 football pitches an hour and there is now four times as much land given over to palm oil production as there is for orangutan habitat. Orangutans are projected to be extinct within 10-20 years if forest protection is not urgently prioritised.
The Asian elephant, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros and proboscis monkey have also been gravely affected by the expansion of plantations. These species are all on the endangered list.
The UK Government is helpingdeveloping countries to prevent the loss of forests as part of wider efforts to help them both adapt to the impacts of climate change whilst continuing their economic development.
The UK will provide £2.9 billion of international climate finance, a significant proportion of which will be for forests in support of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). The UK is currently developing a forests and climate programme that will give support to developing countries on REDD+ and which will provide specific benefits for biodiversity as well as tackling greenhouse gas emissions and reducing global poverty.