I’m happy to be here tonight with Gov. Zaini and representatives of civil society to discuss the future of Leuser.
We have had the privilege of hosting many discussions at @america about Indonesia’s biodiversity, wildlife trafficking and climate change.
Tonight’s program with Governor Zaini and other experts will touch on all of these important topics and more.
But the key is sustainable development and specifically how government, the private sector, donors and civil society can work together to find ways to ensure that economic development proceeds in a sustainable manner that protects Indonesia’s unique biodiversity.
Indonesia protects Sumatra’s tropical forests as a UNESCO world heritage site.
We hope that the international community can help identify solutions that enhance the livelihoods of the four million Sumatran people who live in and around Leuser while also protecting the unique biodiversity and heritage of that region.
The United States has actively supported conservation in southern Aceh through USAID projects in Leuser and through capacity building for district level spatial planning.
We are also making significant investments in rural economic development in Sumatra and elsewhere – natural resource management, agricultural expansion, and renewable energy.
These programs reflect our understanding that conservation and sustainable development cannot succeed without benefitting the greatest stewards of the forests: the communities that live in or on the edges of those forests.
We hope tonight’s program will help generate ideas about how we can further these twin goals of protecting the forests and their biodiversity, while increasing economic benefits for the communities living on their edges.
We look forward to continuing our relationships and engagement.