Summit of the Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force

Blank Template - Remarks by Ambassador Blake

Remarks by Ambassador Blake at Summit of the Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force

Governor Cornelis, distinguished guests,

I appreciate the opportunity to join your discussion of the work plan of the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force and share how we can help achieve your ambitious targets to reduce deforestation.

I have just come from spending the last two days in West Kalimantan to see the important efforts underway there by companies such as PT Kandelia Alam and PT PAS to manage sustainably Kalimantan’s unique mangrove and other tropical forests and I want to thank Governor Cornelis for his commitment to protect Kalimantan’s forests.

I am particularly pleased to see this initiative led by provincial Governors.  As we have long recognized, all levels of government must address in a coordinated fashion the challenge of climate change.

Our experience in the United States shows that many of the most innovative actions to combat climate change come from the state and local levels.

For example, through implementing state-level policies to reduce emissions in the electricity sector, states have been able to reduce air pollution to improve air quality and health; increase electric system efficiency and diversity to improve reliability and prevent blackouts; and save taxpayers and consumers money.

In Indonesia, the greenhouse gas emissions challenge is greatest in the land use and forestry sector, so it is very impressive to see the serious efforts that have gone into this work plan to address climate change by reducing deforestation.

And reducing deforestation not only mitigates climate change, but it honors and preserves Indonesia’s unique heritage of spectacular forests and unparalleled biodiversity.

I’m proud of the commitment the United States Government has made to support Indonesian efforts to conserve forests and biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase Indonesia’s climate change resilience.  Let me share a few examples from your provinces.

The LESTARI project is USAID’s five year $47 million flagship forestry project, conserving 8 million hectares of biodiversity and carbon rich forests – including areas in Central Kalimantan and Papua.

Under LESTARI, USAID is continuing efforts to influence spatial planning and improve land use management – with additional emphasis on provincial level spatial plans. As a result of the 2015 fires, LESTARI is working with multi-stakeholders to implement integrated fire management (IFM) and co-management of conservation areas.

The work of LESTARI is closely aligned with the work of the Governors’ Task Force in Papua and Central Kalimantan.  For example, our assistance has helped fund the preparation of “concept designs” for forest conservation plans that could access financing from REDD projects. And virtually all of the work LESTARI does with local level land use planning and capacity building would support work done by the Governors’ Task Force.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact’s Green Prosperity program is conducting participatory mapping for villages and spatial planning activities in East and West Kalimantan to enhance the transparency of licensing, land and natural resource use.  The project is also funding off-grid micro hydro infrastructure in Landak District, West Kalimantan, and solar PV installations in Berau District, in East Kalimantan.

I again congratulate those who have worked to develop the work plan for the Governors’ Climate and Forest Task Force, wish you great success as you implement these plans, and assure you of our support for your efforts to preserve Indonesia’s forests and combat climate change.