Remarks by Ambassador Blake at the Launch of USAID Lestari Forestry Project, Papua
Ir. Basah Hernowo, Bappenas
Senior staff and leadership of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry
Papua provincial government officials
Good afternoon and thank you for this opportunity to join you today. It is my honor to participate in this launch of USAID’s flagship forestry project LESTARI in Papua. This forms part of a wider program with similar LESTARI projects in Kalimantan and North Sumatra for which the U.S. Government is devoting a total of $47 million.
I would like to thank our host, Governor Lukas Enembe. We greatly appreciate the partnership and leadership you have provided.
This morning, accompanied by local government officials, I was privileged to observe first-hand an example of Papua’s biological and cultural diversity when I traveled along the north coast of the Cyclops Nature Reserve and was welcomed by the traditional villagers of Ormu Necheibe, commonly known as Ormu Kecil.
To demonstrate the importance they place on water resources, the local community of Ormu Necheibe protects the upstream forests of Cyclops.
This community-based conservation ethic was reinforced when the government provided a micro-hydro renewable energy plant. The cycle continues as that plant depends upon sufficient year-round water supplies, which again depends on the protection of upstream forests.
I am convinced that the conservation of forests such as those found in the Cyclops Nature Reserve is the way forward — not just because it protects biodiversity but because nature is also good for people and supports their livelihoods.
The people of Ormu Kecil are planting sago, bamboo, and fruit trees that provide them livelihoods while conserving Papua’s forests.
From small villages like Ormu Necheibe to the City of Jayapura itself, a third of a million people depend upon the trees within Cyclops as the main source of their water supplies.
I applaud the Governor for recognizing that a collaborative conservation approach to Cyclops, which includes those very people who depend on the forest for their water and livelihoods, is a priority.
I am pleased to witness his commitment, and the commitment of all the various stakeholders involved from the police, to traditional communities, to the various district and provincial government entities that participated in the Cyclops Nature Reserve community co-management agreement signing ceremony today.
With today’s launch of the LESTARI project, I am pleased to begin another five years of partnership with the Papuan Provincial and District Governments.
The United States, through USAID, supports conservation and management of 13 million hectares in Indonesia, specifically in Papua, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, North Sumatra and Aceh.
Let’s build off these successes and continue to protect Indonesia’s forests and mangroves. It is my hope that these investments in Papua’s environment will ultimately result in better development in Papua and an improvement in people’s lives, just as we saw today in Ormu Necheibe.
Thank you again for coming this morning, sharing in this celebration and your continued commitment to work with us.