U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake and Indonesia Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan launched the first round of forest conservation grants under the $28.5 million Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) Kalimantan. The awards to nine organizations, which will initially work in Kapuas Hulu District (West Kalimantan) and Berau, Mahakam Ulu and Kutai Barat Districts (East Kalimantan), support projects that will protect forest biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by working with district governments to strengthen policies for conservation in and around protected areas. The grantees will help people in forest communities to earn incomes in ways that do not destroy the forest. The initiatives will also promote low-emission community land use.
The United States and Indonesia earlier signed the TFCA Kalimantan debt-for-nature swap agreement to reduce Indonesia’s debt payments to the U.S. government by nearly $28.5 million. In return, the Government of Indonesia committed these funds to support grants to local non-governmental organizations and universities to protect and sustainably conserve tropical forests in Kalimantan. This agreement, in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature-Indonesia (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is the second TFCA debt-for-nature swap in Indonesia.
“The United States is proud to partner with Indonesia on the TFCA Kalimantan program and promote forest conservation,” said Ambassador Blake. “The United States has a long history of conservation efforts in Indonesia and around the world and we are committed to working with Indonesia to protect its natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.”
“I hope the TFCA Kalimantan program not only provides short-term benefits for forest communities, but also helps people to use forest resources in a sustainable way and in synergy with conservation efforts in Indonesia,” said Minister Hasan.
The United States has committed approximately $500 million to countering climate change in Indonesia. Reducing deforestation helps conserve Indonesia’s incredible biodiversity, combats climate change, and supports millions of people who depend on forests for a source of income. Climate change is already affecting crops including, rice, cacao, and coffee. Temperatures are rising, resulting in more forest fires and more extreme weather. The challenge is to respond to rapidly growing demand for commodities and promote sustainable economic growth that benefits people, while preventing further deforestation and degradation of Indonesia’s tropical forests.
Grant proposals are reviewed and chosen by the TFCA Kalimantan Oversight Committee, composed of representatives from the United States Government, Indonesian Government, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Wide Fund for Nature Indonesia. All grants are administered by the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (Yayasan KEHATI).