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President calls on businesses to unite to protect Indonesia’s forests

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on leading industries to support international and national efforts to reduce deforestation through the sustainable management of its forest.

“We must change the way we treat our forests so that they are conserved as we drive hard to accelerate our economic growth. I call upon our business leaders, particularly those in the palm oil, pulp wood and mining sectors, to partner with us by enhancing the environmental sustainability of their operations,” said the President.

At the Forests Indonesia conference held by the Center For International Forestry Research (CIFOR) today, the President laid out his vision for the sustainable management of Indonesia’s’ resources which would meet the rising demand for food, fibre and fuel, whilst guaranteeing the long term protection of its forest.

In his speech, which addressed 1,000 representatives from leading business groups, NGOs, development agencies and government ministries, he discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by the country in the sustainable use of its forests.

“As a developing nation, we regard as fundamental the challenge of promoting real growth and poverty eradication.”

“I am especially pleased to see many business leaders here today because they bring decades of experience to the table and help to shape the future of our nation’s forests”.

A sustainable development strategy, he said, would not be possible without “bold initiatives” from leading business and forestry experts, especially in the development of low carbon energy such as micro-hydroelectric power, geothermal, and bio-energy.

He also called for support for existing policies, including the intensification of agricultural production through the use of degraded and disused lands, as well as for international initiatives such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation schemes (REDD+).

“We need to go into partnership with all stakeholders to sustainably manage our forest resources…I encourage all of you to forge greater cooperation with international partners”.

Indonesia is home to the third largest tract of rainforest in the world, yet it is one of the world’s largest green house gas emitters. Forest-clearing for paper, pulp and palm oil industries, as well as illegal timber extraction, accounts for nearly 90% of the deforestation in the country.

In 2010, the president issued a two-year moratorium on the issuance of new forest concessions and has been a global leader in the development of REDD+ schemes.

Yesterday the announcement of a National Action Plan to reduce green house gases cemented the government’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions by 26% by 2020.

However, with economic growth expected to increase by 7% annually and plans to expand to the pulp and paper industries to meet the rising demand from foreign markets, environmentalists and climate experts fear there is little incentive for businesses to invest in sustainable alternatives.

The President declared that despite the progress, he would continue to address issues such as land tenure, illegal logging and the clearing of peat land, which threatened to undermine a sustainable forests strategy.

“On my part, I will continue my work and dedicate the last three years of my term as President, to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia”.

Source : http://blog.cifor.org

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