Landmark forest protection deal at risk from industry

Press release - 24 November, 2010
A landmark US$1 billion deal between Indonesia and Norway – intended to halt deforestation and reduce carbon emissions – is in danger of being squandered.

Oil Palm Plantation in Borneo © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

Expansion plans show how palm oil, paper and pulp sectors intend to utilise the Indonesian government's ambiguous definitions of forests and degraded land to hijack the funds to subsidise further forest destruction.

Just a few days before the next round of international climate negotiations begins in Mexico, a new Greenpeace report (1) released today titled "PROTECTION MONEY", shows how the 'showcase' deal - due to be announced in Cancun - could be undermined.

Current expansion plans, pushed by industry with support within some Government ministries, seek to treble pulp & paper production by 2025 and double palm oil production by 2020. This expansion, coupled with weak definitions for degraded land in Indonesia could see REDD funds, which are designed to support protection of Indonesia's forests and peatlands, actually being used to support their destruction.

The area earmarked for expansion by these sectors includes 40% of Indonesia's remaining natural forest, up to 80% of Indonesia's remaining peatland, and nearly 50% of remaining forested orang-utan habitat in Kalimantan.

Australia's $273 million International Forest Carbon Initiative could also be compromised unless the Australian Government makes it clear to Indonesia that funding will not continue while expansion of industrial scale plantations destroys Indonesian rainforest.

"Australia must also play its part to ensure funding is not misused in Indonesia. Australia's forest carbon initiative must focus on institutional reform and begin challenging vested interests over ongoing deforestation," said Greenpeace Forests Campaigner, Paul Winn.

"The deal between Indonesia and Norway could set a fantastic example of how developed countries like Australia can work with the developing world to protect natural forests, and tackle climate change.

"However, these plans are being systematically undermined by the influence of the palm oil and pulp and paper industry, which is intent on a business-as-usual expansion model that will destroy much of the country's remaining rainforests and peatlands."

Government figures highlighted in the Greenpeace report show that, with an increased focus on productivity, the targeted increase in production for these industries could be achieved without further deforestation.

"It is clear that the palm and paper sectors can achieve expansion targets without damaging another hectare of forest. This would be a win for the industry and Indonesian economy, a win for forest communities and threatened species, and a model of the real-world solutions we need to tackle climate change," concluded Winn.

Notes:

(1) Greenpeace Report: "PROTECTION MONEY": http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/Protection-Money/

Contact:

Jessa Latona, Greenpeace Communications: 0488 208 465

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