CIFOR partners with USAID to shed light on ‘zero-deforestation’ commitments in Indonesia

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is partnering with the United States Agency for International Development, (USAID) in a new research collaboration that will identify the implications of corporate sustainability commitments for Indonesia’s forests and landscapes.

“CIFOR is thrilled to have the support of USAID to work on some of the most urgent questions affecting forest governance in Indonesia today”, said Steven Lawry, CIFOR’s Forests and Governance Research Director.

“This includes evaluating the ‘zero deforestation’ commitments by large palm oil companies, and understanding how they can ensure access by smallholder oil palm producers to de-forestation free supply chains. Research can also identify scope for harmonizing government land use policies and regulations with corporate goals”, he added.

In partnership with government, the private sector, and community organizations, CIFOR will generate empirical evidence that sheds light on how stronger forest governance through public, private and community initiatives can lead to reduced deforestation and greater solutions to environmental challenges.

The program will contribute to and be informed by CIFOR’s existing research on the political economy of fire and haze in Indonesia, which seeks to find long-term solutions to fire and haze by addressing the underlying socio-economic and political drivers of fire.

Andrew Sisson, USAID’s Mission Director said, “A key part of our development strategy is to promote research and to feed this into policy making. We believe this partnership with CIFOR will help generate the unbiased science that decision makers need to solve complex problems like haze from forest fires currently enveloping our region”.

“We are very excited to be working with CIFOR at such a critical time – and on issues that impact every Indonesian, and in terms of climate change, every person on this planet. And we are especially delighted to have worked with CIFOR to design a program that involves both research AND capacity building for the next generation of Indonesian leaders.” he added.

This new program will provide $5 million in funding over the next four years and will also send between 15 and 20 emerging leaders from Indonesia to complete a Master’s degree in forest management at U.S. universities. The first cohort will be recruited late in 2015 to commence study in 2016.