Bruno Vander Velde
Media Liaison & Outreach Manager
Center for International Forestry Research
Cell: +62 811 8006 150
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has recognized a commitment by the Government of Indonesia and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) to address the role of forests in climate change. The commitment was featured at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York. The September 27th event attracted hundreds of international leading figures from government, industry, academia, philanthropy and civil society.
CIFOR’s Director General, Frances Seymour, and Wahjudi Wardojo, Director General of the Ministry of Forestry’s Research and Development Agency, were present to receive a certificate signed by President Clinton. The citation applauds their plan to produce “analyses of the options for including avoided deforestation into global and national climate policy”, and their commitment to ensure that the risks of such policies “are not borne by those least able to afford them.”
Seymour and Wahjudi announced the CIFOR Climate Change and Forests Initiative at the CGI meeting. The particular focus of the Initiative is to ensure that avoided deforestation in a post-Kyoto global climate protection regime is informed by high-quality, independent research. Such research will help to ensure that new policies are effective and fair, and reflect the interests of forest-dependent people in developing countries.
CIFOR and Dephut will partner with institutions from Africa, Asia, and Latin America to undertake collaborative research on the role of forests in climate mitigation and adaptation. Funding for the three-year $6,000,000 (Rp. 55 milyar) initiative is expected from the governments of Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as from private foundations.
Wahjudi said he hoped that the announcement of the international partnership at the CGI meeting in New York and recognition by President Clinton would draw international attention and financial support to build on the research activities Dephut, CIFOR and other partners already have underway.
“Climate change is a global issue. It needs a global response. CIFOR is an international organization with its headquarters in Bogor. With the Government of Indonesia and CIFOR working together, we can research and identify strategies that not only benefit Indonesia, but benefit the world. The CGI provides a useful way to connect with others working towards the same goals,” Wahjudi said.
Frances Seymour said CIFOR’s Climate Change and Forests Initiative is particularly significant for Indonesia because its announcement comes only weeks before the 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, to be hosted by Indonesia in Bali from 3 to 14 December 2007.
“There’s a high expectation Indonesia will play a major role in climate and forest discussions. Indonesia is important not only because it is hosting the COP, but because it is home to the third largest area of rainforest in the world. Fortunately, Indonesia is stepping forward to play that role,” Seymour said.
CIFOR’s growing climate change and forests research agenda reflects the need at both the national and international levels for analysis and policy advice related to the biophysical, livelihoods, and governance aspects of forest management.
Projects within the CIFOR Climate Change and Forests Initiative include research on:
Global interest in the links between forests and climate change has heightened considerably since the 2006 Stern Review. The Review concluded that control of deforestation will be a key element in any future international climate framework that replaces the current Kyoto Protocol.
Deforestation and other land-use change in developing countries accounts for 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet this enormous source of CO2 (approx 1.7 billion tons per year) is not included in the current climate protection agreements.
Carbon credits are limited to the planting of new trees, but compensating countries for preserving their existing forests would be a relatively inexpensive way of achieving significant climate stabilization benefits. New incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation, if well designed, could also conserve biodiversity and improve the incomes of those dependent upon forests for their livelihoods.