Government of Norway $1 billion commitment to Indonesia signals fresh momentum for combating forest sector carbon emissions – CIFOR

One of the largest ever bilateral deals to combat environmental destruction could be a ‘game-changer’ in the drive to make REDD+ a reality for Indonesia and to meet national carbon emissions reduction targets


Bogor, Indonesia (27 May 2010) The Government of Norway’s pledge of up to US $1 billion in funds for reducing deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)  in Indonesia will act as a major catalyst towards achieving carbon emissions reduction targets, Frances Seymour, the Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said on Thursday.

‘The promise of significant funding for REDD+ combined with the political will evident in the Letter of Intent issued yesterday could be a ‘game changer’ for how forests are managed in Indonesia,’ said Seymour, responding to news of the agreement from Indonesia, where CIFOR is headquartered.

Announced on Wednesday at the two-day Oslo Climate and Forest Conference meeting in the Norwegian capital, the pledged funding comes in addition to the $3.5 billion promised for conserving forest carbon by world leaders at the UN’s Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. Indonesia has the world’s third largest expanse of tropical forest after Brazil and the countries of the Congo basin. It also has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world (currently 1.1 million ha per year).

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono set a national goal in 2009 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26% by the year 2020.  REDD+ schemes that maintain forest cover are essential for Indonesia to meet this goal.

‘We’ve seen intense international debate on how REDD schemes, designed right, will protect the rights of local communities and indigenous people, said CIFOR scientist Louis Verchot. ‘This draft agreement is remarkable. It puts representatives of these groups in the governing bodies that will oversee REDD financing in Indonesia.’

Despite long-term concerns over deforestation in Indonesia, and increasing recognition of the importance of the forestry sector’s role in combating climate change globally, the Norwegian commitment marks a departure from past international assistance, Seymour said.

‘Donors have been supporting improved forest management in Indonesia for decades.  But never before has a prospective contribution been this significant in terms of both size and ambition, and never before so clearly tied to performance.’

‘The plans announced in the Letter of Intent are supported by more than 10 years of research by CIFOR and others on the underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia, and the measures necessary to reverse them in ways that are effective, efficient and equitable,’ she said.

The next steps need clarity, she added, including streamlining new key national processes to disperse funds and implement emissions reduction schemes.

‘The challenges ahead should not be underestimated, including the resistance of those with vested interests in the status quo, and gaps in institutional capacity for implementation in ways that are transparent and accountable,’ Seymour said.

‘Additional research is needed to better target interventions and better monitor emission reductions, as well as to learn lessons about ‘what works’ in various circumstances,’ she added.

Daniel Murdiyarso, a CIFOR scientist and a leading Indonesian expert on REDD+ also welcomed the announcement. ‘Indonesia is well positioned to play its role in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation while improving forest governance’ he said. ‘REDD+ should not be just another forestry conservation project. It requires active participation of multiple agencies and stakeholders.’

Center for International Forestry Research
CIFOR advances human wellbeing, environmental conservation and equity by conducting research to inform policies and practices that affect forests in developing counties.  CIFOR is one of 15 centres within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). CIFOR’s headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia.  It also has offices in Asia, Africa and South America.

For more information, please contact:
James Clarke at or
Masyhud Nur, Ministry of Forestry at +62 164 825 935