(Istana Bogor, 8 September 2003): President Megawati Soekarnoputri will today hand overtree seedlings to local and international schoolchildren in recognition of the importanceof Indonesia’s forests to future generations at the 10th Anniversary of the Center forInternational Forestry Research (CIFOR).
The President is the key speaker at the CIFOR Anniversary, and will be accompanied byIndonesia’s Minister for Forestry, Bapak Dr. Muhammad Prakosa and CIFOR’s DirectorGeneral, Dr. David Kaimowitz.
As part of the Anniversary celebrations at the Bogor Presidential Palace PresidentMegawati Soekarnoputri will present small trees to children from local schools and theInternational School of Bogor. The children will then plant the trees in or around theirschools as a symbolic gesture to the environmental importance of Indonesia’s forests tothe future of both Indonesia and the world.
In addition to the tree presentation, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry will launch atree adoption program to encourage greater community participation in caring forIndonesia’s forests.
CIFOR is supporting the adoption program with a Rp. 42 million (US$5,000) contributionto local community groups so they can adopt trees and take an active part in protectingand maintaining the Ministry’s 57 hectare Darmaga Research Forest surrounding CIFOR’scampus.
CIFOR’s Director General, Dr David Kaimowitz, said CIFOR was proud to assist itsneighbouring communities protect the local forest for future generations. "Imagineliving in a world where children don’t know what a forest is? It’s a frightening scenario,but one that could happen in the near future. We must protect the world’s forests today ifour children and our grandchildren are to live in a world where forests still help reducepoverty and provide important environmental services," Kaimowitz said.
Dr Kaimowitz said that although some 250 million people in developing countries live inforested regions and depend heavily on forests to survive, the world’s forests aredisappearing at a rate of 12 million hectares a year – an area the size of Greece."These forests provide materials for housing and clothing, animals and plants forsustenance, as well as traditional medicines and the compounds needed to develop newpharmaceuticals. They also provide essential environmental services such as ensuring cleanwater and helping to reduce global warming," Kaimowitz said.
It was increasing international concern during the 1980s at the escalating threat tothe world’s rainforests that led to CIFOR’s creation. CIFOR’s eventual implementationfollowed international consensus at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro to establish aworld-class forest research institute.
Following discussions between the Indonesian Government and the internationalcommunity, CIFOR was set-up in Bogor in 1993 and is the only international organization tohave its global headquarters in Indonesia. CIFOR’s international treaty with Indonesia wasratified by Presidential Decree on 4 August 1993 and deposited with the United Nations inNew York.
CIFOR is one of 16 centers of the Consultative Group on International AgriculturalResearch that are sponsored by the World Bank and several United Nations agencies. CIFOR’smajor donors include Japan, the World Bank, the European Commission, the Netherlands, theUS, the UK, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Australia, Brazil andIndonesia, among others.
CIFOR works closely with a range of Indonesian partners to ensure Indonesia’s forestsremain a source of livelihood and biological diversity, including the Ministry ofForestry, agencies at all levels of government, universities, NGOs, private companies andcommunities. This has not only benefited Indonesia’s forests but has also strengthened theforest research skills and knowledge of many institutions, agencies and communities acrossthe country.
"As an international institution with scientists from around the world, CIFORknows it cannot produce good research without working closely with Indonesian scientists,institutions and companies who know the local environmental, economic, social andpolitical conditions. Most importantly, CIFOR’s work reflects the Ministry of Forestry’sfive priority areas, restructuring forest industries, illegal logging, forest fires,decentralization, and forest plantations," Dr Kaimowitz said.
We have specific teams working on each of these topics and we participate actively in anumber of committees organized by the ministry of forestry and the international communityto solve these problems. We have also been working very actively to share the results ofour research with all of the organizations concerned with these issues and in the press.
An important showcase of Indonesia’s commitment to CIFOR’s important research is theallocation of the Malinau Research Forest in East Kalimantan for use by the institute. The300,000 hectare Malinau Research Forest Includes over three hundred thousand hectares offorest land and many forest communities, and has provided an excellent opportunity forCIFOR scientists to test ideas with local partners.
"The Malinau Research Forest is undoubtedly one of the world’s most excitingforest projects. It is a living laboratory of all the social, economic, and biologicalchanges taking place in the world’s tropical forests. CIFOR is very privileged to workthere and is very grateful for the assistance it receives from the Bupati of Malinau, PakMarthin Billa, the Ministry of Forestry, and local villagers," Kaimowitz said.
An important feature of CIFOR’s work in Malinau and across Indonesia is its support forsocial forestry measures that give local people a greater say in how their forests aremanaged. Social forestry is strongly supported by President Megawati and the Ministry ofForestry, under the leadership of Minister Pak Muhammad Prakosa.
"CIFOR strongly supports the government’s desire to increase the role of localpeople in forest management and the benefits they receive. It works closely with theMinistry of Forestry and other institutions to do research and organize workshops on thisimportant issue," Kaimowitz said.
As part of the Anniversary celebrations CIFOR and the Ministry of Forestry are holding adiscussion panel on social forestry. The panel will examine such issues as the constraintsin implementing social forestry, effectiveness of communities managing forests and howsocial forestry can benefit the rural poor, industry and forests. (ends)