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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Greenpeace ship Esperanza in Jakarta as part of Forests for Climate initiative

Jakarta, Indonesia

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza arrived in Jakarta on the morning of October 29th to help launch the Forests for Climate initiative, Greenpeace’s pioneering solution to reduce deforestation, tackle climate change, preserve global biodiversity, and protect the livelihoods of millions of forest-dependent people. Forests for Climate (FFC) is Greenpeace’s landmark proposal for an international mechanism to fund sustainable and lasting reductions of emissions from tropical deforestation in participating countries in order to meet commitments for the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

The first step of the initiative involves matching developed countries working to address the problems of deforestation and global warming to real projects in developing forested countries. Thus Greenpeace invited representatives from key donor countries and donor agencies as well as various government officials and governors of several Indonesian provinces to discuss the FFC initiative at a well-attended launch event, which took place at Tanjung Priok, Jakarta’s port area. The event was hosted jointly by Greenpeace and Rachmat Witoelar, the State Minister of Environment of the Republic of Indonesia.

“Indonesia’s government and society have a responsibility to protect its tropical forests for the sake of the environment, the country’s development, and to prevent the worsening impacts of climate change. It is time for Indonesia to gain the right to funding from industrialized countries to protect one of the world’s lungs," said Witoelar.

“Indonesia’s rampant deforestation and fast rising greenhouse gas emissions have been driven by the lure of short term profit. Greenpeace’s Forests for Climate mechanism is the solution as it places a value on keeping the forests alive,” said Arief Wicaksono, a political advisor at Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

How Forests for Climate Works

Under the FFC mechanism, industrialized countries that commit to reduce their emissions would fund protection of the world’s last remaining tropical forests. Developing countries with tropical forests, like Indonesia, which chose to participate and who commit to protect their forests would have the opportunity to receive funding for capacity-building efforts and for national-level reductions in deforestation emissions. FFC prevents deforestation from shifting from one country to the next and is the only mechanism that involves local and indigenous forest peoples’ representatives to ensure their rights and livelihoods are respected.

Greenpeace is pushing for the FFC mechanism to become part of the second phase of the Kyoto agreement on climate change. If countries commit to FFC, funding from industrialized countries for the protection of tropical forests could become available as soon as 2009.

“Indonesia’s remaining forests must be protected to combat climate change, stop biodiversity loss and protect the livelihoods of forest-dependent peoples. First, we need an immediate moratorium on deforestation, followed by international funding through the United Nations to protect forests for their carbon value,” concluded State Minister of Environment Wicaksono.

The Esperanza heads to Riau after its stop in Jakarta. Greenpeace embarked on the Indonesian leg of its Forests for Climate ship tour in Jayapura on October 6 to shine the spotlight on the rampant destruction of the Paradise Forests – the last remaining ancient forests of Southeast Asia.

Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian government to implement an immediate moratorium on all forest conversion, including expansion of oil palm plantations, industrial logging, and other drivers of deforestation.

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