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Indonesia, Norway Ink Deal to Reward Rainforest Protection

September 13, 2022, 06.12 PM

JAKARTA, - Indonesia and Norway signed a deal Monday, Sept. 12, to reward deforestation reduction months after the collapse of a similar $1-billion agreement that was part of a UN-backed global initiative criticized for its ineffectiveness.

Protecting trees is key to meeting climate goals but environmentalists blame Indonesia -- home to the world’s third-largest rainforest area -- for a deforestation-free-for-all by allowing companies to clear land for plantations.

Jakarta has made some progress by reducing the rate of primary forest loss for five straight years up to 2021, according to Global Forest Watch, and in 2020 claimed its lowest deforestation rate in two decades.

Oslo will now reward Indonesia with “results-based contributions” for cutting deforestation and emissions, Norway’s ministry of climate and environment said in a statement.

“Today we are proud to embark on a new partnership to support the Indonesian government’s impressive results and ambitious plans,” said Norwegian Minister for Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide in a statement.

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But environmental activists say the deal will not change the situation in Indonesia with vast swathes of rainforest still being destroyed to make way for palm and timber plantations that threaten endangered species and push indigenous people off their lands.

“The agreement does not solve existing problems, including recognition of indigenous people,” Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Iqbal Damanik told AFP.

“The point made is ‘successfully reducing deforestation’, not zero deforestation. It means there is still deforestation in Indonesia going forward.”

The countries had signed a landmark deforestation deal in 2010 with Norway offering Indonesia $1 billion to slash its emissions.

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But Jakarta canceled it last year saying it didn’t see enough of the money, while research showed it only made a small dent in Indonesia’s carbon-cutting targets.

Critics of the United Nations-backed REDD+ mechanism under which the deal was struck said it was ineffective and trampled on indigenous communities’ rights.

Mangrove diplomacy

Under the new agreement Norway will send Jakarta an initial $56 million payment for its deforestation reduction from the year 2016 to 2017, the Norwegian minister said.

Source AFP

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