Foundation For our Forest right now

SWAPPING DEBT
CONSERVING SUMATRA TROPICAL RAINFOREST



Jakarta. June 30, 2009. The earth needs the Indonesian tropical forest cover intact to maintain its climate balance. The responsibility to save the forest lies not only in Indonesian hands, but also in the hands of developed countries as the largest
contributors of pollution. One way to show their responsibility is through a mechanism that forgives Indonesian debt to support the preservation of its nature (DNS).

To show their commitment, the U.S. government has agreed to erase some of Indonesia’s debt, for an amount of almost US$30 million in eight years. The uniqueness of this debt cancellation is the involvement of NGOs, i.e. that
almost US$2 million of the debt is “bought” by two local and international NGOs, KEHATI Foundation and the Conservation International.

“The participation of KEHATI shows our commitment in conserving biodiversity in Indonesia,” says Damayanti Buchori, Ph.D, The Executive Director of Yayasan KEHATI Indonesia. “We appreciate the efforts of all parties, which make it possible to return the fund, which should have been paid to the U.S. Government as payment for Indonesian debt, back to this country and to designate it to preserve biodiversity, particularly in Sumatra Island”.

Efforts to win DNS in Indonesia have been initiated since 1990. DNS is employed to obtain debt forgiveness, by redirecting the debt payment for the preservation of Indonesia’s forests and biodiversity. There have been other DNS agreements, such as DNS with Germany, which uses a different payment mechanism. DNS with the US government is made possible by
policies under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA), which was approved by the Congress in 1998 as a mechanism to reduce foreign debts of developing countries with rich natural resources. The Indonesian government seized this chance to erase its debts and preserve nature at the same time.

“With this program, CI continues last year’s CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) program in the same location, Sumatra Island, considering that the Sumatran forest is in critical condition,” says Jatna Supriatna Ph.D., the Regional Vice President for Conservation International Indonesia. Jatna continues, “We really hope that this mechanism can become an example for other countries to bear its responsibility in conserving the world's tropical forests.”

CI has been involved in DNS since 1987 in Bolivia, and its experiences has a positive contribution in DNS implementation in Indonesia. It has been agreed that DNS program in
Indonesia will conserve Sumatran tropical rain forest, which is home to several key species, such as Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) , Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus) and Sumatran tiger (Phantera tigris sumatrae).

The DNS program is a good solution for debtor countries and donor countries. More than US$30 million or equal to Rp300 billion will still be spent in Indonesia, but they will be used for conservation measures instead of going to developed countries.

DNS is a challenge for the Indonesian government to show that the debt cancellation can truly be beneficial in saving Indonesian forests and biodiversity. It is also hoped that the program will significantly help build the trust of donor countries that the Indonesian government is capable of managing its natural resources sustainably in order to reduce poverty and help maintain the world's climate stability.
Indonesian KEHATI Foundation is entrusted with the management of the debt swap, with its partners who are involved in saving the Sumatran forest.

Referensi :

Yayasan KEHATI Indonesia and Conservation International Participating in Debt of Nature Swap

Diah R. Sulistiowati
Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati-KEHATI
sulis@kehati. or.id

Fakhruddin Mangunjaya
Conservation International Indonesia

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