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SBY, Soros discuss REDD+

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met with George Soros, the billionaire and philanthropist, in Bali on Tuesday to discuss follow up in the Indonesia-Norway partnership on Reducing Emissions and Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)+.

“[The meeting with Soros] aimed to discuss follow up in our partnership with Norway and the REDD+, and it was related to the moratorium,” said Coordinating Economic Minister Hatta Rajasa, who accompanied President Yudhoyono during the meeting.

The meeting took place ahead of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 meeting, which will be led by President Yudhoyono and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as well as UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who will present his comments through a video conference.

“He [Soros] provided inspiration and praised Indonesia’s leadership on the REDD+, including how the provincial administration could play a role in implementing the initiative,” said Hatta.

He said Soros agreed that the moratorium policy on peatlands and primary forests should be given adequate attention.

“The policy is now being piloted in Central Kalimantan,” he said.

Hatta said the REDD+ was a good initiative to not only prevent forest degradation but also to make it possible for local people to depend on the forests for their livelihood.

“The peatlands should be protected because destroying them will cause high levels of air pollution,” he went on.

It was not the first time for the President to meet with Soros, an advisor for climate change to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Previously, Yudhoyono had met Soros in Tampak Siring, Bali, and New York.

On Tuesday, President Yudhoyono also received visits from American economist Jeffrey Sachs and Princess Maxima from the Netherlands.(ebf)

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