Govt forms REDD+ agency

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed a presidential decree on the establishment of a national agency on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+).

According to a press statement sent by the cabinet secretary's office  on Saturday, the establishment of the ministerial-level agency is part of the government's commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020, or by 41 percent with the help of international entities, as stated by the president in 2009.

REDD+ is an alternative mechanism to cut global carbon dioxide emissions in developing nations. Under the scheme, forested nations receive financial incentives for protecting their forests. The “plus” in the program name refers to additional financial incentives given to countries that launch projects to plant trees, conserve forest areas or increase carbon retention.

The new agency will focus on monitoring, reporting and verifying emission reductions related to forestry and manage the incentives disbursements from developed countries. It will also coordinate the nationwide REDD+ road strategy alongside other ministries and institutions.

“One of its tasks is to monitor the REDD+ G to G [government to government] agreement between Indonesia and Norway,” the statement said.

The Norwegian government has agreed to hand over US$1 billion of aid, in gradual installments, to reduce emissions from deforestation of forests and peatland.

“The process of establishing the new agency has been long and complex. It is hoped that it will improve the prosperity of local communities and customary societies, whose livelihoods depend on forests,” the presidential special staffer on climate change, Agus Purnomo, said in the statement.

He said he hoped the establishment of the REDD+ agency would inspire confidence among the international community to invest in Indonesia's forest ecosystem, which is unique and important to the world's climates.

The REDD+ agency will take over the duties of the now defunct REDD+ task force, whose tenure ended in late June, in accordance with the government’s plan to create an official national agency to implement REDD+.

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