Norway is in the act of delivering the first installment on a series of payments to Indonesia under the cooperation scheme called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). REDD+ involves efforts and measures designed to monitor the progression of deforestation. Projects under the scheme aim are to curb global climate change by incentivizing national and local governments to halt deforestation.
A decade ago (May 26th, 2010), Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Norway. The deal set in motion a pact in which Indonesia would receive up to up to $US1 billion if it adheres to the commitment of curbing deforestation.
The first thing the nation did (on May 20th, 2011) placed a two-year moratorium on new logging concessions to delay agricultural plans and repress the palm oil industry. It banned the granting of permits to clear peatlands and primary forests for logging or plantations. That measure was extended another two years in 2013, then again in 2015 and 2017. On August 5th, 2019, President Joko Widodo made the moratorium permanent.
The policy has proven effective, and now Indonesia will receive a $56.15 million grant for its success. The funding will be used to finalize Indonesia’s climate and forest strategy, put in place enabling policies and institutional reforms, and build and institutionalize its capacity to monitor, report, and verify reduced emissions. It will also be funneled through the Indonesian Environmental Estate Fund (BPDLH), a public service agency tasked with managing funds related to conservation and environmental protection. The president has ordered they use the money for community-based ecological recovery efforts.
Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya expressed that the grant was a result-based payment. They saw a drop in the rate of deforestation between 2016 and 2017 – a figure that was less than the baseline agreed upon by both countries. After measuring Indonesia’s results against a 10-year average level of emissions between 2006 and 2016, they found that the emissions reduction achieved was counted at 11.23 million tons CO2e. The payment was based on a price designated by the World Bank for the REDD+ scheme of $5 per ton of CO2e.
This isn’t the only way Norway has been actively reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, it became the first country in the world to ban deforestation. But for years it’s been investing vast sums of money to stop deforestation not just in Indonesia, but in South America and Africa as well. In 2008, the country gave Brazil $1 billion to help fight deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, a move that saved over 33,000 square miles of forest and kept 3.2 billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. Another $250 million was granted to protect Guyana’s forest between 2011 and 2015. In Africa, the Western country of Liberia signed a deal to receive $150 million through 2020 to stop cutting down trees. In response, the country agreed to place at least 30% of its forests under protection.
Norway’s generous contributions worldwide have helped reduce deforestation for us all.