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WWF Welcomes Government Support for Conservation of Indonesia's Forests

WASHINGTON --WWF welcomes the announcement this weekend by the Australian and Indonesian governments of the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership. The Australian Government aims to contribute $30 million over four years to the partnership and encourages other government, private sector and non-government organizations to meet a target of $100 million to protect and rehabilitate large areas of forest across Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo).

Indonesia has experienced one of the world's highest rates of deforestation, which places the country as the world's third highest emitter of greenhouse gas pollution. Recent research states that more than 80% of Indonesia's carbon emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation - representing nearly half of the total global carbon emissions from this sector.

"This commitment is an exceptional opportunity to catalyze additional bilateral support for forest conservation in Indonesia, thereby reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation" said Carter S. Roberts, CEO of WWF-US. He continued, "WWF is encouraged by the recent announcement from the U.S.Government of a $20 million debt-for-nature swap for tropical forest conservation in Indonesia and sees this and other support as a realization by the international community of the importance of protecting natural resources in this part of the world."

One of the unique opportunities for forest conservation is the Heart of Borneo, a tri-national area encompassing 240,000 kmĀ² of equatorial rainforest shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. "The Heart of Borneo is the only place remaining in Southeast Asia where tropical rainforests can still be conserved on a very large scale - a place where endangered species such as orangutans, elephants, and rhinos, depend on intact forests for their survival," said Adam J. Tomasek, Priority Leader for the Borneo & Sumatra Program at WWF-US.

Indonesia ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2004. Tomasek continued, "The UNFCCC will hold its next conference in Bali this December, giving other governments and partners an ideal opportunity to commit additional support to stop deforestation and mitigate carbon emissions from Borneo's forests."