2017 GCF Annual Meeting Will Launch Balikpapan Statement

Sep 20, 2017

Governors from Tropical Forest States and Provinces Demonstrate Subnational Climate Leadership in a Post-Paris World

The exit of the United States from the landmark Paris Agreement has made the efforts of subnational governments even more critical in the global battle against climate change. And subnational governments are stepping up to the challenge. The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) is a subnational alliance of 35 states and provinces around the world that are leading the way by building robust jurisdictional programs to protect forests and the climate while enhancing rural livelihoods. From September 25-29, 2017, the GCF will convene its members from around the world in Balikpapan, Indonesia for a week-long meeting focusing on strategies to reduce tropical deforestation and promote low-carbon development. Research shows that halting tropical deforestation and restoring degraded landscapes is key to combating climate change and could compensate for up to a third of global greenhouse emissions.   


The GCF governors are expected to take a strong, unified stance through the Balikpapkan Statement, which outlines a roadmap for regional-to-global actions to curb deforestation, promote development, and address climate change.


GCF Project Lead, William Boyd, observes: “The Paris agreement confirms that we are in a bottom-up world when it comes to climate change. Subnational governments are now widely viewed as critical actors in developing and implementing much of the international climate policy agenda. Other important climate initiatives promoted by the private sector, civil society, and indigenous and local communities are taking shape. The challenge is to develop frameworks that can motivate, support, connect, and scale these efforts.”


In Balikpapan, governors across the GCF network—which holds over one-third of the world’s tropical forests—will showcase their specific strategies for subnational climate leadership. Governor Tião Viana, of Acre, Brazil, for example, will outline how the state of Acre has reduced deforestation to nearly half of its ten-year average while improving the social and economic well-being of rural communities. Others across the GCF will detail their involvement in global processes, such as the California-led “Under 2 MOU” which commits states and provinces to concrete greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. GCF governors will undoubtedly stress collaborative approaches for improving forest governance across states and provinces and the importance of partnerships that promote sustainable supply chains and directly involve indigenous and local communities in low-carbon development strategies.


The Balikpapan Statement will unite these messages through three agenda items. First, by finding ways for jurisdictions that produce agricultural commodities to work together with supply chain actors to reduce deforestation. Second, by protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of indigenous people and local communities. And third, by finding ways to ensure that financial resources flow to support subnational efforts on forests and climate.


“Through the leadership of these governors from across the tropics, from Latin America, Africa and Indonesia, we are witnessing the creation of a bold, new global initiative for fighting climate change by protecting our forests and the rights and welfare of people who depend on them,” notes Bernadinus Steni, Secretary of the Executive Board of INOBU.


Current GCF Chair, East Kalimantan Governor, Awang Faroek Ishak, along with Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, and GCF Indonesia Coordinator, Inovasi Bumi (INOBU), will open the meeting. Representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment will participate alongside representatives from international consumer goods companies and more than a dozen Governors from Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast. Indonesian dignitaries who will join with the GCF governors include the Indonesian Director General of Climate Change at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Nur Masripatin, and the Chairman of the Indonesian Advisory Council for Climate Change, Sarwono Kusumaatmaja.




GCF Indonesian Secreatriat

Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU)

Seruni Soewondo




GCF Secretariat

Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force

Michelle White






INOBU is made up of a growing team of experts committed to helping farmers produce commodities without harming the environment and society. INOBU’s team consists of young and innovative Indonesian researchers who have expertise in the fields of environmental policy, economics and the natural and social sciences. From research, INOBU develops policy innovations and IT applications that are tested on the ground and then adopted by partners. 




Launched in 2009, the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) was designed to advance jurisdiction-wide approaches to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). Since then, the GCF has more than tripled its membership and expanded its reach to include members from Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States. GCF states and provinces are leading the way in building robust jurisdictional programs to protect forests and climate while enhancing rural livelihoods.