On April 4th, over 50 participants gathered in Banda Aceh to launch the provincial government’s new efforts to develop an Integrated Low Emissions Development Strategy to tackle deforestation and promote sustainable development. The strategy is an effort by the province to capitalize on the momentum that has built in recent years to reduce deforestation and is supported by partners including the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force, the Government of Norway, the United Nations Development Programme, and Flora and Fauna International (FFI).
The meeting offered an opportunity for Aceh to highlight the progress it has made in lowering deforestation rates, including implementing palm oil and mining moratoria, developing a revised provincial spatial plan, establishing seven forest management units (FMUs) throughout the province, and training nearly 2000 personnel in forest law enforcement. The province’s efforts are showing results with recent data demonstrating a steady rate of declining deforestation from 2013-2017.
Although the province is headed in the right direction, Aceh recognizes that threats persist and a consolidated strategy is needed to ensure the province’s impressive progress is sustained. Sahrial Wahab, Head of the Aceh Environment and Forest Agency, stressed the development of the strategy will be a joint effort that will require participation from stakeholders throughout Aceh. In his opening remarks he invited companies, communities, and civil society partners to participate in the process which would be implemented transparently and collaboratively.
An important aspect of the new strategy is that it will be based on cross-sectoral efforts, ensuring that initiatives implemented by the Development Planning Agency, Environmental and Forestry Agency, Estate Plantation Agency and Forest Management Units are harmonized and contributing to the province’s climate change goals. As part of the strategy development process, tools relevant for all agencies will be implemented including a provincial forest monitoring system, financing mechanisms, and a systems for zero-deforestation palm oil.
Aceh is one of more than 30 GCF Task Force states and provinces that are collectively receiving more than USD 10 million to develop jurisdictional strategies and investment plans through a partnership with UNDP funded by the Government of Norway. The projects began earlier this year and are expected to last for 12-18 months.