On 25-29 September 2017, governors from across the world will gather in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, to initiate an important new phase in the efforts to reduce tropical deforestation. Joining them will be representatives of leading producer and consumer goods companies, civil society organizations, indigenous groups and farmers. The meeting will launch the Balikpapan Statement, a bold new initiative for bringing together governments, companies, civil society, farmers and indigenous peoples to reduce deforestation and fight climate change.
Launching this initiative will be the governor of East Kalimantan, Awang Faroek Ishak, as host of the annual meeting of the Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Taskforce, along with Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU), the Indonesian Secretariat for the GCF.
The GCF is a global partnership of 35 states and provinces from 9 countries all committed to reducing tropical deforestation and fighting climate change. One quarter of the world’s tropical forests are found in the territory of the GCF members. In August 2014 in Rio Branco, Brazil, GCF members committed to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020, if they receive adequate, performance-based funding. Implementing this commitment, however, has been difficult.
The Balikpapan Statement is an initiative designed to find practical solutions for reducing tropical deforestation. It is built on the understanding that national governments and many companies have made commitments to both reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, which they too have struggled to implement. Realizing these commitments requires that these diverse groups come together and agree on strategies that are locally relevant and mutually beneficial.
How will the Balikpapan Statement turn commitments into action? The Balikpapan Statement is a multi-phase process, beginning with the GCF meeting in Balikpapan, to find real and practical ways for reducing deforestation and fighting climate change. The Balikpapan Statement has three main pillars. The first pillar is about finding ways that jurisdictions that produce agricultural commodities can work together with commodity buyers to reduce deforestation. This pillar is about encouraging companies to preferentially buy commodities from states and provinces that have taken significant steps to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. This will encourage states and provinces to continue their efforts to protect tropical forests.
The second pillar involves protecting the rights of indigenous people while improving their welfare throughout member states and provinces of the GCF. Indigenous communities have lived in, or near to, forests for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Reducing deforestation and promoting low emission development can only succeed if the rights of indigenous people are recognized and protected. This pillar will involve mechanisms and initiatives for supporting indigenous peoples in GCF member states and provinces.
The third pillar is about finding ways to ensure that the GCF states and provinces can get the financial resources they need to reduce deforestation, support low emissions development and protect the rights of indigenous people. States and provinces, which are committed to reducing deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, need support. This pillar is about finding locally appropriate financial mechanisms for supporting states and provinces to continue their efforts to reduce tropical deforestation.
The Balikpapan Statement is a significant step towards realizing the commitments made in the Paris Agreement, as well as corporate zero-deforestation pledges, and is being led by local governments in Indonesia, Latin America and Africa.
Indonesian Secretariat of the GCF
Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU)