PRESS RELEASE – The Balikpapan Challenge: Moving from commitments to action in the efforts to reduce deforestation across the tropics

Press Release – July 11, 2017. 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 Challenge, 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 hostof 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 Challenge is an initiative designed to find practical solutions for reducingtropical 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 Challenge turn commitments into action? The Balikpapan Challenge 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 Challenge 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 gasemissions. This will encourage states and provinces to continue their efforts to protect tropical forests.

Indonesian Secretariat of the GCF
Institut Penelitian Inovasi Bumi (INOBU)
Seruni Soewondo