Jakarta, 29 February, 2012: The Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, represented by the Center for Forestry Education and Training (CFET) and the Agency For Forest Extension and Human Resources Development (AFEHRD), and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today to further strengthen Indonesia’s community-based forestry development and sustainable forest management training program. The MoU was signed by Dr. Ir. Tahrir Fathoni, Director, AFEHRD, Dr. Ir. Agus Justianto, Director, CFET, and Dr. Tint Lwin Thaung, Executive Director, RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests.
Indonesia, which currently has an estimated 95 million hectares of forest area, the biggest in Southeast Asia, has taken significant strides recently in community forest management – including the recognition of the first Village Forest in South Sulawesi achieved under a previous MoU signed in 2005. The new MoU acknowledges the importance of Indonesia’s forests and forest communities in the global fight against climate change through the REDD+ mechanism and the government’s commitment to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The partners will also work to broaden Indonesia’s role as host of ASEAN through various regional initiatives, such as the ASEAN Social Forestry Network and the ASEAN Learning platform for community forestry, ASOF.
Indonesia’s commitment to speeding up tenure reform and addressing conflict over forestland will receive a boost under the renewed collaboration between RECOFTC and MOF through capacity building, training, extension and research, and policy work in the next five years. This includes working with civil society organizations to solidify a roadmap that secures forestland rights for communities and Indigenous Peoples, develops systems for forest conflict resolution, and promotes community-oriented forest management.
Dr. Ir. Tachrir Fathoni, MSc., Head of Agency for Forestry Extension and Human Resource Development said, “Indonesian forestry continues to transform to face challenges on tenure reforms, recognition of local and indigenous rights, and policy and bureaucratic reforms towards effective management of forest resources to improve people’s livelihoods. The challenges will be better assessed and managed through interaction and cooperation between forestry institutions and people’s organizations, civil society organizations, international organizations, and knowledge centers like RECOFTC.”
Dr. Ir. Agus Justianto, MSc., Head of Center of Forestry Education and Training added, “As one of the countries with large tropical forest resources, Indonesia has rich experience of the challenges in pursuing equitable forest management. These valuable experiences must also be lessons learned for forestry stakeholders in the country, as well as for other developing countries in Asia and the Pacific. Close collaboration with RECOFTC is expected to accelerate human resource development within CFET to be ready as a center of excellence at national, regional, and global levels.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Tint Lwin Thaung, Executive Director of RECOFTC, said: “Indonesia is an important country for RECOFTC and we have been working in Indonesia for over ten years. We hope this renewed MoU will take our partnership with the Ministry of Forestry as well as the Government of Indonesia to the next level. We recognize the vital role of Indonesia’s forests in the fight against climate change, and that is why we remain committed to supporting Indonesia’s goal of improved forest management without undermining the interests and rights of the local people. Many of RECOFTC’s alumni are now holding strategic positions with government and non-government organizations, and we will work with them to address challenges.”
RECOFTC has been directly involved in Indonesia since 1998 and has since trained more than 300 alumni from both government and civil society. In 2010, RECOFTC formally opened its country office in Bogor.
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