Huge boost in funding support to protect the rainforests of central Borneo

Posted on 27 February 2013    
The Mahakam River, East Kalimantan - a key site for WWF Heart of Borneo work
© © WWF / Simon Rawles
More than US$30 million has been committed by governments and international organisations to promote development of a green economy in the Heart of Borneo – the 22 million ha of surviving upland rainforest in the centre of this biodiversity-rich island shared by Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia.

This funding will be used to promote conservation and sustainable management of the forests in the Indonesian section of the Heart of Borneo, helping conserve one of WWF’s highest conservation priorities which is also one of the most threatened.

Borneo’s unique species and rainforests are under such serious threat that in 2007 WWF worked with the governments of Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia to develop the Heart of Borneo Initiative to help conserve and sustainably develop this uniquely rich natural area. In the past 60 years, the island of Borneo has lost large areas of rainforests and many species to deforestation, plantation agriculture and mining.

These forests are home to many endemic species including the orangutan, pygmy elephant, clouded leopard, and the Sumatran rhino. This is a region teeming with life, so much so that within the last ten years more than 360 species have been discovered –that is an average of three species new to science every month for 120 months!

Key to ensuring the survival of the forests is finding a path of development which is sustainable, where the forest can be commercially productive and support local livelihoods without losing its unique natural values and species richness.

In February 2013 in support of the green economy initiative in the Heart of Borneo, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) formally approved US$4.5 million co-funding for the new Sustainable Forest and Biodiversity Management programme in the Heart of Borneo. In addition, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) provided US$2.5m, and the Government of Indonesia US$0.5m. The Japan Fund for Poverty Alleviation provided an additional US$2m for social development and community empowerment, and the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) in Indonesia provided US$19.5m. WWF has committed US$2m.

In total, the investment of more than US$30.5m for forest conservation and green growth interventions in the HoB is designed to ensure the sustainable management of forest resources and biodiversity in the Indonesian portion of the Heart of Borneo through direct engagement with governments, communities and private sector companies.

By reducing pressure on forests and promoting sustainable and equitable forest and land management, the project will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with potential co-benefits in the form of poverty reduction, improved quality of life for the indigenous peoples and local communities, protection of local peoples’ rights, and enhanced conservation of biodiversity and other ecosystem services such as water provision.

Posted: 27 February 2013; Updated 30 April 2013
The Mahakam River, East Kalimantan - a key site for WWF Heart of Borneo work
© © WWF / Simon Rawles Enlarge

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