Financial Support for Forested Nations a Must: President

JAKARTA ~ President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said this week that rich nations should provide financial support to developing countries that are home to forests in order to prevent climate change disaster.

“The world should be aware that most of the countries that have forests are developing nations, not industrialized countries,” he said in remarks broadcast on radio as he kicked off a massive one-day tree planting exercise across Indonesia.

He said rich nations should help forested countries, including Indonesia, to preserve their forests through a global agreement on environment protection.

“If we had a large financial capacity, we wouldn’t need other countries’ assistance. But because of our limits, we need to cooperate,” he said.

Some 79 million trees were planted during Wednesday’s event, which comes ahead of Indonesia hosting a major UN climate change conference in Bali next week.

The meeting will see nations attempt to lay the groundwork for an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after the current phase of the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012.

Indonesia is spearheading a charge at Bali among 11 developing, forested nations to see a scheme called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) recognised.

The plan effectively proposes to transform carbon saved by not cutting down trees into a tradeable commodity.

“We will continue to call on the world for fair cooperation. If we all want to be safe (from climate disaster), we need to share,” Yudhoyono added.

Rapid deforestation of Indonesia’s equatorial forests, which include carbon-rich peatland swamps, has pushed the country to the rank of third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, behind the United States and China.

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