Jakarta (ANTARA News) - US Ambassador to Indonesia Scot Marciel and the secretary general of Indonesia`s Forestry Ministry Hadi Daryanto have signed the first grant extended under the Tropical Forests Conservation Act agreement.

According to a press release from the US embassy here Thursday the program aims to improve forest management and protect biodiversity through grants to local NGOs in priority landscapes in Sumatra.

The program aims to improve forest management and protect biodiversity in Indonesia as part of the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership.

The Partnership is considered critical to the bilateral relationship and addresses key global challenges such as climate change, which was founded on the shared values of freedom, democracy, environmental preservation and conservation for future generations.

Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati Indonesia (KEHATI) awarded five grants to local NGOs, which will collectively improve forest management of 1.3 million hectares of peat and dry land forest in Sumatra over the next three years.

The United States and Indonesian governments, Conservation International, and KEHATI created this 30 million US dollars forest conservation grants program for Sumatra in late 2009 through a debt-for-nature swap.

The five lead grantees are Yayasan Leuser Indonesia, Institute Green Aceh, KKI-WARSI, JIKALAHARI, and PETRA.

Yayasan Leuser Indonesia will strengthen management of Singkil Wildlife Reserve and create corridors for surrounding elephant habitats in Aceh.

Institute Green Aceh will improve protection of the Linge Isac Hunting Reserve in Aceh.

KKI-WARSI will strengthen community based forest management and develop ecologically sound spatial plans for the buffer zones around Kerinci Seblat National Park in Jambi and West Sumatra.

JIKALAHARI will facilitate multi-stakeholder coordination for best management practices on the Kampar Peninsula in Riau.

PETRA will improve management within and between Batang Toru forested areas and Batang Gadis National Park.

A seven-member oversight committee governs the programs. Members represent the Ministry of Forestry, USAID, Conservation International, KEHATI, and three civil society organizations, which include Indonesia Business Links, Transparency International, and Syiah Kuala Banda Aceh University.(*)


Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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