Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said, during the last three years of his presidency, he would dedicate himself to efforts to preserve the country`s forests.
"For my part, I will continue my work and dedicate myself during the last three years as president to the achievement of things that will preserve and sustain the environment and forests of Indonesia," the head of state said in his speech before participants of Forests Indonesia Conference here on Tuesday.
He emphasized the importance of conserving the forests and reducing emissions from land use, land use changes and forest exploitation which account for up to 85 percent of Indonesia`s entire greenhouse gas emissions.
"I do not want later to have explain to my granddaughter Almira, why we, during our time, could not save our forests and the people whose livelihoods depended on them. I do not want to have to tell her the sad reality that our tigers, rhinoceroses, and orangutans vanished like the dinosaurs," he stated.
He reiterated his pledge at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh that Indonesia would voluntarily reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent from business-as-usual levels by 2020.
In 2010, Indonesia signed a Letter of Intent with Norway to cut emissions by reducing deforestation and forest degradation. The initiative become known as the REDD Plus concept that was launched in Bali in 2007.
In May this year, the government declared a two-year moratorium on new licenses to exploit natural primary forests and all peat lands.
About two weeks ago, the president signed a decree outlining more than 70 self-funded government programs.
There are now more than 40 REDD Plus pilot or demonstration projects across Indonesia.
"This makes us a pioneer in creative ways to address climate change. It also provides us with research insights that will enrich our discussions today, and at the forthcoming global negotiations in COP17 in Durban, South Africa," he said.
The one-day conference organized by CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research) themed "Forest Indonesia: Alternative futures to meet the demands for food, fuel, fiber and REDD+", was attended among others by Norwegian Environmental Affairs Minister Erik Solheim, British Environmental Affairs Minister Jim Paice, and CIFOR Director General Frances Seymour. (*)