US, Indonesia announce $28.5 million debt swap for forests

Jakarta ( ANTARA News) - The United States and Indonesia on signed a $28.5 million debt-for-nature swap agreement on Monday, the US Embassy here said in its official website on Monday.

The agreement was signed under the U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) of 1998 that will reduce Indonesia`s debt payments to the U.S. Government over the next eight years by nearly $28.5 million.

In return, the Government of Indonesia will commit these funds to support grants to protect and restore the country`s tropical forests in Kalimantan. This agreement, in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature-Indonesia (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), will be the second TFCA debt-for-nature swap in Indonesia.

The first agreement was signed in 2009 and supports forest conservation activities on the island of Sumatra.

Both of these agreements contribute to the climate change and environment objectives of the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership.

Kalimantan - Indonesian Borneo - historically has contained some of the world`s most remote and biologically-rich forests. There are presently up to 15,000 different flowering plants on Borneo and the island is home to a large number of treasured animal species such as orangutans, clouded leopards, and "pygmy" elephants.

The second Indonesia TFCA marks the 18th TFCA deal, following agreements with Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica (two agreements), El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia (now two agreements), Jamaica, Panama (two agreements), Paraguay, Peru (two agreements), and the Philippines.(*)