"I felt very sad after learning about the condition of the Orang Rimba tribe. We realize that forests are crucial and very important for the world," Erna Solberg stated while meeting the members of the Orang Rimba tribe in Senamat Ulu traditional forest area, Bungo District, Jambi Province, Wednesday.
She emphasized the need to find a way of preserving the forest, but at the same time ensuring the survival of the Orang Rimba tribe in the forest.
During the dialog with Norwegian prime minister, members of the Orang Rimba tribe recalled the starvation they had suffered as they could not hunt or harvest forest products since most of the forest area within their range had vanished.
A spokesman of the semi-nomadic Orang Rimba tribe spoke about how their life has become difficult as the forest has been transformed into palm oil plantations, which are managed by companies.
Indonesian Environmental Affairs and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said she had learnt some lessons from the dialog between the Norwegian prime minister and Orang Rimba.
The minister stated that the indigenous tribe of Jambi expressed their keenness to open farming areas as they could no longer hunt animals in the forests.
Nurbaya said she would report to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) about the on-field findings, so that they could be translated into government policies.
The nomadic and hunting traditions of Orang Jambi will still be considered, she added.
The President Jokowi administration has stated that forests are for the welfare of the people, and the government will formalize the scheme that has been formulated, she noted.
The schemes for Orang Rimba include the definitive establishment of forest villages and the peoples nucleus forests or community forests.
The Orang Rimba tribe will be encouraged to earn a living from the forest, but at the same time preserve it, she affirmed.
Jambi is one of the 11 provinces that have been included in the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+) program financially supported by the Norwegian government.
The Indonesia REDD+ program is an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation and forest degradation, estimated at up to 20 percent of the global total, by offering incentives for preserving forests.