Dr Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant Director-General of FAO visits Indonesia

Posted in Past Events

The Assistant Director-General (ADG) for Forestry of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Dr Eduardo Rojas-Briales visited Indonesia from 13 to 17 February 2014 at the invitation of UNORCID.

On 13 February 2014, the ADG met with key actors of the REDD+ Indonesia conversation to discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for REDD+ implementation. These included high-level government officials on the frontlines of implementation, including HE Dr Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, Head of the President’s Special Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), HE Mr Heru Prasetyo, Head of the National REDD+ Agency, and HE Mr Willem Rampangilei, Deputy Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare; Dr Peter Holmgren, Director General, CIFOR and Mr Andrew Mitchell, Executive Director of the Global Canopy Programme (GCP), and Mr Pavan Sukhdev, UNEP Goodwill Ambassador.

Later that day, Dr Rojas-Briales delivered closing remarks at the Interim Forest Finance Roundtable, a discussion addressing the urgent need to scale-up demand for REDD+ emission reductions before 2020, attended by key representatives from the Indonesian government, the development community, civil society and academia. Organised by UNORCID, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the Global Canopy Programme (GCP), Fauna & Flora International (FFI), and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) on the occasion of the release of their new report on the subject, the event launched the dialogue in Indonesia on how to mobilise crucial resources necessary for continuity in REDD+ implementation in the short to medium term. ADG Rojas-Briales noted that the outcomes of the day were a “critical step” in “the process to galvanize donors, recipient country governments, and public institutions to fill the existing gap, and to more strongly and earnestly mobilise private sector finance and public support for not only forests, but our global planetary and societal well-being”.

At the inaugural meeting of the Central Kalimantan Environmental Stakeholder Forum, on 14 February 2014, Dr Rojas-Briales admired how Indonesia - in partnership with the Government of Norway and the UN - has been pioneering REDD+ implementation efforts to slow, halt and reverse deforestation in the province. He noted the importance of sustainable activities at the local level, emphasised that the Central Kalimantan government must take forest-dependent communities into account while planning REDD+ activities and provide equal development opportunities for all. In the evening, he met with civil society representatives operating in Central Kalimantan.

Buntoi village Climate Communications Facilitation Centre (From left to right) Mr Yurdi Yasmi, Forest Policy Officer for Asia and the Pacific at the FAO; Mr Andrew Mitchell, Executive Director of the Global Canopy Programme (GCP); FAO ADG Dr Eduardo Rojas-Briales; Ms Sherry Panggabean, Head of the UNORCID Pilot Province in Central Kalimantan; Ms Leonie Lawrence, Programme Officer at the GCP; Mr Bryan Taylor, Manager at UNOPS; Mr Satya Tripathi, Director of UNORCID. 

On 15 February, Dr Rojas-Briales visited the villages of Pilang, Sakakajang and Buntoi to witness implementation of the UN System REDD+ pilot projects coordinated by UNORCID. These included the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) project, ‘Green Livelihood Access for Central Kalimantan’s Inclusive Environmental Response to Climate Change’ (GLACIER) (enhancing incomes from community fishponds); an FAO-supported oyster mushroom cultivation success story; and the Climate Communications Facilitation Centre, constructed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) with facilitation support in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

ADG Dr Rojas-Briales with oyster mushroom cultivators in Sakakajang, Central Kalimantan. 

On 17 February, ADG Dr Rojas-Briales delivered a keynote speech at the Roundtable on Exploring Demand-Side Incentives for Sustainable Palm Oil in Asia, organised by the Global Canopy Programme and UNORCID. Expansion of palm oil plantations are the single most important driver of forest conversion and peatland degradation in Indonesia – it is therefore crucial to find ways to mitigate the impact of this activity, which is also vital for the Indonesian economy. Dr Rojas-Briales underlined that to achieve the win-win solutions desired by all, events like the roundtable could inspire stakeholders to strive towards the “basic information, honest dialogue, generosity, long-term vision and governmental leadership” required. He further underlined the importance of tenure reform, the necessity of a social focus, and the potential of agro-forestry and cash crop introduction for the development of a ruralmiddle-class. In the development of the inevitably complex policy mix needed to tackle the various issues linked to deforestation and the achievement of sustainable development he reaffirmed the United Nations’ full support to the Government of Indonesia.

ADG Dr Rojas-Briales concluded his visit with a meaningful interaction with HE Mr Zulfikli Hasan, Minister of Forestry, to take stock of the crucial issues at hand and discuss ways forward towards further cooperation between Indonesia and the United Nations system in the forestry sector.

At the Borneo Orang-utan Survival Foundation (BOSF) with (from left to right) Ms Leonie Lawrence, Programme Officer at the GCP; Mr Andrew Mitchell, Executive Director of the Global Canopy Programme (GCP); Mr Agung Monterido Fridman, Communications Officer for the BOSF; FAO ADG Dr Eduardo Rojas-Briales; Mr Yurdi Yasmi, Forest Policy Officer for Asia and the Pacific at the FAO; Ms Sherry Panggabean, Head of the UNORCID Pilot Province Office in Central Kalimantan