The US State Department today announced the largest Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) deal ever in the ten years of the program's existence. TFG understands this marks a new direction toward fewer, larger deals by America's single largest dedicated funds for conservation of tropical forests.
As usual, TFG would like to see more details, which are always scant on these announcements, usually restricted to a press release. Specifically, it would be good to see more explicit expected conservation outcomes and more information on how the money will be spent. But for now, a toast to Indonesia and America for this important announcement!
Bureau of Public Affairs, US State Department
Office of the Spokesman
June 30, 2009
The Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia, Conservation International and Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati Indonesia (KEHATI) announced today that they have concluded the largest debt-for-nature swap under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act (TFCA) since its passage in 1998. The agreements will reduce Indonesia’s debt payments to the United States by nearly $30 million over the next eight years. In return, the Government of Indonesia has committed these funds to support grants to protect and restore the country’s tropical forests.
Indonesia is one of the most biologically-diverse countries on earth. Funds generated by this program will help Indonesia protect several forest areas on Sumatra, Indonesia’s second largest island. These forests are home to species found only in Indonesia, including the endangered Sumatran tiger, elephant, rhino, and orangutan. In addition, these forests provide important ecosystem services such as maintaining the quality and quantity of freshwater supplies and carbon sequestration.
The swap was made possible through contributions of $20 million by the U.S. Government under the TFCA and a combined donation of $2 million from Conservation International and KEHATI. Grants provided under the TFCA program will support activities such as conserving protected areas, improving natural resource management, and supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities that rely on forests.
The Indonesia agreement marks the 15th Tropical Forest Conservation Act deal, following agreements with Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Panama (two agreements), Paraguay, Peru (two agreements) and the Philippines. Over time, these debt-for-nature programs will together generate more than $218 million to protect tropical forests.