Editor's Note: This article was first published on April Dialog. Dr Tony Whitten is Regional Director, Asia Pacific, Fauna & Flora International (FFI). FFI is RER’s technical partner, managing key elements of the...
APRIL has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with local community partners in Riau province, in Sumatra, Indonesia, to help set up a community-based conservation initiative which will support the protection of more than 30,000 hectares of forest areas.
The partnership is part of APRIL’s recently launched community conservation programme, which has received support from local and provincial Government authorities in Riau, and will contribute to the Indonesian Government’s climate and biodiversity protection goals.
Under the terms of the MOU, APRIL – through its operating arm, PT. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (PT. RAPP) – will roll out the Community Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods Programme on a pilot basis in five villages in Riau. The five villages are Kelurahan Teluk Meranti, Pulau Muda, Kelurahan Pelalawan, Dayun and Penyengat.
The new programme will help ensure the conservation of remaining natural forest within these community areas. The other parties to the newly signed agreement include the Riau Environment and Forestry Service and the Tasik Besar Serkap Forest Management Unit, both of which are state bodies, and the community-centred Teluk Meranti Forest Conservation Institute.
The new programme includes a series of community-based activities that will build the capabilities of communities as forest conservation partners. The programme has been set up as a concrete step to support the Indonesian Forestry and Land Use (FOLU) Net Sink 2030 plan and the goals of the Riau Hijau (‘Green Riau’) initiative.
Indonesia’s FOLU Net Sink 2030 plan will drive the Government’s goals for the forestry and land use sector to become a net sink (‘climate positive’) by more than 140 million tons CO2 by the end of this decade, through reducing emissions from forest degradation and peatlands.
At the signing of the MOU, the Governor of Riau, (Gubri) Syamsuar, acknowledged the importance of the Programme and the collaboration between the different groups of stakeholders – including provincial and district Governments, the communities, and the NGO and private sectors – to bring it to fruition.
“This MOU will support the national policy on reducing GHG emissions and will help improve forest and peat ecosystem sustainability, while also improving the socio-economic wellbeing of the community. In Riau, this will help our effort to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts as part of the country’s National Determined Contribution (NDC). It is also a follow up action to the Government’s Low Carbon Development initiatives,” he said.
Craig Tribolet, Head of Sustainability Operations, APRIL Group, said: “The goal of this Programme is to help protect forested landscapes and biodiversity in community areas. This is in support of local and national Government conservation and climate targets, and aligned with our own sustainability commitments.”
The new programme is being supported by independent NGO Earthworm, which is advising on a number of technical issues relating to the participating communities. The partnership with the communities is part of APRIL’s 2030 commitment to champion conservation in production-protection landscapes.
The programme is also aligned with APRIL’s commitments in its Sustainable Forest Management Policy 2.0, which highlights the importance of a landscape approach to the conservation of forest and peatland areas, while also incorporating other important environmental and social values.