The world's first REDD+ Academy designed to energise efforts to combat deforestation by creating financial value for carbon stored in forests, was launched in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, bringing together 83 representatives from Asia-Pacific governments, Indonesian parliamentarians and members of the media.
The REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) Academy is a new initiative that aims to bolster the progress that many governments are making towards integrating environmental sustainability and economic development. The four-day training program in Yogyakarta is the first in a series of global events to maintain momentum for the transition to a “green economy”.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the head of Indonesia's national REDD+ agency, H.E. Heru Prasetyo, emphasised the need to continue coming together to work on these issues into the future. “This is a catalyst to action within and throughout national societies. It aims to equip all of you with the tools to understand what sustainability means in relation to forests, and the costs of not pursuing it,” he said.
His words were echoed by Satya Tripathi, Director of UNORCID (UN Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia), who added that “Indonesia is a REDD+ pioneer that inspires and motivates other REDD+ countries by example.”
The Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Achim Steiner, addressing delegates via video message, highlighted that Indonesia is now part of an expanding global effort to combat deforestation.
“With well over 50 countries now engaged in the UN-REDD partnership, we have a unique opportunity to do something that perhaps has never been attempted in this form and with this ambition before,” Mr. Steiner said. He described REDD+ as the “single-largest effort to address the issue of deforestation and to address the question of how we will secure the vital role that forest ecosystems play.”
Indonesia, home to the third largest area of tropical rainforest in the world, has an ambitious vision of sustainable development. Central to this effort are policies and incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and conserve and enhance carbon stocks.
“For me it’s very positive to attend this event and get more information about REDD+,” said
H.E. Desmond Junaidi Mahesa, Member of Parliament and a member of House of Representatives Commission III on law, human rights and security, in his speech to the delegates. “I want to get more involved, with the hope that in the future we can manage to make frameworks and regulations which will be useful for the community.”
The REDD+ Academy was developed by UN-REDD experts, UNORCID and Yale University, and gives participants a comprehensive and hands-on understanding of both what REDD+ is and what it means for national development. The next REDD+ Academy will be for all Latin American countries, and held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in early 2015.