Local green economies focus in lead up to global Earth Day celebrations

As Earth Day 2012 (April 22) approaches, WWF & partners, and the Government of Indonesia, are co-hosting a three day Forum (April 18-20) on a green economy and the future of the Heart of Borneo (HoB) - a 220,000 km2 expanse of some of the most biologically diverse tropical forest in the world.

The Forum: Green Economy for People, Planet and Prosperity will comprise of a series of interactive and informative sessions to be held at the state of the art multi-media centre, @america, in Jakarta’s Pacific Place Mall, bringing the Forum alive and ensuring global access to proceedings.

Leaders in economics, policy, business and finance will define what a green economy means for the HoB and outline a potential roadmap to its achievement, which could serve as a beacon to the world for the successful marriage of conservation and sustainable development in this iconic landscape.

“As co-host of the Forum, Indonesia’s Heart of Borneo National Working Group is looking forward to joining with WWF and partners to showcase progress towards, and discuss opportunities for, achieving a green economy in the Heart of Borneo,” says  Dr. Andi Novianto Head of National Working Group; Assistant to Deputy Minister for Forestry, Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs.

WWF HoB Global Initiative team leader, Adam Tomasek, says it is fitting that this Forum is held in the lead up to Earth Day, as the HoB is one of the last greatest rainforests of the world with the capacity to significantly mitigate the effects of climate change on earth. It is also a treasure chest of nature, teaming with unique, yet endangered species, including the orangutan, pygmy elephant, rhinocerous and clouded leopard, to name but a few.

“Despite its global significance of this area, this priceless treasure can be taken from us, even before we have the chance to fully understand the extent of its riches and values,” he says.

The three HoB governments of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia recognised this with the signing of the 2007 Heart of Borneo Declaration to conserve and sustainably develop the area. Since this time, significant achievements have been made, but huge challenges remain.

“We aim to show that a green economy roadmap for a sustainable future is not only possible, but is actually more beneficial in social, economic and environmental terms.”

“We cannot solve the problems of the future, by following the ways of the past - we need a new approach,” Mr Tomasek says.

“The Forum will show that a multi-stakeholder approach to valuing the natural capital contained within the forest, can ensure trees are worth more standing that cut down,” he added.

Dialogue and debate during the Forum will center on the potential of a green economy to boost economic growth, contribute to greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, while supporting livelihood development for some of the region’s poorest citizens.

The Forum will also provide a meaningful platform to advance commitments to showcase the Heart of Borneo as a leading green economy initiative during the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as the Rio +20) in Brazil, June 2012.

In parallel with the Forum, the Borneo Festival will be held from April 3-22, 2012 at the Gandaria City Mall in Jakarta. The Festival is 3-week long expose of photo exhibitions and cultural events, culminating on Earth Day with a celebration of the natural and cultural treasures of Borneo. The Festival will bring the sights, sounds and people from the lush, remote jungles of Borneo to the urban jungle of Jakarta!

Highlights of the Forum

A green economy roundtable – A multi-sector perspective on the steps required to build a green economy in the Heart of Borneo and across Asia, with particular reference to the green economy focus of the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 20+ in Brazil, June 2012).

Investing in a green economy - A discussion on the policy, fiscal and economic instruments needed to deliver a green economy, including the incentives and disincentives needed to encourage sustainable behaviour by all.

Book launch and evening dialogue on the role of business in pursuing a green economy – A lively and engaging dialogue including a book launch: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Business.

See separate press release for more specific information.

Delivering a sustainable future for the Heart of Borneo – The three Heart of Borneo governments and local civil society leaders will detail progress towards green development in the HoB.

Indigenous peoples celebration of the Heart of Borneo – Includes the release of the Human Heart of Borneo – a publication celebrating the indigenous peoples’ cultural contribution to the riches of the HoB.

See separate press release for more information.

Voices of the future - Young people from schools around Jakarta and beyond, discuss, debate and put forward ideas for an environmentally sustainable future in the Heart of Borneo.

This session includes the final of the Great Green Economy Debate competition and dialogue sessions.

For more information contact:

Adam Tomasek, Leader, Heart of Borneo Initiative, WWF

Tel: +62 21 5761070 Ext. 228, Fax: +62 21 5761080, mob: +62 811991 7855

E-mail: atomasek@wwf.or.id

Chris Greenwood, International Communications Manager, Heart of Borneo Initaitive, WWF

Tel: +60 128281214

E-mail: cgreenwood@wwf.org.my

Notes to editors

What is the Heart of Borneo (HoB)?

The Heart of Borneo covers more than 22 million hectares (220,000 km2) of equatorial rain forest across the countries of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia. One of Asia’s last great rainforests, it includes some of the most biologically diverse habitats on earth, and is one of only two places on earth where elephants, orangutans, rhinoceros and clouded leopards share the same territory. In the past 15 years, more than 500 new flora or fauna species have been discovered, at a rate of more than three per month.

Borneo’s cultural diversity is as distinct and varied as the island’s animal and plant life. In Kalimantan (Indonesia) alone, 142 different languages are believed still to be in use today. Many people depend directly on the forest for edible and medicinal plants; fish; meat; construction materials and water. As the headwaters of the island’s major rivers lie in Borneo’s central highlands, protection is critical to ensuring reliable clean water supplies to a large number of human settlements, and the thriving industries that have developed in coastal urban centers.

The Heart of Borneo Declaration

In February 2007, the governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia signed the Heart of Borneo Declaration to protect an area of more than 220,000 square kilometres in the centre of the island and bordering all three countries. Together they emphasised the  fact that these tropical rainforests have strategic, global, national and local functions, not only for citizens of these three countries but for the global human race.

The declaration is supported under important regional and international agreements such as Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD).

For more information visit: www.panda.org/heart_of_borneo

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