TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The remote village of Buntoi, a mostly ethnic Dayak community of some 2,700 people in Central Kalimantan, seems to be the unlikeliest place to talk about or practice "connectivity". But by September 3, the village will be home to the first Climate Communications Center in Indonesia.
A press release Tempo received from the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) said that Buntoi, a community of fishermen and rubber tappers, will be a place where people from across the province can connect with forest communities or environmental experts in other countries, as well as with policy makers in Jakarta, to share traditional knowledge and benefit from global expertise via the internet.
"The opening of this center is representative of our people's commitment to combat climate change starting right here in Central Kalimantan," said Agustin Teras Nanang, the Governor of Central Kalimantan. "Sustainable development and the safeguarding of the environment must go hand-in-hand with enabling local communities to shape our future," he said.
The center was built using funds from the Kingdom of Norway. It serves as one component in Indonesia's plan to fight climate change, which stemmed from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's pledge to cut Indonesia's greenhouse emission by 26 percent by 2010 (and as much as 41 percent with support from the international community).
The plan officially known as the Indonesia REDD+ National Strategy has been shaped by a variety of factors, including the sheer size of the Indonesian archipelago, the ongoing process of devolving more decision-making power to local authorities, and the acknowledgement that progress on sustainable resource management can only come with buy-ins from local communities.
"This center is about creating the foundations of the future so that knowledge-exchange on development, sustainable practices and ongoing input from local communities can be hard-wired into the process," said Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, chief of the President's Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4).
REDD+ stands for "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus". It is a global initiative to combat climate change, based on the principle that people and countries need incentives to preserve forests and refrain from environment-damaging practices.
Central Kalimantan is the REDD+ pilot province in Indonesia, which benefits from the US$1 billion partnership agreement between the Indonesian and Norwegian government to reduce deforestation and forest degradation. (*)