About the Authors: Tristram D. Perry serves as a Public Diplomacy Officer and Machut Shishak as the Environment, Science, Technology and Health (ESTH) Officer at U.S. Embassy Jakarta.
The Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia, Conservation International and Yayasan Keanekaragaman Hayati Indonesia (KEHATI) announced on June 30 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. 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.
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.
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