US, Indonesia launch new partnership to manage, protect forests 16 Nov 15;

The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Center for International Forestry (CIFOR), has launched a partnership to address critical environmental issues related to forestry management and biodiversity protection in Indonesia.

The USAID Indonesia Mission says the partnership will include collaborative research and scholarships for emerging Indonesian leaders to attend US universities.

It further says the collaborative research will focus on producing solid scientific data and analysis that will help government, private industry and non-governmental organizations develop better policies and strategies to reduce deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions caused by palm oil production.

The effort is timely given, especially due to the recent forest fires in Indonesia, which result in air pollution and the destruction of wildlife habitats.

“We believe this partnership will help generate the unbiased science that decision makers can use to create solutions in improving forest sustainability,” USAID Indonesia Mission director Andrew Sisson.

USAID says it has invested US$5 million in the partnership.

“Half of the funds will be used for research; the rest will be used to send 15-20 Indonesians to the United States over the next four years to complete master’s degrees in specialties related to forestry management, biodiversity conservation and land use planning. The first cohort will be recruited in late 2015 to commence study in 2016,” it states.

USAID further says it has asked CIFOR to develop and manage the scholarship program.

“We are very excited to be working with CIFOR at such a critical time. Environmental issues affect every Indonesian and, in terms of climate change, every person on this planet,” Sisson said.

“We are especially delighted to design a program that involves both research and capacity building for the next generation of Indonesian leaders,” he added. (ebf)(+)

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