Ambassador Homme and Counsellor Ragnhildstveit recently visited Indonesia’s easternmost province Papua. This is the first Norwegian ambassadorial visit to the province of Papua, situated two time zones and five hours flying time from Jakarta.
Discussions on deforestation and climate was the main purpose of the visit, but the Ambassador also used the opportunity for interaction with the civil society, learning about social and political development, as well as discussing the situation of the indigenous peoples and human rights .
Governor Suebu hosted a dinner for the delegation and expressed his enthusiasm and support for the new bilateral partnership agreement within forestry. The province has developed a forward looking strategy for reducing carbon emissions and sustainable forestry harvesting, and the Governor was complimented for his work and leadership within this field.
Papua is a central region for Indonesia’s ongoing effort to reducing CO2 emissions from deforestation. More than 85 % of the province, 310 000 km2, is covered with forest. This makes Papua one of the world’s biggest reserves for tropical rainforest. A Special autonomy status was introduced for the region in 2001, and Papua is the only Indonesian province where land tenure has been returned to indigenous people.
Throughout the visit the local authorities demonstrated great will to address the issue of deforestation and to collaborate with Norway and the Embassy in this regard. The Ambassador stressed however, that no decision has yet been taken with regard to selection of pilot province under the REDD+ Agreement between Indonesia and Norway.