Donor agencies should ditch the club and embrace more locals (commentary)

Donor agencies should ditch the club and embrace more locals (commentary)

I was texting my Scandinavian friend who works for a donor agency, informing him about my plan to write about the role of donors in the global sustainability agenda when news of the recent decision by the Indonesian government to terminate a $1 billion forest conservation deal with Norway broke. Initially I was saddened, but then realized it’s not really that shocking. I remember what I said publicly many years ago when the program started: The $1 billion incentive is less than 10% of the assets of some large natural-resource-based companies in Indonesia. The Indonesian government even claimed that oil palm plantation sector and the national palm oil industry are the biggest contributors to the Indonesian economy, although World Bank data showed that the combined agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry represented less than 14% of the GDP in 2020.  According to GAPKI, the Indonesian palm oil industry association, the palm oil industry contributes between 10-15% to the total of Indonesian exports. Palm oil exports alone brought in $18.5 billion in 2020. If forestry and mining industries are added to the calculation, as industries which are prone to deforestation and land use change issues, this contribution will be much higher. In a nutshell, against the contribution by these industries, Norway’s $1 billion is not enough to curb deforestation. Exported fossil-fuel (including coal) and non-fossil-fuel (including palm oil and forest products) commodities in Indonesia (in thousand tons), source Indonesian Statistic Centre Agency But despite all of this, I wondered if Norway had…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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