Indonesia ends deforestation pact with Norway, citing non-payment

Smoke covers forest during fires in Kapuas regency near Palangka Raya in Central Kalimantan province, Indonesia on Sept 30, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA (REUTERS) - Indonesia has ended a deal with Norway on cooperation to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation, due to lack of payment, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Last year, Norway announced a US$56 million (S$75.1 million) contribution to Indonesia, based on its 2016-2017 results on curbing deforestation under a United Nations-backed forest-conservation scheme known as REDD+.

In the statement late on Friday (Sept 10), Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said it decided to terminate the agreement due to "the lack of concrete progress on the implementation of the obligation of the government of Norway", after the South-east Asian country met its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 11.2 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions in the 2016-2017 period.

"The decision to terminate the letter of intent will in no way affect the Indonesian government's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," it said.

Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative said discussions on Oslo's payments were "constructive and progressing well, within the frameworks set by our two countries' regulatory limits." The group said in a statement that it plans to continue supporting Indonesia's efforts in climate change mitigation.

The Norwegian embassy in Jakarta did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment on Saturday.

Deforestation control is part of Indonesia's commitments in the global Paris accord to combat climate change. It aims to limit deforestation to between 325,000ha and 450,000ha a year, a level it believes will still allow economic development.

Indonesia under the Paris deal has committed to reduce carbon emission by 41 per cent by 2030 with international assistance.

Government officials have said the country aims to reach net zero emissions by 2060.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.