GCF Member Spotlight 

Aceh, Indonesia 

By Kemitraan

Aceh is a province with an abundance of highly diverse natural resources, particularly in the forestry, marine, agriculture and mining sectors. Unfortunately, it has struggled to capitalize on these resources to improve living conditions for its population of four million. Three decades of armed conflict coupled with a devestating earthquake and tsunami have contributed to an increasing number of people living below poverty level in Aceh. Poverty increased to 32.6 % in 2005 from 28.4% in 2004. This number fortunately decreased to 26.5 % in 2006 thanks to rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. However, this fact does not by itself change the entire picture of the Aceh population. More than 30 % of the population, mostly in rural settings, are still living in abject poverty.

In December 2008 the Governor of Aceh, Irwandi Yusuf, released an environmentally-friendly development strategy for the province, known as Aceh Green. This strategy aims to rebuild Aceh’s economy following the cessation of conflict and tsunami disaster recovery through innovative and sustainable management of Aceh’s natural resources, especially forests. A new Secretariat (Aceh Green Secretariat) with a mandate to promote Aceh Green is now operational in the Governor’s office, coordinating government policy with this strategy. In addition, to be able to properly manage its natural resources, Aceh has worked to increase investment and financing opportunities from private and public sectors alike in part through developing a policy known as Aceh Green Vision, which establishes five priority areas:

Green energy development

Environmental conservation through sustainable forest management

Food and livelihood security

Waste management and disaster mitigation

Non-renewable resources management

Since its establishment, the Aceh Green Secretariat has succeeded in coordinating and building a partnership with other relevant stakeholders who have demonstrated interest in Aceh‘s sustainable development such as donors, local organizations, government agencies, and the private sector at national and international levels.


In March 2009, the Government of Aceh established a REDD Task Force, consisting of representatives from all of the relevant government agencies, with a mandate to coordinate and promote REDD in the province. The Government of Aceh and the REDD Task Force are also developing an institutional framework for the long-term management of the Ulu Masen Ecosystem through REDD. Currently the government of Aceh has recruited 2,000 people for PAMHUT (Forest Guards) funded by Revenue Expenditure Budget Aceh to strengthen the role of rangers/PAMHUT in forest protection. To support the government's policy on Aceh Green Vision, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) has trained 80 people to act as safety rangers in the area of ​​Ulu Masen near forest-based communities. 

The 738,000ha Ulu Masen Strategic Forest Area sits at the northern tip of the province. The forest is extremely diverse and provides important habitat for a range of globally threatened flagship species including Sumatran elephants and the Sumatran tiger. The Ulu Masen Strategic Forest Area also provides important environmental services for Aceh and its 300,000 forest-edge people, including clean water, flood prevention and soil erosion control. Until recently, civil conflict effectively inhibited commercial logging and reduced rates of land conversion from forest land to non-forest uses. The post-tsunami reconstruction effort and the end of hostility in the province are rapidly changing this situation, bringing increasing threats and pressures on the forest and its resources.

REDD offers Aceh new opportunities to better manage and protect its forest resources and ensure community livelihood improvements at a formative time in the province’s development trajectory.

Ulu Masen REDD activities under the direction of the REDD Task Force are conceptualized under two themes: (1) Forest Carbon Accounting; and (2) Community Engagement. FFI is providing technical and advisory support to the Government of Aceh REDD Task Force to support development and implementation of REDD best practices under these two themes.

A series of information-sharing and consultation meetings has been initiated by the REDD Task Force in all five Ulu Masen districts. The REDD Task Force has met with all Ulu Masen forest-edge Mukim leaders as a first step in a process of ongoing engagement.

Preliminary results from community meetings indicate broad support from Mukim leaders for the progression of REDD in the Ulu Masen Ecosystem. To date, key matters of concern identified by Mukim leaders include recognition of customary forest boundaries and clarity over community access to forest resources. The REDD Task Force will continue to work with community members on these issues.

The Ulu Masen Ecosystem was the first project for REDD to be validated under the Climate, Community & Biodiversity (CCB) Standards. The Government of Aceh is in the process of developing a Project Design Document for Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) verification and validation, which is expected to be completed sometime in2011.

In addition to the Ulu Masen project, Aceh is in the process of calculating baseline carbon stocks for the Leuser Ecosystem in the northern part of Sumatra.

Related Aceh Efforts

Aceh has established a conservation response unit (CRU), in the Leuser and Ulu Masen Ecosystems, which is designed to help manage and minimize wildlife conflicts with people who live around the forest. 

Aceh is beginning the legislative process in parliament (DPRA)to add a Aceh Spatial Process , expected to be completed in 2011. 

In 2011, the Government of Aceh completed the evaluation of concessions in the province (forestry, plantation and mining). The results of these evaluations will be included in a Medium Term Low Emissions Development Planfor Aceh Green Vision. 

In This Issue

Less than 400 Sumatran tigers exist today and activists claim the animals are increasingly losing their natural habitat due to deforestation for timber and palm oil plantations.
GCF Project Manager Julie Teel Simmonds at the Ulu Masen Ecosystem following the GCF’s 2010 meeting in Banda Aceh.
GCF delegates cross the Alas River to reach the Ketambe Research Station in the Leuser Ecosystem.

GCF Task Updates 

Task 1 Subnational REDD+ Frameworks 

The GCF Secretariat has incorporated the GCF member and stakeholder comments to the Task 1 Draft Report, which it received earlier this year and in late 2010. With the assistance of GCF Coordinator in Brazil, Mariana Pavan, the Secretariat is now finalizing additional updates from California’s cap-and-trade process, the latest UNFCCC texts, and other relevant developments. This revised version will be translated at the end of this month and circulated in advance of the August GCF workshops in Macapá, Amapá and the GCF workshops in Mexico and Indonesia that will soon follow.

Task 2 GCF Fund 

In response to direction from the members in Santarem, the GCF Secretariat has been working diligently this year to create a GCF Fund. A GCF Fund proposal is now under final review by the U.S. State Department. Once a decision is reached on this initial funding proposal, the GCF will be actively seeking matching donors to fully capitalize a $5.8 million fund. The GCF Secretariat has created a GCF Fund Concept Note, which it is in the process of being translated into Portuguese, Indonesian, and Spanish, for circulation prior to the upcoming GCF workshops.

Task 3 GCF Knowledge Database 

The GCF Knowledge Database prototype will be available for GCF state and province internal review by the first week in August. There remain some gaps to be filled by the states and provinces with the assistance of the Country Coordinators, including state summaries, national overview pages, data quality control and updating, and compilation of source documents (including, maps, project design documents, project finance documents, and laws and policies). The database will be publicly available upon member approval, with the goal of a formal launch prior to or at the GCF Annual Meeting in September in Central Kalimantan.

Task 4 GCF Communications 

The GCF Secretariat and Country Coordinators are working to identify a state or province lead and other interested members (1) to assist with developing a template for a state/province 1-page (2-sided) handout to accompany the GCF’s general materials, (2) to assist with updating the GCF Brochure, and (3) to develop a GCF primer for incoming Governors in 2012 and new staff members. Please contact Carly Hernandez if you are interested or have any suggestions.

REDD Developments 

Oslo REDD Exchange 

By Mariana Pavan & Avi Mahaningtyas

23-24 June, Oslo, Norway

GCF Country Coordinators Mariana Pavan of Brazil and Avi Mahaningtyas of Indonesia attended the Oslo REDD Exchange last month in Norway. The event was organized by Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and focused on how to ensure the social sustainability of REDD+ by providing a forum for exchanging lessons learned from the development of national policies, projects and other REDD efforts.

This first exchange of knowledge and experiences on REDD progress from Norway-supported countries has provided critical input on the challenges of REDD policy development and practices. The notion of multistakeholders and rightholders approaches in national to sub-national planning processes was discussed at length. Free and prior informed consent received a common understanding among government officials, the private sector, civil society groups and indigenous peoples. Right-based safeguards, secure forest tenure, forest governance, and monitoring, reporting and verification were highlighted through inspiring accounts from the keynote speakers and panelists. The meeting attendees agreed on transparency, accountability, and participation as the universal governance principles necessary to make REDD work. There was an opportunity for statements from various entities, both donors and implementing jurisdictions. GCF Country Coordinator Avi Mahaningtyas spoke at a parallel session on safeguards. There were three other parallel sessions: (1) drivers of deforestation and forest degradation; (2) how to ensure the effective participation of indigenous peoples and forest communities on REDD+; and (3) how to develop efficient and effective national REDD+ policies.

Country Coordinators Avi and Mariana at the REDD Exchange in Oslo.

Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise 

By Avi Mahaningtyas

11-15 July, Lombok, Indonesia

The international conference Forest Tenure, Governance and Enterprise: Experiences and Opportunities for Asia in a Changing Context was a successful event attended by more than 250 REDD experts, government officials, intergovernmental, community, indigenous and civil society groups, and GCF Country Coordinator Avi Mahaningtyas (a facilitator and panelist at the meeting). The meeting looked in depth at the challenges and opportunities for accelerating forest tenure reform as it is progressing slowly in comparison to the fast rate of forest destruction. With climate change threatening development and poverty reduction for forest dependent communities, forest tenure issues have proven to be key to determining the delineation and definition of forests. The next questions involve forests resources rights, functions of forests, and the authority and rights to manage the forests in a sustainable manner.

The meeting noted a significant leap in the recognition of tenure rights for indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities in Indonesia. Forest tenure was the recurring subject in all discussions about reducing emissions from land and forest based sources. Clear policy and recognition of tenure rights are good incentives for forest dependent communities and indigenous peoples to guard and manage the forests in a sustainable manner. Tenure arrangement and conflict resolution are keys to make the REDD program successful in Asia and globally. Minister Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the Head of Indonesia’s REDD+ Task Force, stressed their importance in his remarks, “we cannot address the sustainable use of our natural resources if we do not appropriately address the complexities of land tenure – that is, how access is granted to the rights to use, control, and transfer land, as well as define associated responsibilities and constraints.” The Minister stated that the government would immediately work to implement a law that requires recognition of “adat” or customary rights. The effort will include developing a land tenure map to clarify how communities are using land and delineating the legal status of Indonesia’s forest and peat land areas.

GCF News 

GCF Workshop Summary 

By Mariana Pavan

7-8 July, Amazonas, Brazil

The Brazilian members of the GCF gathered in Manaus for their first 2011 workshop. The event was organized by Idesam, in the position of GCF country coordinator, with support of the Government of Amazonas. The first day was closed for GCF member states only and was, among other things, an opportunity to introduce the new representatives, as several states had changes in their administrations and have new focal points. The objective of the meeting was to discuss and define a work plan for the GCF activities in Brazil, including priority issues, strategies for addressing them, and upcoming meetings. The states also discussed the Task Groups and ideas for moving forward.

The second day was open to the general public and was attended by stakeholders, members of the GCF, members of the Amazonas Forum on Climate Change, federal government representatives, and other institutions. The focus of the event was to present and exchange experiences about the ongoing REDD+ processes under development in state and national processes, in order to share information and define a work strategy.

During the morning session, Senator Eduardo Braga (former Governor of the State of Amazonas) and Congresswoman Rebecca Garcia, both authors of bills that aim to create a national REDD+ system in Brazil, were present. Senator Braga highlighted the strategic importance of the GCF with a discussion on how to create incentives to value our forests and have a positive impact on forest communities. Also, Mariano Cenamo, executive director of Idesam, presented the current status of REDD+ policies in Brazil and the integration between national and subnational programs. In the afternoon, there was an opportunity for all attendees including stakeholders to discuss how the GCF can generate practical information that can contribute not only to REDD+ development at the subnational level but at many levels.

Cleared forest in Brazil now used for soy. Agriculture is a core driver of deforestation in Brazil
Congresswoman Rebecca Garcia at the GCF workshop in Brazil.

Register to attend the GCF’s Annual Meeting 

20-22 September, Luwansa Hotel, Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan

The GCF’s Annual Meeting is still accepting registration. The meeting will include: a high-level session attended by ministers, governors, environment secretaries, and other governmental and inter-governmental organization representatives; key updates from the member states and provinces and on major GCF developments including the GCF REDD+ Knowledge Database and the GCF Fund; and facilitated breakout sessions on high priority topics including alignment of national and subnational REDD policies and environmental and social safeguards, which will result in concrete action items for the GCF moving forward. Please register here by 1 August 2011. Contact the GCF Secretariat with questions about the meeting or registration.

Temple in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan

Upcoming events 

Second Regional Forum for People and Forests 

08-10 August 2011, Bangkok, Thailand

The Role of Commodity Roundtables & Avoided Forest Conversion in Subnational REDD+ 

07-09 September 2011, California, USA

Funding is available for participation in this workshop. GCF members as well as other interested stakeholders are encouraged to contact Nathalie Walker for more information about the funding and the meeting in general.

GCF Annual Meeting 

20-22 September 2011 in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Fifth Latin American Forestry Congress 

18-21 October 2011, Lima, Peru

Governance for Forests, Nature and People 

24 October - 4 November 2011, Bogor, Indonesia

COP 17 

28 November - 9 December 2011, Durban, South Africa

Forest Day 5 

4 December 2011, Durban South, Africa

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