Prince Charles Gives $2.8b To Preserve Rain Forests
Karanganyar, Central Java. Britain’s Prince Charles has set aside 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion) to help Indonesia and other developing countries preserve their rain forests, State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar said on Thursday.
“His representative came on Wednesday afternoon and asked Indonesia’s government to prepare to discuss the scheme further,” Witoelar said at a seminar on bank funding and environmental projects.
Aside from Indonesia, the money will also be used in other developing countries with tropical rain forests, such as Papua New Guinea, Congo, Costa Rica and Mexico.
“The amount of the aid will differ for each country based on the size of their tropical forests and the environmental problems they face,” he said.
Indonesia was included after delegates from the United Kingdom surveyed forests in Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan last year. The money is intended to be used on reforestation projects.
Witoelar did not offer an exact figure for the size of the damaged or destroyed forests in the country, but estimated it at 40 percent of the total.
“As environment minister, I can only say that Indonesia’s forests are in severe condition,” he said.
“In the next five years, we must plant two billion trees, or 400 million trees per year. Otherwise our f orests will be history.”
In fact, while the fund created by Prince Charles is substantial, Witoelar said he believed it was only enough to plant a fraction of the trees needed to replenish the world’s rain forests .
However, reforestation is not the only solution in the fight against global warming. Witoelar said the world must adopt development practices that prioritize environmental protection and replace the growth-at-any-cost model that currently dominates in many developing countries.
He said a green economy would give priority to clean energy, rural energy development and reducing emissions.
“At the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in L’Aquila, Italy, on July 9, the major global powers reconfirmed their commitment to developing environment-friendly energy. I hope Indonesia can do that, too,” he said.