CANADA’S GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST OFFERS MODEL TO SAVE ORANGUTANS & TIGERS
Vancouver, Canada. September 10, 2018. The Spirit bear of the Great Bear Rainforest and the Orangutan of the Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia just made a connection. An Aceh-Indonesian Government delegation has committed to taking the necessary steps to establish a conservation-based economy to save The Leuser Ecosystem and critically endangered orang-utans, elephants, rhinos and tigers. This marks the end of a five-day learning tour focused on green financing successes in the globally recognized Great Bear Rainforest in Canada. British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest is the most comprehensive and large-scale model of conservation financing in the world. The carbon-rich Leuser Ecosystem is the last place on Earth where rhinoceros, elephants, orang-utans and tigers all co-exist in the wild.
The Aceh Conservation and Green Finance Delegation was hosted by international environmental not-for-profit Canopy and consisted of leading political decision makers and leaders of civil society. Over the five-days, the Environment and Climate Strategies Minister of British Columbia, Canada, Hon. George Heyman, First Nations leaders, along with finance, business and philanthropic executives spoke oflessons learned and opportunities generated by conservation financing to secure large-scale conservation and advance local, green economies. The delegates included Teuku Irwan Djohan, Co-Chair of the Aceh provincial legislature, Azhari, the head of Aceh’s Development Planning Board, Mursil and Raidin Pinim, Regents of Aceh Tamiang and Aceh Tengara respectively, Ahmad Ubaidi, Senior Advisor, Farwiza Farhan, Director of Forest, Nature and Environment Aceh(HAkA), Rudi Putra, Director of Leuser Conservation Forum (FKL), and Wahdi Azmi, Director of ACCI – Aceh Program.
After the tour, Teuku Irwan Djohan, Co-Chair of Aceh’s provincial legislature said: “I am certain that a conservation economy model like the one in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest can serve as a foundation for Aceh to develop prosperous communities and conserve the Leuser Ecosystem. I am excited to work with my colleagues in Aceh as well as new partners for Aceh developed through this trip to advance that vision.”
Justin Winters, Executive Director of the Leonardo Di Caprio Foundation stated: “The Leuser Ecosystem is one of the world’s most precious rainforests and has the potential to draw green investments that will allow for sustainable community based-initiatives, conservation planning and large-scale protection like that in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. There’s an appetite within philanthropic circles to support bold conservation leadership, especially in landscapes as remarkable as the Leuser Ecosystem.”
Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director, added: “With the upcoming revision of its current Land Use Plan, Aceh faces a unique opportunity to pursue a path of development that is different to the industrialized one seen in so many parts of the world. These decision makers are positioned to leverage Aceh’s natural beauty and abundance as the foundation for a successful green economy and vibrant communities whilst conserving the storybook jungle of the Leuser Ecosystem. Without such an initiative, species, such as the critically endangered orang-utan and Sumatran tiger are on a tragic path.“
Discussions covered how conservation financing was developed and structured in the Great Bear Rainforest and what a conservation-financing package for the Leuser Ecosystem could look like. Two-days were spent in the magical Great Bear Rainforest visiting First Nations community businesses and initiatives supported by conservation financing investments.. The delegation learned that some communities in the Great Bear Rainforest have seen a doubling in mean household incomes since the shift towards a conservation-based economy.
The delegation and many of the experts and participants of the panel have committed to work together to develop a conservation-financing plan for Aceh that includes protection of the Leuser Ecosystem. This tour is the start of a closer working relationship between experts in British Columbia and Aceh. Specific areas of collaboration initiated include:
- Start of a working relationship between the BC Minister of Environment and Aceh Sustainable Development Office;
- A working relationship between the Aceh government and the Port Authority of Vancouver;
- Academic collaborations, student exchanges and scholarship between Aceh and BC universities;
- Cross learnings between Guardian Watchmen programs working to protect the ecological integrity of remote areas of the Great Bear Rainforest and those in the Leuser Ecosystem;
- Cross learnings between successful community based eco-tourism operations in the Great Bear Rainforest and communities in the heart of the charismatic Leuser Ecosystem;
- Support from architects of conservation and green financing.
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More about Canopy
Canopy is a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting forests, species and climate. Canopy collaborates with more than 700 companies to develop innovative solutions, make their supply chains more sustainable and help protect our world’s remaining ancient and endangered forests. Canopy’s partners include H&M, Sprint, Penguin/Random House, Zara, TC Transcontinental, The Guardian and Scholastic. Canopy’s work relies on the support of individual donors who share our passion for the planet. www.canopyplanet.org
More about the Great Bear Rainforest
The Great Bear Rainforest is recognized as the most comprehensive application of eco-system based management in the world. It is 6.4 million hectares. It has been awarded the Buckminster Fuller Challenge Prize and WWF’s Gift to the Earth Award and has been dedicated as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. It is increasingly being referred to as a blueprint for maintaining vibrant Landscapes of Hope globally – be it for conserving the Amazon or Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem.
More about the Leuser Ecosystem
The Leuser Ecosystem is an area of forest located in the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, Covering more than 2.6 million hectares it is one of the richest expanses of tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia. It has one of the world’s richest yet least-known forest systems, and its vegetation is an important source of Earth’s oxygen and carbon storage.
The Leuser Ecosystem is under threat from a Land Use Plan that was set in place by a previous administration that would see the region extensively logged and roaded to make way for eucalyptus plantations for paper and clothing production, palm oil plantations as well as mining and energy projects. The current administration has committed to revising that Spatial Plan during 2018 and has been vocal about the importance of defining a sustainable vision and building a green economy for Aceh and the Leuser. There is the potential for it to be a conservation-driven vision such as the one in the Great Bear Rainforest but roads and energy projects are imminent.