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International Biodiversity Day promotes sustainable projects

 Friday, May 26, 2023

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The ITTO project designed to promote sustainable landscape management in the Giam Siak Kecil-Buit Batu Biosphere Reserve, a 705 000-ha conservation and sustainable use area on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, held its first steering committee meeting ahead of the International Biodiversity Day, being celebrated today.

“Enhancing the implementation of landscape management of Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve (GSK-BR), in Riau Province of Sumatera Island, Indonesia” is designed to help achieve the management objectives and basic functions of the GSK-BR. It is being funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea, including through the Korea Forest Service.

“We are proud to be working with government and stakeholders in Sumatra to implement this important project,” said ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru. “We believe it will make a strong contribution to the recently agreed Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework by both helping conserve the extraordinary biodiversity in the reserve and enabling local communities to improve their livelihoods.”

The GSK-BR is home to important flora and fauna, including the Sumatran elephant and Sumatran tiger. It also contains an enormous store of carbon stocks in the area’s peatlands, estimated at 44.3 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent above ground and 1.71 billion tonnes below ground.

At the opening of the steering committee meeting, Ary Sudijanto, Director General of the project’s implementing agency, the Agency for Standardization of Environment and Forestry Instrument (ASEFI) in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, emphasized the importance of these carbon stocks in ensuring global climate stability and enabling Indonesia to achieve its Forest and Other Land Use Net Sink 2030 target.

“Conserving the GSK-BR is important for many reasons where maintaining this carbon sink is among the most vital,” he said.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated the GSK-BR as a biosphere reserve in 2009. Professor Purwanto, Chair of the Man of and the Biosphere Programme (MAB)-UNESCO Indonesia National Committee, stated it was the first biosphere reserve in Indonesia proposed through a bottom-up process involving diverse stakeholders, from government institutions to local communities. Biosphere reserves embody inclusive approaches to integrating the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development on a landscape scale, and their management requires integrated strategies and the full engagement of stakeholders.

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