The Bonn-Challenge High Level Roundtable Meeting in Palembang, South Sumatra, concluded on Thursday with participants agreeing to help the province restore peatland areas that were damaged by catastrophic fires in 1997 and 2006.
The meeting kicked off on Tuesday, but the formal closed-door discussion started the next day. Delegates from 29 countries, central government representatives and local administration officials from Sumatra participated in the talks.
Speaking after the closed-door session on Wednesday evening, South Sumatra Governor Alex Nurdin said the participants had agreed to assist the province in restoring 11 damaged areas, nine of which were peatland areas.
“The form of assistance is land restoration. We are not going to receive money, but it is in the form of programs [to restore the damaged land],” Alex said when asked how much money the provincial administration would receive under the program.
Details of the restoration work would be discussed soon by technical teams, the governor added.
At least 739,000 hectares of peatland have been damaged by fires in the province. Alex said on Tuesday that it had taken five years for the province to restore the areas, at a cost of around Rp 15 million (US$1,122) for every hectare of land each year.
The governor said the province did not have enough funds to do that alone. Therefore, he expected the restoration to involve various stakeholders, including private companies and local residents.
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020 and 350 million ha by 2030. The donors behind the global initiative include Germany, Norway and the US.