Secretary-General's press conference [Q&A below]
Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, 17 November 2011Good afternoon, it is a pleasure to meet you as I am concluding my visit to Palangkaraya in the Central Kalimantan region.
First of all, I'd like to Governor Teras Nerang for his warm welcome and hospitality and for making my visit very meaningful. I have had a brief but fulfilling and impactful visit to Palangkaraya.
I also thank Honourable Dr. Kuntoro [Mangkusubroto], who is the Chair of the UNREDD+ management task force of President [Susilo Bambang] Yudhoyono, who has joined me today.
This morning, I visited the Menteng health clinic.
I was very impressed by the health workers, the officials and especially the patients.
I toured the facilities and saw how mothers are receiving care.
Patients are being treated for malaria.
Pregnant women are benefiting from skilled birth attendants.
And children are off to a good start in life.
This embodies our global Every Woman Every Child initiative.
Indonesia supported the initiative right from the start.
Indonesia understands that when you protect the health of individual women and children, you protect the well-being of the whole community.
That is my message here and around the world.
I would like to highly commend the leadership of the President and also Governor Nerang for this very impressive medical care facility.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Indonesia is also a world leader on combating deforestation.
In January this year, President Yudhoyono announced that Central Kalimantan would be Indonesia's REDD+ Pilot Province.
REDD – which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation – aims to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests.
Kalimantan has vast reserves of primary forest and peatland.
With REDD+, you have the opportunity to benefit the world while benefiting yourselves.
Maintaining and sustainably using Kalimantan's precious ecosystems is essential.
This is what I call [a] win-win-win [situation]: first, for the people of Kalimantan second, for Indonesia's sustainable development, third for the whole human community by addressing climate change. This is clearly a win-win-win strategy.
Making REDD+ a success here in Kalimantan, and elsewhere, will require the commitment and cooperation of all stakeholders.
That is why the United Nations has opened its first Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia, UNORCID.
Before coming here, I met with representatives of communities affected by deforestation.
We discussed their concerns and the benefits of REDD+.
As we move ahead, it will be crucial to obtain the prior and informed consent of communities, especially indigenous people.
We know that indigenous people depend on forest resources for subsistence and income.
They are on the front line, but each member of the human family has a stake.
Each hectare of primary forest or peatland lost adds to global carbon emissions.
Globally, deforestation, accounts for 17 per cent of emissions - more than any other sector except energy.
Keeping global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius will be impossible without reducing emissions from the forestry sector.
With careful planning and appropriate incentives, REDD+ financing can help ensure food security and local livelihoods and help Indonesia to meet its target for growth and help the whole world to avoid dangerous climate change.
That is why REDD+ is such a valuable tool.
Thank you very much, and I will now be happy to take your questions.
Q: How would you propose to introduce the REDD+ initiative to indigenous people?
SG: When I met the representatives of indigenous people, they expressed their concerns and their expectations. I also understood fully their concerns and apprehension. I told them, however, that while we understand that the forest has been for many, many, hundreds, even their thousands, of years, their living place, now is the time when the whole international community should address the climate change phenomenon, including deforestation. As greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation [account for nearly] one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, we must take certain action to stem this. At the same time, we have to take necessary action to understand, as well as to respect, their concerns as to how we can ensure their livelihoods and subsistence and their incomes. The United Nations - in close cooperation with [the] developed world and business communities and philanthropists - is working very hard to raise necessary funding so that we can help indigenous people. I think we have been making good progress on these issues. Thank you.
Q: Some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have rejected opposed the REDD+ project. What are your views on that? Also, what are your impressions of the community you visited with today
SG: My visit to Central Kalimantan province has been very useful in understanding and realizing further the importance and seriousness of deforestation. It's my understanding that through my meeting with representatives of the community, they understand more about what the United Nations and what the Indonesian Government and this provincial governor are going to do to address their concerns. I know there are some misunderstandings, apprehension and even opposition by the community residents, as well as some NGOs. While we continue our dialogue, I'm sure that we'll be able to make people understand the importance and urgency of addressing this deforestation issue in a sustainable manner. As demonstration of our firm commitment to engaging in dialogue, we have for the first time ever established the UN Office on REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia, UNORCID. I need your support and understanding, particularly from journalists, who can connect the United Nations and Indonesian Government with people of the communities and NGOs and [further] worldwide. Again, I thank you very much. I thank Governor Nerang and citizens of this province for their warm welcome and their hospitality. Even though it has been very brief, I am returning to New York with a great sense of achievement and understand. On Friday morning in Bali, I will have a meeting with President Yudhoyono and we will again discuss this matter. Ladies and gentlemen, dear citizens, I wish you all the best and let's work together to make not only your community, but the whole world better for all the people. Thank you very much.