The Rudd Government will invest more than $12.1 million in new projects to improve forest management and reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Applications are open for projects to improve forest management which reduces emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, under the second phase of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building Program.
The first round of funding announced in August last year supported 15 projects in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
The government has also signed agreements with Papua New Guinea (June 2009) and Indonesia (November 2008) to work more closely with Australia on sustainable forest management and fighting illegal logging.
The funding is part of the government’s $200 million International Forest Carbon Initiative aiming to show that reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries can be an equitable and effective part of a post-2012 global climate change agreement.
Global deforestation, affecting around 13 million hectares per year, accounts for around 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said the world’s forests were an important resource for providing sustainable timber products and for storing carbon.
“We are working closely with our regional neighbours to make real progress on sustainable forest management and reducing illegal logging,” Mr Burke said.
“This will be in the interest of Australian workers – currently there are more than 76,000 people employed directly in the forestry sector and they know better than anyone that illegal logging is a direct threat to local jobs.
“This funding will help organisations work together to improve the certification of legally-sourced timber, forest management, law enforcement and regulation.”
Applications under Phase II of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Skills and Capacity Building Program will close on Tuesday 8 September 2009.