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A very real and practical contribution? Lessons from the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership

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On 9 September 2007, Australian government ministers and the Indonesian president announced a A$100 million Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP). This would involve protecting 70,000 hectares of peat forests, reflooding 200,000 hectares of dried peatland, and planting 100 million trees in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Since then, the ambitions of the KFCP have been quietly but drastically scaled back. The area expected to be reflooded by the project is now just over 10 per cent of the original target. And little progress has been made on the ground. Four years on, blocking of the large canals required for reflooding has yet to commence, and only 50,000 trees have been planted. What has happened to what was labelled at its launch as “a very real and very practical contribution”, one that would yield “immediate and tangible results”? We analyse the KFCP both as an aid “announceable” and as a REDD project, and reach two main conclusions. First, the KFCP illustrates the damage that an emphasis on “announcing” new projects, and a lack of attention to reporting on project progress, can cause to aid. Not enough has been done to publicly reposition the KFCP as a much smaller, demonstration project.


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