South Sumatran government and IDH sign Memorandum of Understanding

Today the South Sumatran Provincial governor Alex Noerdin and IDH director Joost Oorthuizen signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the IDH office in Utrecht. With the MoU in place, IDH and the South Sumatran government can jointly implement a green growth plan that will help stop fires, delink commodity production from deforestation by convening the power and influence of both businesses and government.

IDH and the South Sumatran government will jointly work towards delinking critical commodities such as palm oil, rubber, coffee and pulp from deforestation while improving the livelihoods of smallholders. The South Sumatran government for example is developing the concept of fire-free villages through collaboration with communities, NGO’s, government and private companies. IDH will help convene those private companies, drive joint investment plans and boost international market demand for traceable, sustainable  (e.g.) palm oil, coffee, and pulp and paper.

With the Memorandum of Understanding the South Sumatran government and IDH aim to start collaboration on both strategies, action plans as well as implementation of projects on the ground. Four critical work streams to jointly achieve these goals are: supporting a more productive and sustainable industrial base; environmental and natural resource management planning; institutionalization of a green growth agenda; and monitoring and enforcement of policies, laws and regulations.

Alex Noerdin, Governor of South Sumatra said: “The province of South Sumatra is embarking on an ambitious program for green growth. I’m committed to create a sustainable landscape in my province that will involve different key commodities including pulp, palm oil, coffee and mining. I believe there is a need for partnership of players across these commodities to realize a sustainable landscape. That is the only way to address the sustainability challenges holistically.”

It is the common vision of both the South Sumatran government and IDH that, by 2018, the South Sumatera Province will be demonstrating substantial achievement against an agreed Provincial level green growth plan.

The South Sumatran regional government intends to review and improve spatial planning (with special attention to critical landscapes such as peat); review and improve legal frameworks required for achieving the green growth objectives; providing resources and securing funding; and collaborate with other governmental bodies to further the institutionalization of the green growth plan.

Joost Oorthuizen, executive director at IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative said: “We applaud the commitment of governor Noerdin. This is a very positive step towards a sustainable (economically, socially and environmentally) prosperous South Sumatran province. The next step will be the development and implementation of the green growth plan. We will also work closely with the governor to convene private sector, international buyers of commodities, donors, scientific researchers and other partners to support the development of specific action plans and strategies .”

The green growth plan is part of the South Sumatran government’s strategy for achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability in the region. With a population of just under 8 million, South Sumatra is one of the highest growing regions on Indonesia. Growing agricultural activity including in palm oil, pulp and rubber sectors has caused large scale deforestation in the region. The province is roughly the size of Portugal.

IDH works intensively in South Sumatra with its palm oil, pulp and paper, coffee, and landscape programs.

The South Sumatra governor will continue to talk about his green growth plans for his province in Paris at the Climate Summit for Local Leaders on the 4th December. On the 6th he will participate in sessions at the Global Landscapes Forum and on December 7th he will present his plans at the Indonesia Pavilion.