JAKARTA: Indonesia has received an injection of cash from the United Nation's Green Climate Fund to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle forest fires at a time when the country has had to scale back spending in the area due to COVID-19 budget pressures.
The US$103.8 million fund was granted under the REDD+ programme, a UN-backed forestry conservation scheme to tackle climate change, based on progress Indonesia made from 2014 to 2016, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said.
"Controlling forest fires is an important part in reducing deforestation," she told a virtual briefing on Thursday (Aug 27) without specifying how the money would be spent.
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In June, an environment ministry official said there had been a 50 per cent budget cut for the team that finds fires and helps put them out.
Fires, often set to clear land for palm oil plantations in the worlds top producer of the commodity, were the most damaging in years in 2019.
Between January and July this year around 64,000ha of land has been burned, compared with 137,000ha over the same period last year, according to ministry data.
However, analysis of satellite data showed the forest land thought to have been cleared in the first 24 weeks of 2020 was even higher than the same period last year.