23-25 April 2018 - Yogyakarta, Indonesia

APRS 2018: As it happened

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Themed “Protecting forests and people, supporting economic growth,” the 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit (APRS) brought together more than 1,200 participants from over 40 countries to focus on conservation, livelihoods and investment over three days of international dialogue and knowledge-sharing in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

The 3rd APRS was hosted by the Indonesian Government with the support of the Australian Government and in partnership with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and took place from 23 to 25 April 2018.

APRS was officially opened by H.E. Siti Nurbaya, Indonesian Minister of Environment and Forestry, and the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, Australian Minister of Environment and Energy. Both ministers highlighted the progress of conservation efforts that have been made in the region, but they also stressed the need to continue working toward ambitious environmental goals.

“With the collected and concerted efforts in our own countries and through our international partnerships, we are making progress. The hard work we have done together is starting to bear fruit,” Frydenberg said. “We need to maintain this momentum and step up the pace of change if we are going to protect our forests and people, while securing economic growth.”


After the opening ceremony, statements were made by regional ministers and other high-level speakers. The first day of APRS included two high-level panels: one on forests in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the other on operationalizing REDD+ at the subnational level.

Both panels concluded that including forests in NDCs is absolutely necessary, and that in addition to considering forests, governments need to work with a multitude of stakeholders. The second high-level panel added a financial aspect, with panelists stressing that governments need to think about funding for tomorrow and further into the future.


The second day consisted of four parallel sessions in the morning and four in the afternoon. The sessions tackled the 2018 APRS subthemes:

Across all of the themes, cooperation between all stakeholders was the main message. Also mentioned in many of the sessions was good governance and strong law enforcement.

During the peatlands policy and implementation sessions, panelists concluded that political commitment, coordinated action, policy regulation and law enforcement are needed to develop good policies that can be implemented efficiently.

In the Forest Finance, Investment and Trade panel, speakers highlighted the need for early cooperation between governments, investors, civil and private society, and other stakeholders to make financing work.

The Production Forests session fell in line with the main points of the day, while also tackling the issue of illegal logging and trade – which the panelists said was a problem for both producers and consumers. To curb illegal logging, the speakers said consumers, including China, would have to pledge to buy and use legal timber products.

During the Mangroves and Blue Carbon session, panelists discussed the potential of including mangroves and blue carbon in Indonesia’s NDCs, as well as their potential for financial incentives, like payments for ecosystem services (PES).

Community Forestry and the Ecotourism and Conservation of Biodiversity sessions brought in the community angle. In the two Community Forestry panels, speakers talked about the need for government support and business-to-business partnerships. They also highlighted the role of trust and good relationships at the community level to encourage conflict resolution, and that social inclusion and gender equity need to be taken into account.

During the Ecotourism and Conservation of Biodiversity panel, Wiranto, Director General of Nature Conservation and Ecosystems at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, also pointed to an important role for local people.

“Community needs to be the center,” he said. “Starting from the beginning, we need to sit down with the local communities.”


On the last day of APRS, participants were treated to field trips to Merapi National Park and KPHP Kayu Putih. The trip to Merapi featured the natural restoration of the area after the 2010 volcanic eruption, while the kayu putih field trip showed visitors how kayu putih essential oil is made, from harvesting the plants to extracting and processing the oil.

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