Indonesian president backs sustainable forest management

BOGOR, Indonesia — Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahidbacked international calls for sustainable management of the nation’s forests duringa meeting with officials from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

"Forests are a living place for people, not merely forexploitation," President Wahid told the CIFOR delegation, led by itsdirector-general, Professor Jeff Sayer. The discussions focused on the need for developingcountries to reaffirm national responsibility for sustainable management of their ownforests.

Prof. Sayer advised the president that recent research conducted inIndonesia and elsewhere had shown that forests depend on the involvement of local peoplein their management if both the forests and nearby communities are to benefit. CIFORpledged to cooperate closely with Indonesian institutions and draw upon its internationalexperience in developing forest-management policies. He said his organization washeartened by the new Indonesian government’s commitment to sustainable forestmanagement. "I can only praise President Wahid for giving great attention to forestryso early in his mandate, for recognizing the vital importance of the country’sforests and for his commitment to managing them wisely as environmental wealth and as asource of sustained social and economic prosperity," Professor Sayer said.

Vice-President Megawati Sukarnoputri also received Prof. Sayer andthe CIFOR delegation. Minister of Forestry and Estate Crops Nurmachmudi Ismail was presentat the CIFOR meetings with both the President and Vice President.

CIFOR – the only global organization based in Indonesia – isan international policy and research organization established in 1993. Its staff of 60scientists conducts socioeconomic, policy and technical research on forest issuesthroughout the tropical world. It has activities in 38 countries and major offices inBrazil, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. CIFOR is headquartered in Bogor, southeast of Jakarta.