George Soros Hails Groundbreaking Agreement on Climate
OSLO—George Soros, member of the United Nations High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, today praised the pact reached by Indonesia and Norway as a key step towards safeguarding some of the world's most valuable rainforests.
The agreement calls for Norwegian and international support for Indonesia to halt deforestation and degradation and peat land conversion in the context of the REDD-plus strategy.
"The coming months are key. The agreement should be put into force and the remaining virgin forests-particularly on peat land-should be preserved," said Soros, who is also chair of the Open Society Institute. He underscored the need to mobilize additional sources of financing to compensate Indonesia for the opportunity and actual costs of preserving and restoring the tropical forests.
If the agreement were implemented promptly, Soros said he would be willing to join an international consortium to accelerate and help scale up the effort. He called on others countries to follow Norway's lead.
The agreement follows a pledge by Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Copenhagen last December to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent and to reduce it by a further 15 percent with international support.
In a practical demonstration of support, Soros announced that the Open Society Institute will finance an initiative to improve public heath, education, and microfinance in Papua, the site of Indonesia's biggest untouched peat forests. The program entails training Indonesians by BRAC, the renowned Bangladeshi organization that works to empower the world's poor.
Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Institute works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Institute supports justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.