Indonesia and Norway plan to launch new pact to curb deforestation

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JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia and Norway have agreed to start a new partnership to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation in the Southeast Asian country, officials said on Monday, after Jakarta ended a similar pact last year citing a lack of payments.

Indonesia, home to a third of the world's rainforests, has lost large swathes of forest due to the expansion of crops such as palm oil but the government has said the deforestation rate has slowed and that balance is needed to allow development.

Indonesia's environment minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar and her Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding in Jakarta on a new agreement.

The new forest and climate partnership encompasses a results-based model, where Indonesia sets the strategy and manages the funds, while Norway contributes annual results-based financial contributions for Indonesia's emission reductions, the Norwegian government said.

Eide said Norway would disburse contributions based on verified emission reductions from deforestation and forest degradation in 2016 to 2020 under the existing measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) protocol.

"Contribution for results generated in 2020-2021 onwards will be based on updated MRV protocol," Eide said.

The first such payment amounting to $56 million for emission reductions in the August 2016 to July 2017 period, could be paid once a contribution agreement is established, Eide said.

Indonesia in 2021 severed its deal with Norway due to a lack of payment after Jakarta said it had met its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 11.2 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions in 2016-2017.

During climate talks in Glasgow last year, Indonesia declined to back a plan to end deforestation by 2030 but pledged a "carbon net sink" in its forestry sector by then, meaning that the sector will absorb more greenhouse gas emissions than it emits by the end of the decade.

"The MOU is also to emphasize the importance of deliverables tangible and direct benefits for the community and for the progress of Indonesia in pursuant to the prevailing governance," said Indonesia's Siti.

(Reporting by Bernadette Christina; Editing by Ed Davies)