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US cuts Indonesian debt for forest protection

US cuts Indonesian debt for forest protection

Indonesia committed to the conservation of its dwindling tropical forests in a multimillion dollar debt-swap deal signed Tuesday with the American government, the U.S. Embassy said.
Jakarta's payments to Washington will be reduced by $30 million over the next eight years under the U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act, the embassy said in a statement.
The Indonesian government will donate the money it saves to the charities Conservation International and the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation, which will deposit the money into a local forest conservation fund.
The agreement is the first of its kind in Indonesia and the largest ever under the debt-for-nature program set up by the United States in 1998, the statement said.
A dozen other countries have reached agreements worth $218 million, it said.
Indonesia agreed to "protect and restore" tropical forests, which are being torn down at an alarming rate for lumber, paper and oil palm plantations.
The loss of habitat is the main threat to endangered elephants, rhinos, orangutans and tigers on Sumatra island.
It was unclear what Indonesia's total debt to the United States is, but it has borrowed regularly to fund public financing.


Updated : 2020-12-03 19:39 GMT+08:00