FAO in Indonesia

GEF approves over USD 78 million to support FAO-led projects, USD 8 million allocated for Indonesia

Eel harvest by members of the MinSidat Bersatu Cooperative assisted by the IFish Project in Cilacap, Central Java © FAO Indonesia / Yohanes Jaya

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed the recent decision by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council to approve 13 FAO-led projects in 16 countries, totaling some $78.5 million dollars.  

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided more than $21.1 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $114 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 projects in 170 countries. 

The GEF- FAO projects address global environmental crises that impact the productivity and sustainability of agricultural systems on land and water across five continents. They will be implemented in partnership with and co-financed by the governments of the countries involved: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Benin, Brazil, Chile, Fiji, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Vanuatu, and Venezuela. 

The approved projects provide pathways for countries to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while building the long-term resilience against future shocks caused by increasing climate risk and environmental degradation.  

Projects will assist countries and communities to adopt more sustainable and climate-resilient practices, enact stronger policies to conserve biodiversity and natural resources on land and water, and foster policy coherence and transboundary cooperation. 

"There is an urgent need to create pathways for building back better and greener, and the partnership between FAO and the GEF is creating opportunities for countries and communities to build more inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life," said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. 

The approved projects will directly benefit 480,000 people, restore over 340,000 hectares of degraded land, improve the management of nearly 7.4 million hectares of landscapes and 5.2 million hectares of terrestrial and marine protected areas, and mitigate 12.4 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. 

IFish and ISLME projects in Indonesia 

There are two projects in Indonesia that are covered by the GEF –FAO namely IFish and ISLME (Indonesia Sea Large Marine Ecosytem).   IFish, a USD 6.1 million project, is a joint FAO project with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) for mainstreaming the conservation of terrestrial biodiversity and sustainable use of inland fisheries practices in terrestrial aquatic ecosystems with high conservation value. 

The IFish project is the largest inland fishery project in Indonesia, which are generally cultivated by small-scale industries and communities along the watershed. In 2018, at least 965,756 fishing families worked on inland fisheries throughout Indonesia. This shows the importance of inland fisheries in fulfilling people's welfare and food security. 

 IFish has five demonstration areas in Indonesia targeting high-value fish in each region including: Eel in Java (Cilacap and Sukabumi), Arowana and Beje fisheries in Kalimantan (South Barito and Kapuas), and Belida in Sumatra (Kampar). 

Apart from IFish, together with the MMAF, FAO is also running a project on the management of the Indonesia Sea Large Marine Ecosystem. ISLME is located at the heart of the waters and the border area of ​​the islands of Indonesia and Timor-Leste.  The management has been developed as a regional project implemented by two countries covering 213 million hectares of water territory that is included in ISLME. 

The ISLME project is worth a total of USD 4 million which is allocated mostly for Indonesian waters.  The area is located in the heart of the biogeographical area of ​​the western Indo-Pacific ocean, which has the richest marine species in the world.  There are 500 species of coral reefs, 2,500 species of marine fish, 47 types of mangroves and 13 species of seagrass. 

There are 16 provinces in Indonesia which are side by side or part of the ISLME area. However, the ISLME project prioritized only six locations as the pilot projects including the Java Sea (WPP 712), East Kalimantan waters (WPP 713), Flores Sea waters in East Flores, NTT, and Lombok Waters (WPP 714/573). 

The Indonesian government through the MMAF hopes that these areas can develop important commodities such as lobsters, mud crabs, groupers, snapper to small crab.   Millions of fishermen who live in the ISLME area depend heavily on the coastal and marine industries including fisheries, aquaculture, oil and gas production, transportation, and tourism. (END)