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New Foundation Launches To Provide Innovative Financing Solution For Rainforest Protection

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Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP) has initiated the establishment of a new independent organisation, the Belantara Foundation, that will  create an innovative new direct funding platform to protect rainforests.  This new funding mechanism will channel both public and private sector finance direct to local communities and other actors implementing forest conservation projects.

The announcement coincided with the Global Landscape Forum in Paris which is taking place as part of the UN climate talks during COP21, to draw attention to the urgent need to protect the world’s remaining forests.

Belantara’s mission will be to provide a direct channel to protect and support Indonesian forests for the billions of dollars of financing for forest conservation that have been pledged worldwide. When its full remit is announced in 2016 the foundation will be able to receive funding from both the public and private sector, with governance standards, safeguards and a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system that gives funders confidence their money is being put to good use.

The new platform builds on APP’s experience of working with government and non-government actors on landscape-wide conservation and restoration projects in Indonesia. It seeks to draw on the partnerships that APP have established with government funded programmes such as the landscape approach programme in South Sumatra province , with the aim of finding synergies with  programmes of this type and collaborating with these actors in landscapes across Indonesia.

The foundation will have a clear governance structure and arm’s length agreement with APP, who will be guaranteeing a long-term grant to fund its initial activities.  The new foundation will provide both a coordination and supervisory function for different actors in the landscape and achieve its objectives by allocating funds to NGOs, local communities and other organisations involved in delivering projects. All activities will have the ultimate aim of protecting and restoring Indonesian rainforests.

“Billions of dollars have been pledged around the globe for forest conservation, but too little of it has made a real impact on the ground. We want to use our leverage and reach as the largest private concession holder in Indonesia to create a platform that will be independent and accountable but which will also provide an effective means of channelling some of this funding to real projects that make a difference in protecting and restoring Indonesia’s rainforests. We will start by investing our own funds in the platform but hope that in a short time others will follow,” said Aida Greenbury (pictured), Managing Director of Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement at APP.

Belantara along with the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Yapeka, APP and other partners, has produced a landscape conservation master plan to act as a guide for all partner groups implementing projects. With the input of key stakeholders, the foundation has identified ten priority landscapes, where APP and its suppliers have commercial forestry based operations and are among the most ecologically valuable, yet simultaneously threatened in Indonesia. These will form the initial focus of the foundation’s work to support the protection and restoration of local ecosystems while advancing sustainable development within communities. These landscapes are a mix of ecosystems dominated by wetlands, including mangrove forests, peat swamp forests, and freshwater swamp forests, together with lowland rainforests and heath forests.

The Foundation is uniquely placed to be able to work with a diverse group of stakeholders and stimulate collaboration and coordination amongst all parties engaged in conservation projects in the ten landscapes identified across Sumatra and Kalimantan. The Foundation will also allocate funding to initiatives that share similar landscape scale conservation objectives.  These plans will be unveiled in more detail in early 2016.

This new commitment is in addition to APP’s existing pledge to support the protection and restoration  of 1 million hectares of forest landscapes and to channel and coordinate USD $10 million a year of in-kind and financial support into forest conservation across Indonesia, announced in 2014. Earlier this week at the Indonesian Pavilion at COP21, APP also announced a community based agro-forestry programme for 500 communities in Indonesia.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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