The USAID LESTARI Program launch in Aceh was attended by the USAID/Indonesia Environmental Office Director, John Hansen, and Director of Forestry and Water Resources at BAPPENAS, Basah Hernowo. The event was organized by the Provincial Forestry Office and include a range of relevant non-government and government stakeholders, such as members of the Forest Management Unit (KPH) III, V and VI.
The launch of the USAID LESTARI program in Aceh highlight the importance of conserving the Leuser ecosystem and the valuable forest and biodiversity resources that it harbors. This is crucial for 16Indonesia’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions from the land-use sector as part of the Paris Accord. It is also crucial for the people of Aceh whose livelihoods depend on the Leuser ecosystem and the environmental services that it provides.
One of USAID LESTARI’s primary initiative in this landscape is the collaborative management of Leuser National Park and Singkil Wildlife Sanctuary. The area is home to carbon-rich forests and key, globally valued species such as the orangutan. The co-management initiative involves bringing together park management staff, local government, communities, and private sector concessions in order to optimize the conservation of this important ecosystem. As part of this initiative, USAID LESTARI supports the implementation of the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT), an innovative and data-driven tool aimed at improving monitoring, detection, and enforcement efforts in protected areas.
USAID LESTARI’s work in the Leuser Landscape also focuses on engaging with communities to assess and develop sustainable livelihoods. Working together with the KPH, USAID LESTARI identifies priority villages based on watershed boundaries and assesses commodities for livelihood development. This work aims to promote local economic development while reducing encroachment pressures on forested areas.