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The United States Government and the Government of Indonesia began discussions in January toward conclusion of a second debt-for-nature agreement. The U.S. Tropical Forest Conservation Act, or TFCA, provides grants to support activities such as conserving protected forest areas, improving natural resource management and supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities that rely on forests. The U.S Department of the Treasury has provisionally set aside more than $19 million for the treatment of eligible debt.
The first TFCA agreement with Indonesia, signed on June 30, 2009, will reduce the country's debt payments to the U.S. Government by nearly $30 million over 8 years. In return, the Government of Indonesia will commit these funds to support grants to protect and restore tropical forests in Sumatra. The agreement was the largest debt-for-nature swap under the TFCA thus far and was made possible through contributions of $20 million by the U.S. Government and a combined donation of $2 million from Conservation International and the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation.
To date, 13 countries have entered into debt-for-nature agreements under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act. These are: Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jamaica, Panama, which has 2 agreements, Paraguay, Peru, which also has 2 agreements, and the Philippines. Over time, these 15 debt-for-nature programs will together generate more than $218 million to protect tropical forests.
The United States is committed to working with Indonesia and other nations to help protect tropical forests and the rich diversity of life they sustain.