EU Envoy Departs for Aceh Visit

The European Union’s ambassador to Indonesia, Vincent Guérend, set off for a three-day visit to Aceh on Monday, according to the EU Mission in Jakarta.

The visit is aimed at obtaining first-hand impressions and information on recent developments in the country’s northernmost province and to inspect EU-funded forestry management projects, the mission said in a statement on Monday.

As part of his itinerary, the ambassador will meet local stakeholders in government, parliament and civil society, including provincial secretary Helfizar Ibrahim, Aceh Council Deputy Speaker Teuku Irwan Djohan and Sabang Mayor Nazaruddin.

“The EU has had a long-standing engagement with Aceh providing considerable funds for post-tsunami reconstruction, extensive support to the Aceh peace process and assistance to ensure the protection and preservation of large forest areas including Leuser National Park.

“The EU has worked very closely with Aceh, particularly in the support of climate change mitigation efforts through forest conservation and better planning, so that Aceh can become a model showing that forest conservation and development can coexist,” Guérend said in the statement.

During the visit, the envoy is expected to also announce the successful completion of the 6.5 million euro (US$7.3 million) “Support to Indonesia’s Climate Change Response” project that the EU funded over the 2016-2019 period.

The project has facilitated the drafting of regulations, such as the regent’s decree in Pidie district allowing the utilization of state village funds for forest protection and conservation as well as for the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) initiative, the first ever adopted in Indonesia.

Guérend is also expected to visit the Forest Management Unit (FMU) in Sabang, Weh Island, to discuss success stories of the Dynamic Agroforestry (DAF) approach, which shows that economic development “can be done in a sustainable way without harming or destroying Aceh’s forest”, the statement reads.