Balikpapan Challenge Brings Local Governments together With International Experts to Solve Tropical Deforestation

The GCF Task Force Launches the Global Steering Committee

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Delegates from the Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force subnational governments in Colombia, Brazil, Indonesia, Peru and Mexico have teamed up with supply chain stakeholders, civil society, foundations, and donors to launch a Global Steering Committee on Agricultural Production and Tropical Deforestation to support the Balikpapan Challenge.  Launched at the 2017 GCF Task Force Annual Meeting in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, the Balikpapan Challenge seeks to bring commitments to action in the fight against tropical deforestation and climate change.  The initiative is uniquely positioned as a bottom-up approach that is led by the governments of producer regions worldwide.

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The Global Steering Committee held its first official meeting on March 28, 2018. It seeks to advance new partnerships in GCF jurisdictions that tackle commodity-driven deforestation and secure jurisdictional sourcing deals by 2020.  It will support strategies that are already under development in GCF states and provinces and work to link those efforts with regional and international processes, such as the Accountability Framework and TFA2020. The Committee is now establishing working groups to support jurisdictional sourcing agreements and to foster global consensus on how best to define progress in solving deforestation. The work of the Global Steering Committee will feed directly into regional and state-level strategies in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Peru that are supported by the GCF Task Force Secretariat in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme REDD+ Team in Geneva.

Lorenzo Vargas represents Caquetá, Colombia, on the Steering Committee, and described it as an opportune space where representatives of local governments, donors and the private sector can find convergence between agricultural production and environmental concerns in supporting low emission rural development.  According to Mr. Vargas, “Caquetá believes that it is important to foster alliances that support investments in productive activities that reduce deforestation, and we hope to advance in this vision with the Steering Committee".

The Steering Committee is co-convened by the GCF Secretariat and Earth Innovation Institute, with participation from Beatriz Domeniconi, (Executive Coordinator, the Sustainable Beef Working Group, Brazil-GTPS), Bjorn Thomsen (CEO, Denofa), Darrel Webber (CEO, the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil), Jeff Milder (Chief Scientist, Rainforest Alliance), Juliana Lopes (Director of Sustainability, Communications and Compliance, AMAGGI), Nick Major (President, The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation, FEFAC), Ruaraidh Petre (Director, Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef), Ruth Nussbaum (Director, ProForest), Sabine Miltner (Program Director, Conservation and Markets Initiatives, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), Tim Clairs (Principal Technical Advisor, the United Nations Development Programme), and Vedis Vik (the Government of Norway) and Unilever.

GCF Task Force member government delegates on the Steering Committee include Lorenzo Vargas (Advisor to Director of Planning, Caquetá, Colombia), André Baby (Secretary of Environment, Mato Grosso), Rafael Robles (Climate Change Director, Quintana Roo, Mexico), Jose Enrique Delgado Mesia (Manager of Regional Economic Development, San Martin, Peru), Cesar Elias Talledo Mendoza (Coordinator of NorBosques, Piura, Peru), and Prof. Daddy Ruhiyat (Chairman, Provincial Climate Change Council, East Kalimantan, Indonesia).

For information, contact: Dan Nepstad ( or Luke Pritchard (
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Launched in 2008 by ten Governors from Brazil, Indonesia, and the U.S., the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) was designed to advance jurisdiction-wide approaches to addressing tropical deforestation and promote low emissions development. Since 2008, the GCF has more than tripled its membership (from 10 to 38) and expanded its reach to include jurisdictions from ten countries (Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States). More here:

Launched at the 2017 GCF Annual Meeting, the Balikpapan Challenge seeks to support the Rio Branco Declaration by bringing commitments to action through a global framework to address tropical deforestation through two pillars of action. The first pillar focuses on Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities and is working to establish dialogue and partnerships between government and forest communities to ensure low emission development is equitable and recognizes the rights of these communities. The other, focusing on Agricultural Production and Tropical Deforestation, capitalizes on synergies between corporate supply chain pledges, sustainability certification systems and jurisdictional programs to reduce deforestation.

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