The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Bringing Borneo into global climate change conversations

‘Climate change pioneers’ is hardly what the fishermen and rubber tappers of Buntoi envisaged they would one day become.

Yet, with the opening of Indonesia's first Climate Communications Centre right in their village, this is precisely what their community has turned into.

Buntoi is a remote village of nearly 3,000 ethnic Dayaks, tucked deep into the dense tropical forests of Central Kalimantan province, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia. Central Kalimantan is one of the poorest areas in Indonesia – nearly 40 percent of its inhabitants live in poverty. The province's organic wetlands are under threat from heavy logging and unsustainable agricultural practices, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide and significantly contribute to Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions.

Sharing knowledge in favour of the environment

Installing solar panels on the roof of the centre. © UNOPS/John Girsang

In 2012, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia and UNOPS launched a project to build a Climate Communications Centre in Central Kalimantan. The project was launched to help combat illegal logging, preserve existing forests and organic wetlands, and provide communities with alternative livelihoods.

Implemented by UNOPS with funding from the Government of Norway, the project has created a space where local people can connect with each other and the outside world, share information, and increase their resilience to climate change. It allows local communities to benefit from global and intergenerational knowledge-sharing on climate issues, and sustainable ways to preserve the environment.

100 percent of this building's energy needs comes from the sun, which makes it a model for sustainable energy supply.

John Girsang - UNOPS Construction Manager

Leading by example

Officially opened in September 2013, the Climate Communications Centre is an environmentally-friendly facility built by locals with local materials, incorporating traditional Dayak design and fully run on solar power.

Working closely with local stakeholders and national and international organizations, UNOPS provided procurement services and technical guidance to local contractors and labourers involved in the project.

REDD+ Initiative

Local community members attend a presentation on REDD+ at the centre. © UNOPS/John Girsang

The communications centre is part of broader efforts  to combat climate change in Indonesia through the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme, a $1 billion partnership between Indonesia and Norway aimed at cutting Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions. REDD+ is a global initiative to tackle climate change by providing communities with incentives to preserve forests and engage in sustainable practices.

In response to extensive logging and mining in the province, Central Kalimantan was selected as a pilot for REDD+ projects to help reduce deforestation, forest degradation and carbon emissions, and reinforce the central and provincial governments' commitment to mitigating climate change. In late 2013, the communications centre hosted a REDD+ partnership event attended by some 75 partner countries.

In this centre our people can exchange information about climate change with government, local authorities and international experts.

Tambang Arah - Buntoi village leader

UNOPS and sustainability

The project is in line with UNOPS commitment to sustainable social, environmental and economic development. UNOPS is party to the agreement signed between the Government of Indonesia and the United Nations to coordinate REDD+ in the country. This is one of the first REDD+ projects by the United Nations, which reinforced its commitment to advancing this programme at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland in November 2013.


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