World leaders have joined Indonesian President Joko Widodo in planting mangrove saplings in southern Bali. As part of the G20 Summit, world leaders joined together to plant mangrove trees in the reforestation project at the Ngurah Rai Grand Forest Park.
The theme of this year’s G20 event is Recovery Together, Recover Stronger, and Bali architect I Wayan Kastawan was enlisted to design a legacy project for the event. Kastawan is also a lecturer at Udayana University and told reporters it was a race against time to create and regenerate the mangrove forest. He told reporters, “Our hope is that with the G20 mangrove showcase, our awareness will grow on how world life is related to climate change. As we know, the ozone layer is depleting, and sea levels are rising”.
President Widodo was accompanied by Joe Biden, Narendra Modi, and Ursula Von Leyer as a part of the event. There were other leaders and delegates involved in the planting too. The planting team all wore white shirts, donned their spades, and planted the saplings after receiving instructions from one of the environmental teams at the mangrove forest project. The event was designed to demonstrate the unity between the G20 nations and their commitment to climate change. Though many online have called out the hypocrisy of any climate ledges from G20 leaders who all flew into Bali on private plans, many have also taken private charter flights to COP27 in Eygpt and the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia just days before the G20.
The Chief of Presidential Staff at the G20 Media Center, Moeldoko, told reporters “The visit of the President and the leaders of the G20 countries to Tahura shows strong evidence of joint work in dealing with climate change whose impacts can threaten global prosperity and development”.
Mangrove forests are considered to be one of the most important ecosystems when it comes to sequestering carbon. Indonesia is home to 92 different mangrove species, and the existing mangrove forests in the county absorb 3.1 billion tons of carbon. Indonesia is home to 23% of the world’s mangrove forests, and the reforestation project in Bali has become a flagship conservation initiative on the island.
World leaders all appeared to enjoy the tree-planting ceremony and paused for a photo call after the event. One set of mangrove sampling was planted in the shape of ‘G20’. Ursula von Der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, was photographed smiling with President Widodo as they planted the saplings. In an Instagram post shared shortly after the event, she wrote
“Congratulations, @jokowi for a successful @g20org summit. The leading economies are tackling global challenges – food security and energy, climate change, debt relief. The G20 remains an essential forum for global cooperation”.
The Ngurah Rai Grand Forest Park has undergone an enormous renovation project led by I Wayan Kastawan, his team from Udayana University, and their partners from the Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan. Not only has the mangrove tree nursery been developed and hundreds of mangrove trees planted, but the whole area has also been developed to support more visitors. There are hopes that once the G20 is over, the Ngurah Rai Grand Forest Park can thrive as an eco-tourism project after a long period of being closed to the public.
Officials in Bali and across Indonesia are keen to promote sustainable tourism that highlights the natural and cultural heritage of the country, the Ngurah Rai Grand Forest Park is a great opportunity to do that.
An impressive elliptical wooden building has been constructed as a visitor and information center, and raised walkways have been installed so visitors can access more remote parts of the forest. Kastawan told reporters that he hopes that, with time, the mangrove forest can become a source of inspiration for conservation and development projects worldwide.
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