JAKARTA - SENIOR officials from Norway and Indonesia were meeting in Jakarta yesterday to assess progress in executing a US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) climate deal that would impose a two-year moratorium on the clearing of natural forests.

Norway's Environment Minister Erik Solheim has already expressed optimism that Indonesia could match Brazil's 'fantastic' success in slowing deforestation provided it received more aid from other developed countries.

Norway has signed a US$1 billion climate deal with Indonesia, under which Jakarta agreed to impose a two-year ban on new permits to clear natural forests. Norway has released US$30 million of the funds, with the bulk to be paid out later after Indonesia proves greenhouse gas emissions have gone down and an independent audit is done.

'US$1 billion is a huge amount of money but Indonesia needs quite substantially more to be able to conserve and sustainably manage its forests,' Mr Solheim told Reuters in an interview yesterday.

'The United States should come in, Japan, other European nations could come into this scheme to make it robust enough,' he added.

So far, Norway has been the biggest donor in the protection of tropical forests. At last year's Copenhagen climate summit, the United States, Australia, France, Japan, Britain and Norway agreed to provide a combined US$3.5 billion from this year to 2012 to help save forests.

Meeting to ban deforestation