The Province of West Kalimantan covers an area of 147, 000 km and is home to 4.25 million people, including an estimated 3.5 million people living in its rural hinterland. The Province has a number of large rivers, the largest being the Kapuas which drains from the spectacular inland wetland of Lake Santarum within the biodiversity region know as the Heart of Borneo. Because of its strategic location within SE Asia the old capital of Pontianak grew as a port city and it and the other settlements along the Kapuas River contain trading communities from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds within a cultural matrix dominated by the indigenous Dayak who make up 35% of the population. Poverty is a significant issue with the HDI below the national average and average income across the Province at only USD 627 per year.
In 2008, the GDP for the Province was USD 2.9 million derived mainly from primary industries. The forest sector contributed about half of the GDP with a further USD1.35 million from the agricultural sector, reflecting a strong investment in estate crops particularly oil palm. Lowland tropical peats cover an area of 1.7 million ha and Conversion of forest lands on peats to estate crops and the proliferation of fire through the dry seasons has been a significant historical factor in the high levels of GHG emissions from the Province.
The national forest estate consists of an area of about 90 000 km² over half of which is zoned as permanent production forest. Only 5000 km² of the production forest designated for conversion remains attesting to the rapid expansion of estate crops in the Province. 23 000 km² are zoned for protection and a further 14,500 km² for conservation purposes within a network of national parks, nature reserves and wildlife reserves. The estimated carbon stock remaining in these forests is 1,600 Giga Tons CO₂e, over half of which is sequestered in the Production Forest. Future carbon dioxide emissions will likely be as a result of burning of converted peat soils and forest degradation.
West Kalimantan has been a member of the GCF since its foundation and has convened a REDD Working Group under the authority of the Governor. At this stage the Province has not enacted any specific legislation to facilitate REDD and other climate change programs but is proceeding in line with national legislation and policy related to reducing carbon emissions. The Province hosts several REDD projects including village level carbon pool assessments in the Districts of Ketapang and Kapuas Hulu, Ecosystem restoration over 90 000 ha in the Putri River and Lake Siawan Belidak in collaboration with FFI. There is also an FFI/Macquarie Bank REDD project and a demonstration activity supported by the German Government (Kfw-FORCLIM). USAID has also recently begun activities through their IFAD program in Ketapang. As elsewhere in the member provinces there is still to be developed a close working and learning collaboration between the provincial government and these REDD projects.