Indonesia committed to manage forests and energy: President

Antara 2 Dec 15;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is committed to managing forests sustainably and accelerating the use of renewable energy, President Joko Widodo stated.

"The use of renewable energy is expected to reach 23 percent by 2025, and electrification in rural areas will reach 100 percent in 2019," President Widodo stated at a press conference here on Wednesday.

Indonesias commitment was conveyed by President Widodo during a meeting of the heads of state and government at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21).

The commitment was presented along with 17 other countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The promise was delivered by the president as the lives of one billion people are directly related to the forests, while six billion are indirectly affected by forest-related issues.

With regard to the use of renewable energy, President Jokowi stressed Indonesias commitment to accelerate the use of renewable energy.

"Indonesia has a clear policy direction on the use of renewable energy," he noted.

The president urged developed countries to reduce emissions and increase international cooperation as well as to contribute on climate change issues.

On the sidelines of the conference, President Widodo held bilateral meetings with 13 heads of state and government from the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Peru, Vietnam, Iran, the Philippines, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Madagascar, and Mexico.

During the meeting, the president held a discussion on concrete efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation with friendly countries.

Around 150 heads of state and government were present to offer political support for an agreement to cope with global warming.

President Widodo and First Lady Iriana arrived at the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, Jakarta, at 10 a.m. local time after visiting Paris, France, to attend the COP-21 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

President Widodo had earlier expressed hope that the climate meeting in Paris would end with an ambitious agreement to make the earth a better place and to improve the peoples welfare.

"Reaching an agreement in Paris is a must. I hope we are all part of a solution to make the earth a more convenient place for our children and grandchildren," Jokowi told 147 heads of state and government during the Leaders Event here on Monday.

He said the Paris climate agreement should reflect balance and justice in line with the nations priorities and capability to ensure sustainable development though not affecting the growth of developing countries.

"In order to arrive at an agreement in Paris, all countries, especially advanced nations, should contribute to mitigation and adaptation efforts," he remarked.

The contribution could be through the mobilization of US$100 billion financing until 2020 to be increased in the coming years along with the transfer of environmentally friendly technology and capacity expansion.

As one of the countries having the largest forests that serve as the lungs of the world, Indonesia chose to be part of a solution, the president affirmed.

"I am here to lend strong political support for the success of the COP-21," he added.(*)

RI looks to developed world for help
Ina Parlina and M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post 2 Dec 15;

Shortly before leaving the COP21 climate talks in Paris to return home, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed optimism that developed countries would do more to help the developing world cut carbon emissions.

“From what I saw in the bilateral talks, a good number of countries will be willing to help us [address climate change issues], for example [by improving cooperation in] energy, peatland restoration and forest conservation. I believe there is reason to be optimistic,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

The assistance of developed nations, Jokowi said, would be crucial for developing nations to balance economic growth and action on climate change.

At past conferences in Copenhagen in 2009 and in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010, developed countries committed to raising US$100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries deal with climate change.

“We want to see development take environmental concerns into account. We must ensure high economic growth does not come at the expense of environmental preservation. We must find a balance between the two,” Jokowi said.

He added, however, that a planned new peatland management body his delegation had hinted would be unveiled in Paris would have to wait another week.

The President also declined to say who would chair the body.

Earlier on Tuesday, during a panel discussion attended by the Prince of Wales, Alliance of Indigenous People (AMAN) chairman Abdon Nababan expressed his disappointment at Jokowi’s refusal to make a quick decision on the peatland management body.

In his speech to the opening of COP21 on Monday, Jokowi vowed that he would ensure his administration would pay more attention to the environment at the same time as ensuring economic growth, saying that Indonesia, which contains one of the largest expanses of forest in the world and is deemed part of the “lungs of the world”, had resolved to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.

He also renewed Indonesia’s commitment, laid out in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), to reduce its carbon emissions by 29 percent by 2030, or 41 percent with international support.

One of the government’s most important recent measures, he said, was cutting fuel subsidies and reallocating the funds to infrastructure development.

During COP21, the Indonesian delegation is looking to seal an agreement that countries will be allowed to decide their own climate initiatives according to their capabilities.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said Indonesia would push for the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

The principle, first agreed in 1992, recognizes that countries at different stages of development have different obligations in dealing with climate change.

“Indonesia’s stance, which is translated into our INDC of 29 percent or 41 percent, came after weighing three considerations, namely Indonesia’s strategic position as the home of a great swathe of forests, its geography, which makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and the consideration that Indonesia [as a developing country] needs room for economic development,” Retno said.

Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that given the recognized dangers of fossil fuels, hopes for future prosperity in the developing world now rested on bold initiatives.


Jokowi optimistic about developed nations` support to handle environmental issues
Antara 2 Dec 15;

Paris (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is convinced that developed nations will assist Indonesia in reducing global warming and carbon emissions following the 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) in Paris.

"Judging by the results of our bilateral meetings, many countries will help us handle environmental problems through renewable energy, peatland restoration and forest conservation. I am optimistic (about the assistance)," the President said shortly before returning to Jakarta on Tuesday.

He said Indonesias participation in the COP-21 is to lend strong political support to the success of the UN climate change conference.

"The strong political support means that we want to implement our development programs by always complying with the concept of environmental conservation," he said.

Therefore, he added, the government will not pursue higher economic growth at the expense of the environment.

"Both of them must continue on an equal footing," he said.

The President said a plan to set up a peat ecosystem restoration body will be realized next week.

As an island state, Indonesia is among the countries most affected by the impact of climate change. To this end, Indonesia has prepared documents and plans to unveil a special mission during the climate change conference.

"We will continue to urge the developed nations to take the lead and assist developing countries in overcoming global warming, such as undertaking efforts to reduce carbon emissions through technology transfer," spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Arrmanatha Nasir remarked.

Indonesia is committed to reducing 29 percent of its emissions in 2030 through its own endeavors, and by 41 percent through international assistance. It has also reduced its emissions by adopting measures in the energy sector. It has shifted from using fuel oil in the manufacturing sector and has increased the use of renewable energy by 23 percent in 2015. (*)


Jokowi in hot seat to halt rapid deforestation
David Fogarty, Straits Times AsiaOne 3 Dec 15;

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has come under pressure at major United Nations-led climate talks in Paris to do more to halt rapid deforestation and step up efforts to tackle annual forest and land fires.

His closely-watched address on Monday to more than 150 other world leaders and thousands of delegates was a disappointment to many non-governmental organisastions (NGOs). In his speech, he announced no new measures to preserve Indonesia's dwindling rainforests, which are being cleared mainly to expand agriculture, mining and infrastructure.

It was hoped that he would announce a detailed presidential instruction, currently under negotiation by his government, that would further protect and restore Indonesia's badly degraded carbon-rich peatlands.

Mr Joko's speech was "no worse but certainly no better than most of the others", said Mr Doug Boucher, director of Tropical Forests & Climate Initiative, of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists think-tank.

"It didn't have a really major announcement and it didn't have a recognition that the world was expecting Indonesia to do more," he told The Straits Times yesterday on the sidelines of the climate conference, where forests are seen as a key way to put the brakes on climate change.

There is still hope that Mr Jokowi will announce a more detailed set of rules that includes plans to re-wet large areas of dried-out peat and to block up an estimated 2 million km of canals that companies and illegal loggers have built to drain peatlands.

In his speech, Mr Joko told delegates his government has moved to restore peat by establishing a peat restoration agency. This had previously been announced.

"His landmark pledge to protect and restore peatlands, if given the force of law, could do much towards cutting Indonesia's emissions," Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Teguh Surya said in a statement.

"But by failing to announce any new protection for forests, he is allowing the juggernaut of deforestation to roll on, guaranteeing future bouts of devastating forest fires."

Since 1990, Indonesia has lost 31 million ha of rainforest, an area nearly the size of Germany.

Indonesia has the world's third-largest extent of tropical rainforests and the majority of tropical peatlands. When cleared and drained, the peatland releases large amounts of planet-warming greenhouse gases over decades. Draining them also primes them for intense fires that can burn for weeks, releasing a thick choking haze.

This year's fires propelled Indonesia to become the biggest carbon polluter after the United States and China.

NGOs also point to Indonesia's perennial problem of poor law enforcement.

"If Indonesia's emission reduction targets are to be seen as credible, the Jokowi administration must step up law enforcement," Rainforest Foundation Norway's head of South-east Asia and Oceania Division Anja Lillegraven said in an e-mail yesterday.

Indonesia has pledged to reduce emissions by 29 per cent from business-as-usual levels by 2030.

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