Indonesia: NGO hopes no gap between president`s speech and reality

Antara 4 Dec 15;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias Environmental Forum (Walhi) has hoped that there would be no gap between the presidents speech at the Paris Climate Change Conference and the on-field reality in regions across Indonesia.

"If we compare what the president conveyed in his speech at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC in Paris) and the national economic development policy, there is a huge gap," Kurniawan Sabar, Walhis executive campaign manager, noted in a statement here, Thursday.

With such a huge gap, Indonesias commitment conveyed by President Jokowi would be meaningless.

Instead of implementing adaptive measures against the impacts of climate change, Indonesias coastal areas have been massively reclaimed for development projects that have disadvantaged the coastal population, particularly fishermen, he stated.

"It happened not only in Jakarta but also in other cities of Indonesia, such as reclamation projects in Benoa Bay in Bali, Palu Bay in Central Sulawesi, and in Makassar in South Sulawesi," he added.

Besides this, the countrys economic and development policies still rely on coal, "dirty energy," according to Sabar.

"How are we going to reduce emissions if we incessantly depend on coal? When are we going to shift to renewable energy?" Sabar questioned.

In the meantime, the climate change conference in Paris should provide the necessary momentum to increase the use of renewable energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, an industrialist remarked.

"Indonesia is rich in untapped sources of renewable energy, Bambang Sudomo, the president director of energy company PT Sumber Data Persada, pointed out.

Sudomo stated that the country has abundant sources of renewable energy such as geothermal that could be used to reduce consumption of fossil fuels.

Indonesia has the largest geothermal reserves in the world. The country has 40 percent of the global geothermal reserves.

The government plans to build geothermal power plants under the program to build power plants, with a total capacity of 35 thousand megawatts until 2019.(*)

Social forestry program helps Indonesia reduce gas emissions
Antara 4 Dec 15;

Paris (ANTARA News) - The social forestry program which gives people access to 12.7 million hectares of forests and the ability to manage it will help Indonesia reduce gas emissions, a forestry official said.

Director General of Social Forestry and Environmental Partnership at the Environment and Forestry Ministry Hadi Daryanto made the remarks during a panel discussion on customary community, social forestry and climate change, held on the sidelines of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) here on Friday.

Social forestry is one of the keys to solving how to effect a change in the way forests and land are managed as these have become the biggest gas emitting sources in Indonesia, he said.

"The (customary) community grows and keeps the forests because they harvest non-wood forest products and their economy relies on forest conservation," he said.

He said the Indonesian government has developed the program in association with the British government by setting up an institution called "Multistakeholder Forestry Programme" (MFP) to expedite the realization of social forestry program.

Towards this end, the Environment and Forestry Ministry has built a mapping system capable of producing 40 thousand polygons by involving 6,000 residents living inside the forests, he said.

"We also have 2,400 contact persons in the field to ensure that this program matches the target," he said.

The MFP has assisted local people not only in managing forests in the form of social forestry, rural forestry and smallholder timber estate but also in packing and marketing products, he said.

To expedite the program, he said his side has also built an online licensing system through which permits can be issued in six months at the latest.

Coordinator of Public Access to Forests Nur Amalia said the program has been implemented in 15 provinces in Indonesia over 450 thousand hectares of forest.

"Besides helping public access to forests, we also assist them in improving their capacity in managing their harvest," she said.

Through the program, the target of creating one million hectares of social forest could be achieved by mid-2017, she added. (*)

As COP21 deadline looms, RI blames developed nations for stalling
M. Taufiqurrahman, The Jakarta Post 4 Dec 15;

As the host country France warns that the pace of negotiations at the COP21 climate talks in Paris has been very slow, Indonesia has blamed developed countries for blocking progress at the talks.

Environment and Forestry Ministry director general for climate change Nur Masripatin, one of the Indonesian negotiators at COP21, said that developed countries had been reluctant to engage in a serious discussion especially on issues of climate finance, mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

“They [developed countries] have been reluctant to be more serious in the negotiations. We have been hearing complaints [from developing countries] that the process has not been fair,” Nur told reporters at a morning briefing on the progress of the negotiations.

On the issue of climate finance, developing countries have proposed that the Kyoto Protocol scheme, in which countries in the developed world provide financial assistance for developing countries to address climate change and adapt to its adverse effects, should remain in place.

However, negotiators from developed countries at COP21 have balked at the proposal, saying that in the past two decades since the Kyoto Protocol, the economies of the majority of countries in the developing world have improved.

“This difference [in opinion] has been the toughest issue in the negotiations,” Nur said.

Indonesia itself is in a difficult position as in the 20 years since the Kyoto Protocol was signed it has become a fast-growing developing nation and a member of the G20, but has continued to have limited capacity to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change.

“We have to be careful because we can’t alienate other developing countries,” Nur said.

Earlier, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s special envoy on climate change Rachmat Witoelar said that Indonesia was currently working in an alliance with other developing countries in the G77, including China, one of the world’s greatest polluters, at the COP21 climate talks.

He said that Indonesia would likely support the developing nations’ position of limiting the rise of the global temperature to a figure above 2° C.

On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, in his capacity as president of COP21, urged negotiators to pick up the pace so that they could meet the Dec. 11 deadline.

“My message is clear: we must accelerate the process because there is still a lot of work to do,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the COP21 conference.

“Options for compromise need to be found as quickly as possible,” he added.

Negotiators have been given an interim deadline of midday this Saturday to produce a blueprint, which will then be given to environment ministers to make the political decisions required for a deal.

Negotiators themselves have complained of frustration due to the slow pace of work.

Meanwhile, Alliance of Indigenous People (AMAN) Secretary General Abdon Nababan expressed his appreciation for the government’s strong will to preserve human rights and the rights of indigenous people during the preliminary negotiation session of the conference.

According to Abdon, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya has committed to maintain indigenous people as a topic in the negotiations.

Indonesia had the world’s largest number of indigenous peoples in the world, and was also the most progressive in acknowledging them, Abdon said.

He compared Indonesia to the Philippines, saying the latter had only recently paid attention to issues regarding its indigenous people, whereas Indonesia had recognized their existence in the 1945 Constitution.

“However, Indonesia has not fully seized the opportunity to take a leading role in the debate on the topic in the negotiations,” Abdon said in Paris on Thursday as quoted by Antara.

After devastating impact of forest fires, Indonesia pledges emissions cuts at Paris climate talks
With the recent forest fires in Indonesia contributing 1.75 billion tons of greenhouse gas, Indonesia needs to act fast to reduce the health and environmental risks of the illegal fires.
Natalie Powell, UK Correspondent, Channel NewsAsia 4 Dec 15;

PARIS: Indonesia's emissions from deforestation and fires are among the highest in the world. At one point this year, the country topped the global list of greenhouse gas emitters - a result of the forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan which generated dense haze blanketing parts of Southeast Asia.

Many fires in Indonesia are deliberately started in order to clear land, which is then used to feed world demand for palm oil, pulp and paper. In 2015, millions of hectares of forest in Indonesia were destroyed as a result of the slash-and-burn method.

But the knock-on effect is dangerous, for the environment, and for health. Researchers believe that fires in Indonesia in the last few months could have released around 1.75 billion tons of greenhouse gas.

If that is the case, Indonesia would move from the world’s sixth largest emitter, to the world’s fourth. In addition to the contribution this makes to global warming, it also has a big impact on health.

“Many people got sick because of the haze in Palangkaraya, which had never happened before in years,” said Jean Steve, a volunteer fighting fires. “Our biggest fear has become reality and we are deeply concerned with climate change nowadays.”

And Indonesia has been criticised for lagging behind other countries in protecting forest land while expanding its economy. So what can be done to reduce the health risks and global warming risks?

“Certainly the law has to be enforced and the government needs to engage with a lot of stake holders, including the local community, the local government and also corporations who own the plantations,” said Daniel Murdiyarso from the Center of International Forestry Research. “So all these stakeholders are important.”

The Indonesian government says it is cracking down on illegal fires, and here at the COP21 in Paris, the country has already given commitments on cutting down emissions.

- CNA/rw

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