Indonesia: Ratification of Paris Agreement not enough : NGO

Antara 23 Oct 16;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The decision of the House of Representatives (DPR) to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change should be followed with policy to be implemented in natural resource management, environmentalists said.

"Ratification is not enough as the country has the responsibility to meet its pledge, to meet its commitment of reducing 29 percent of greenhouse gas emission by 2030 and to prevent ecological disaster," the non governmental organization concerned with environment Wahana Lingkungan Hidup (Walhi) said in a statement here on Saturday.

Walhi called on the government to gradually phase out the use of fossil energy such as coal in favor of renewable energy.

In addition, the ratification decision should also be followed with a halt to expansion of mono-culture plantations such as oil palm plantations and industrial timber estates.

Walhi blamed expansion of oil palm plantations and Industrial Timber Estates for deforestation and forest fires, which have devastated millions of hectares of the countrys tropical forests.

It said ratification should mark a serious and concrete move to improve the management of natural resources by the government, which already started with moratorium.

A law maker from the Commission IV of the Parliament Akmal Pasluddin called on the government to make the climate change as a central issue as Indonesia has been in the center of international attention for its pledge to slash 29 percent of carbon dioxide emission by 2030.

"The world looks to Indonesia for reducing carbon dioxide emission , hoping that Indonesia would succeed in bringing to reality its commitment," Akmal said.

The international expectation is natural as Indonesian forests are among the largest ten in the world, he said.

Indonesia has the 8th largest forests in the world after Russia, Brazil, Canada, The United States, China, Australia , the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Based on the Forestry Ministry, Indonesia has tropical forests the second largest in the world after Brazil.

"What worrying us is the rapid cut in size of our forests that need more serious addressing by the government, Akmal said.

He said destruction of forests in various parts of the world including Indonesia has significantly contributed to climate change.

"Therefore, it is urgent for the government to make the climate change as a priority issue to be handled," he said.

The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

The language of the agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on 12 December 2015.

It was opened for signature on 22 April 2016 (Earth Day) in a ceremony in New York City.

As of October 2016, 191 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty, 84 of which have ratified it. After the European Union ratified the agreement in October 2016, there were enough countries that had ratified the agreement that produce enough of the worlds greenhouse gases for the agreement to enter into force.

The agreement will take effect on 4 November 2016.

The head of the Paris Conference, Frances foreign minister Laurent Fabius, said this "ambitious and balanced" plan is a "historic turning point" in the goal of reducing global warming.

Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya said the Parliament is fully aware of the important of ratifying the Paris Agreement.

Earlier, Dewi Coriyati, a Commission VII lawmaker, urged the government to immediately ratify the Paris Agreement as it concerns climate change that need serious addressing.

"The ratification is important for Indonesia, being a country of group of islands. Otherwise some of our islands could sink below the sea surface," Dewi was quoted as saying.

The Indonesian government signed the Paris Agreement on April 22 in 2016 in New York. As an implication, Indonesia has to ratify the agreement into law.(*)

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