Agus Purnomo’s key messages for forest and climate change

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The remaining 64 hectares of Indonesian forests require more forest rangers, a higher maintenance budget, law enforcement activities, local green economic development, all to address the drivers of deforestation.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (29 April, 2011)_Indonesia’s chief climate change negotiator, Agus Purnomo today discussed the difficulties between balancing a growing economy and pushing for a strong commitment to environmental conservation.

“To implement a grand scheme that is built of Government policies, international cooperation, market incentives, technological innovation, civil society participation, business and corporation, improvement in communication among stakeholders is a must,” Purnomo urged at today’s session of the B4E global summit in Jakarta.

Find a full transcript of the speech below.

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Good morning.

Allow me to first quote the President statement about Indonesia green economic mantra, which is “pro-growth, pro-job, pro-poor and pro-environment”.” This four tracks strategy mantra needs strong partnership with the business and industry, and that is why it is also a pro-business strategy. The President further admited that, and I quote: “It’s a lot of balls to juggle with, but it’s a necessary challenge.”

Yesterday afternoon, some of you were caught by surprise with the word “balls” in that sentence and it made into a Tweeter message. This morning, I would like to elaborate the balls that the government needs to juggle.

The first ball is our nature conservation commitment, especially to preserve the remaining 64 millions hectares of primary forests. Please be advised that such huge area of forests with high biological diversity, almost three times the size of United Kingdom, require substantial efforts to maintain. We need more, many more, forest rangers, maintenance budget, law enforcement activities, local green economic development, to address the drivers of deforestation in our primary forests. These rich biodiversity areas serve, at least, three strategic functions, namely as the insurance of our ecological functions to support life, as the living space of our indigenous communities, and as our savings for future development of medicines, food products, handycrafts and ecotourism.

The second ball is facilitating the growth of our economy. We are all geared to add infrastructures, facilitate new economic investments and improve the connectivities of our archipelagic nation. Lands are needed for roads, railways, electricity generations, plantations, rice fields, settlement and industrial areas. Revisions of existing spatial plans have to be completed sooner than later. President Yudhoyono has pledged more than 30 millions hectares of degraded forest lands for economic expansion and “growth with equity”. Detail implementation planning needs to be discussed with all stakeholders, especially with captains of industries who will bring the economic development into reality.

The third ball is in committing to reduce the greenhouse gasses emissions in our economic development activities. Impacts of greenhouse gasses releases will need to be carefully considered in finalizing the revised spatial plans. International support can be mobilized for finding alternatives to land use change on primary forests and peat lands, that will consequently reduced the amount of carbon release in to the atmosphere.

The fourth ball is the good governance ball, which is a set of policies and actions on anti-corruption, improving political processes and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of central and local bureaucracy or administration. This ball has become one of the old issues in modern history of governance. But since politics is also the arts of spinning, twisting and distorting the facts, analysis and perceptions, there is almost no end of its excitements. We have set the long and mid-term goals, and already secured a foundation of democratic governance. The tasks ahead of us is to shape the democratic structure and processes in such a way that it will benefit the majority of people while protecting the basic rights of the minorities. We need to reform the election of the Bupati and Governors so that it will stop the practice of putting the remaining forests as collateral for political debts.

We can add more balls, such as the lack of accurate maps of forests, lack of coherent legal system and thus create legal uncertainties, and so on and so forth.

But rather than dwelling into details that most of you are aware of and perhaps experiencing or benefitting from them, I would like to propose two questions for your next sessions:

First, what are the requirements for business to join the band wagon of green and transformative economy?What need to change within the industry and other economic players? And what need to be delivered by the government to facilitate transformation from pollutive and exploitative economy to a green and equittable economy?

Second, how can we improve the cross sector and multi-stakeholders communication? Is this type of once a year fancy conference, with not so cheap entrance ticket, sufficient? Do we need other means of communication that can bring contructive feedbacks, enhanced the motivation to do better and avoid blaming game? To implement a GRAND SCHEME that built of Government policies, international cooperation, market incentives, technological innovation, civil society participation, business and corporation, improvement in communication among stakeholders is a must.

To conclude:

We are moving in the right direction. We have almost passed the point of no return, on the course of sustainable and low carbon economy.

Indonesia is showing the leadership on climate change. We have contributed and will continue to make contribution in tackling global climate change. As  government official that involves in Indonesia’s environmental policy for about six years I’m proud to have been part of the journey to rescue planet earth and to increase the welfare savings of future generations.

We, you and I, should all be bold and courageous and hold each other accountable to the commitments we make. Both government and businesses are accountable to the Indonesian people to bring them jobs, better standards of living and to preserve the vast natural resources we as a country are blessed with.

I thank you for your kind attention.

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