BOGOR, Indonesia (28 July, 2011)_Run by CIFOR and several partner organisations around the world, the 4-year Global Comparative Study (GCS) is one of the world’s first major comparative studies on how REDD+ schemes are being designed, implemented, monitored, reported and verified.
As part of inter-related research on the media’s role in translating scientific knowledge for public consumption, and how science may inform policymaking, CIFOR is analysing print media coverage of REDD+ in Indonesia.
News digests are compiled by Efrian Muharrom, Forest and Governance Research Officer at CIFOR and Leony Aurora, Communications Specialist at CIFOR.
- The presidential decree on a two-year moratorium on new forest concessions was without a doubt the most anticipated REDD-related policy this year.The moratorium was part of an agreement with Norway to receive as much as US$1 billion if Indonesia could show verified emissions cut from the forestry sector. After a 5-months delay due to heavy lobbying, the decree was signed on May 20, 2011 and would be in effect in primary forests and peat lands for two years onwards, instead of retroactively from 1 January 2011 as initially planned.
- The moratorium drew immediate reactions from all sectors. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) questioned the omission of secondary forests, which may have had some trees removed for timber or other uses but are still rich in terms of biodiversity and carbon stock. Greenomics criticized the indicative map for being inaccurate. For example, secondary forests in Sumatera and Kalimantan were still claimed as conservation and primary forests by the government. Such false claims could mislead the public and be subjected to a legal review, said Elfian Effendi, Executive Director at Greenomics.
- The moratorium map also removed 17 million hectares of peatland, or 79 percent of the 21.5 million hectares mapped in 2004 by Wetlands International in cooperation with the Ministry of Forestry, said Kiki Taufik, a geographic information system specialist at Greenpeace . These include peatlands around industrial concessions, such as in Kampar peninsula in Riau and near Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE). The Ministry of Forestry, which issued the map, responded by saying that the map would be improved by inputs from stakeholders every six months. The ministry’s Secretary General Hadi Daryanto said that it’s preparing higher-scale maps at 1:190,000 compared with the 1:250,000 currently used as reference.
- The decree does not necessarily mean that all exploitations on primary forests will stop. Areas for which principal permits were already granted before the signing of the decree, including those given through a Minister of Forestry regulation in December last year, could still be cleared. Greenomics called for this ministerial decree to be revoked. Other exceptions are for developments of so-called vital projects and geothermal energy.
- Also in May, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed another regulation allowing undeground mining in protected forests under a land-swap system. This opens the way for 13 companies that, in 2004, were awarded rights to operate in protected forests. Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan, however, said that mining companies still couldn’t open primary forests and peatlands in protected forests, as they were protected by the moratorium. Still, the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam) criticized the mining regulation for failing to elaborate on mechanisms of underground operations to avert environmental damage.
- To calculate the impact of the moratorium, Daryanto urged the REDD+ taskforce to form a measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) unit as soon as possible. The absence of data would complicate Indonesia in accounting for its commitment to cut greenhouse gases emissions by 26 percent on its own in 2020 and by 41 percent with outside funding.
- The preparation for the implementation of REDD+, including a separate agency and the MRV unit, hit stagnation as the taskforce’s tenure expired on 30 June. Bernardus Steni, climate change coordinator at HuMa, said that the taskforce had failed its deliverables, including issuing a REDD+ implementation strategy and REDD+ monitoring and evaluation framework. Still, he urged that the term of the taskforce, headed by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, also chairman of the presidential unit that oversees development, get extended to manage the transition before the REDD+ agency is formed.
- Another document that was still lacking was a formal appointment for Central Kalimantan to be the pilot province of REDD+. Although the government announced this in December last year, Central Kalimantan cannot receive funds to implement REDD+ pilot projects without a legal document. Demonstration activities in the province, however, have already attracted attention. Indigenous groups from 11 regencies held a meeting and demanded the government halt REDD+ pilot projects in the province until it could provide adequate information to local communities.
- Despite the setbacks, funds to prepare and try out REDD+ continues to pour. Norway and Germany give US$ 50 million and US$30 million, respectively, to the World Bank Carbon Fund as part of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), which brings the total of the fund to US$200 million, including those from the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States . Indonesia stands to receive US$ 90 million of this. The Ministry of Forestry was also awarded US$3.6 million to develop a REDD+ national strategy, including analyzing drivers of deforestation, consultation with stakeholders, and capacity building. Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment also signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency to strength environmental cooperation between the two countries.
- The flow of funds coming to Indonesia through climate change or environmental projects might be due President’s Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s growing popularity in the international sphere, from his leadership in Bali in 2007 to his groundbreaking emission cut commitment in 2009. Indonesia was the first developing country to commit to a reduction target at a time when the world was looking at rich nations to announce new emissions slashing targets.
The popularity is not for nothing. Teguh Surya from Walhi said that it was widely known that the President aims the UN Secretary-General seat, which was confirmed by an unnamed official from the Bappenas. Teuku Faizasyah, presidential spokesman for international affairs, denied the rumor. While communications expert Effendi Ghazali said that many international communities had dubbed Yudhoyono the global champion of climate change, local activists have different views, based on concerns that Indonesia so far has implemented its pledge to cut emissions poorly.