ROAD to COPENHAGEN, The Jakarta Post, Fitrian Ardiansyah | Tue, 10/06/2009 9:06 AM | Environment
The achievement of a strong climate agreement in Copenhagen is essential to keep the rise in global temperatures well below 2 degrees Celsius. With deforestation, forest degradation and other land use changes accounting for approximately 20 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it is clear that any solution to the climate change problem must include a solution to these issues.
In addition to contributing to global climate solutions, tackling deforestation and forest degradation is a crucial part of the development of tropical forest nations.
Forests have a vital role to play in the fight against global warming — being the largest terrestrial store of carbon and the third largest source of carbon emissions after coal and oil.
Also, forests have significant economic and ecological values as providers of ecosystems’ goods and services, a home for the largest part of the world’s biodiversity and support for the livelihoods of more than 1 billion of the world’s poorest people.
Indonesia, as one of the largest rainforest countries in the world, has been facing a serious rate of deforestation and forest degradation, which eventually leads to the significant GHG emissions and the undermining of the development of the country.
According to the Forestry Ministry, the country lost around 2.8 million hectares a year in 1995 to 2000, 1.09 million hectares a year in 2000 to 2005 and 0.8 million hectares a year in 2006 to 2008. Forest degradation was at 59.7 million hectares in 2002. Sumatra, Kalimantan, Papua are the three islands most affected and threatened by deforestation and forest degradation.
For Indonesia to be successful in addressing these issues, the country needs to urge the creation of a global umbrella framework for REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) under the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change).
This framework has to provide clear directions on policy approaches and build a mechanism for financial support for developing countries in preparing, developing and implementing REDD.
WWF’s report on climate solutions identifies that the probability of success of good climate solutions will drop progressively from greater than 90 percent down to 35 percent in the absence of effective action to curb forest and land-use emissions.
Hence, making REDD part of the post-2012 global climate agreement will not only help tropical developing nations but also clearly contribute to solving climate change problems.
Until the Bangkok Climate Change Talks this week, significant progress has been made. The incorporation of REDD in the Bali Action Plan, which emerged from the UNFCCC COP (Conference of the Parties)-13 in late 2007, was a good start for a global framework.
This has encouraged the development of REDD readiness programs at the national level in many countries, the initiation of early actions in the forms of REDD demonstration activities at subnational levels (i.e., landscape or district levels) and the exploration of financing options for REDD.
Nevertheless, substantial work and challenges remain if a coherent REDD mechanism is to be successfully included in the post-2012 agreement. These include aspects related to developing further policies and improving the technical capacity in developing countries, as well as the provision of adequate, sufficient and sustainable financing.
In Indonesia, the development of REDD policies dates back to before the COP-13 in Bali, with the establishment of IFCA (Indonesia Forest Climate Alliance).
The Alliance, led by the Forestry Ministry and helped by various government departments, donor agencies, research institutions and NGOs, has outlined key elements of REDD including methodologies, land-use policies, institutional arrangement and benefit distribution mechanisms.
Evolving from this and as part of the ministry’s internal policy development, three ministerial decrees have been issued on REDD (i.e., 68/2008, 13/2009 and 36/2009). These decrees have made Indonesia the leading country in providing legal direction in developing and exercising REDD.
However, with 109.9 million hectares gazetted as formal forest zone, Indonesia has to do considerable preparations to have proper REDD policies. Deforestation and forest degradation are often associated with the development of other sectors, such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure. Hence, the creation of REDD policies at the national level has to address the involvement of these sectors and coordination among these sectors is critical.
Decentralization and growing aspirations among indigenous and local communities will also require the central government to take into account the roles and needs of local governments and these stakeholders in developing policies and financial mechanisms for REDD.
Failure to capture these important aspects may hinder the development and implementation of REDD and may make Indonesia lose one of the biggest opportunities to reduce and even stop deforestation “once and for all”.
Another important aspect for REDD to be workable is the provision of positive incentives. For this, Indonesia and other developing countries need to remind industrialized countries they must assist developing countries in financing REDD.
REDD will need substantial and predictable amounts of funding from multiple sources, starting immediately. Different funding sources will be appropriate for phases of REDD’s development, which may include preparation or readiness, demonstration activities and full implementation, as well as considering the needs for capacity building and different national circumstances.
These include public funding committed by industrialized countries as part of the agreements reached at COP15 in Copenhagen. Over time, compliance carbon markets can also play an increasing role in securing adequate funding for REDD.
It is essential to have this general work on policies, financing and ground initiation ready and tested for REDD to be successful in the future and contributing to real reductions in emissions.
The writer is program director of climate & energy at WWF-Indonesia, and adjunct lecturer at Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This weekly column features articles related to developments in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.