Meaningful partnerships to manage our resources wisely

By Fitrian Ardiansyah, published in Coal Asia, November 23 – December 15, 2013, page 142-143

for the pdf version, please see Opinion Fitrian Ardiansyah_CoalAsia_NovDec2013

CoalAsia_NovDec2013_Meaningful partnership

With the alarming global challenges in the forms of climate change, natural resources depletion, environmental degradation, financial crisis, extreme poverty and social inequality, it is more than relevant now for countries and institutions around the world to find new and innovative solutions.

Some scholars have calculated that if human and industrial activities are set to continue with their current trend, the associated impacts resulting from respected activities may push our planet close to its ‘tipping point’, and if particular key environmental factors are measured, the impacts can move the present situation beyond the globally known ‘planetary boundaries’.

The planetary boundaries, as defined by reputable scientists like Professors Dave Griggs and Will Steffen, are a safe operating space for humanity, which are identified and quantified so that human activities can move forward without causing unacceptable environmental changes.

These boundaries include biodiversity loss, atmospheric aerosol loading, chemical pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, global freshwater use and change in land use.

Since most changes in ecosystems are asymmetrical in nature, as defined in these planetary boundaries, once the impacts push our planet to reach its ‘tipping point’, it may be too late for humanity to formulate and implement actions to address these challenges.

One clear example is the anthropogenic climate change that has affected and will continue to affect the global world. A recent report by the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that small-island and archipelagic nations, including countries in Southeast Asia, and their communities and ecosystems are among the most vulnerable.

Some scholars argue that we have witnessed the early signs of this change including a significant increase in climate related disasters such as extreme weather events, flooding, land sliding, drought, and fires and haze.

Such disasters will put further pressures to our already degraded environment due to decades of natural resources overexploitation and environmental degradation, among others, as a result of destructive and illegal logging, expansion of infrastructure and agriculture, and mining extraction activities.

Therefore, to find new and innovative solutions may require us to substantially reform our current development paths, for instance, by rethinking the overall economic growth, advancing social equity and ensuring environmental protection at all levels.

It is clear that to undertake such reforms, both industrial and developing countries need to come up with additional and adequate financial and technological resources. A country or an institution cannot do these reforms individually. Existing partnerships have to be strengthened and new and creative platforms of partnerships need to be explored and promoted.

With the current global economic and financial situation, no individual countries have sufficient financial muscles to address the global environmental challenges, without other countries to complement their actions.

In fact, hundreds of multinational corporations may have financial capitals which are more than the gross domestic products of most nations in the world.

This means that when it comes to addressing environmental issues and promoting sustainable management of our remaining natural resources, global partnerships need to be forged not only between the developed and developing nations, among developing countries, but also between state and non-state actors, more particularly with the private sector and key communities.

Such partnerships, if based on common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, can open doors of new opportunities which are crucial to address global environmental challenges and eventually achieve the goals of green economy and sustainable development.

From the region of Southeast Asia, the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative can be considered as one of the platforms which can be a good test for the countries who support it – i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei – to show that conserving and sustainably managing 22 million hectares of important forest and terrestrial ecosystems are not only possible but also economically and socially beneficial.

The three countries in this region which share the same island of Borneo and its remaining valuable terrestrial resources agree that no single country can deal with difficult environmental problems, such as large scale and widespread deforestation and forest degradation, and bring about sustainable solution in this island.

As a result, pledges and commitments have been announced by these countries and stipulated in key documents including the HoB Strategic Plan of Action.

Civil society groups have also taken part in this initiative by supporting some programs and efforts such as through on the ground conservation actions and community empowerment.

Although driven by the three governments and assisted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), it appears that the HoB initiative can only work properly and achieve its goal if the private sector takes a major part in this initiative.

With mining exploitation and exploration, logging concessions and plantation development as key sectors influencing the development of the island, the involvement of actors from this sector as deemed crucial.

A recent initiative taken by the Government of Sabah State in Malaysia in launching its Forever Sabah initiative to support the HoB can be seen as an effort to promote a wide-range of partnership among key stakeholders influential in land use management in the HoB’s part of that state.

This effort, for instance, has brought together an energy company, that has a plan to increase renewable energy intake which could lead to further protection of forests, along with an award winning community based eco-tourism cooperative that will benefit from further conservation of fragile ecosystems, and plantation companies that try to restore forest important for wildlife corridors as an encouraged under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.

An NGO focusing on empowering indigenous and local communities through a model of kampong universities that provides useful knowledge and skills for natural resource management, and other key stakeholders, also have made strategic contributions to this initiative.

Similar efforts have taken place in the Indonesian part of the HoB, including in West Kalimantan province, particularly in Kapuas Hulu district, and in East Kalimantan province (Kutai Barat district). Both areas are striving to achieve an ideal goal of green economic development at local level by promoting a platform of collaborative actions among different stakeholders.

In another part of the world, such as the Amazon region, a multi-partners work that launched a 10-year initiative to preserve 12 percent, or 60 million hectares, of the Brazilian Amazon under the Amazon Region Protected Area can be used as a showcase. Other similar efforts in the Amazon have now ensured further protection and improved management of 80 percent of the Amazon’s original forest and establishing hundreds of millions of conservation fund.

Promoting such partnership at that large-scale requires not only political willingness but also concrete incentives and practical solutions on the ground. Otherwise, key actors and stakeholders may not necessarily have the ownership and be willing to support the agenda coming from the partnership.

It is of course still a long way to go for these partnership models to shine.

The involvement of non-state actors, in the government led initiative, however, displays that different actors’ efforts can complement each other.

The private sector and civil society, for example, can be actively involved in addressing the challenge in changing the unsustainable production and consumption patterns, while the governments can provide and improve enabling conditions, namely good economic policies and governance.

If such partnerships can be maintained, enhanced and magnified, one can dream and hope about the bright future of our human civilization.

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The author is climate and sustainability specialist, a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

Sustaining Southeast Asia’s forests

Published in East Asia Forum Quarterly Vol. 4, No.4, October-December, 2012, PAGE 18-20

by Fitrian Ardiansyah

for full East Asia Forum Quartelrly pdf, plese see EAFQ-4.4-WEB-FINAL

Sustaining Southeast Asia’s forests

Avoiding and reversing the loss and degradation of forests is a crucial element of any sustainable development and climate change solution formulated in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia’s forests contain some of the richest and most valuable resources and habitats on earth. These include the Greater Mekong Subregion that covers 60 million hectares of tropical forests and rivers in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China, and the Heart of Borneo that comprises 24 million hectares of equatorial rainforests stretching along the borders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

These forests and terrestrial ecosystems have a vital role to play in the fight against global warming. They also have significant economic and ecological value. Hundreds of millions of people depend on the healthy productive capacity of these natural systems to sustain key ecosystem services such as clean water, food and fibre.

These forests are also home to a significant part of the world’s biodiversity and possess a high level of endemism across all groups of plants and animals. Southeast Asia’s forests are the only place on earth where orang-utans, tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses still co-exist and where forests are large enough to maintain viable populations.

Deforestation and forest degradation are making a significant contribution to environmental degradation in this region and overall global emissions of greenhouse gases. In 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization reported that deforestation rates in Southeast Asia remained high at 3.7 million hectares per annum. In general, forests and terrestrial ecosystems in Southeast Asia, including peatlands, wetlands and rivers, are in a state of rapid ecological decline due to human over-exploitation.

The degradation of forest and wetland habitats affecting hydrological regimes is threatening water supply and the viability of one of the most important freshwater fisheries in the world— including, for instance, in the Tonle Sap fishery in Cambodia where the larger migratory species have declined significantly. The biggest threat to the Mekong River’s ecological system is the long-time deforestation of the river basin.

The island of Borneo, as well as Sumatra and many other places in this region, has also experienced high deforestation rates. According to several studies, between 1985 and 2005 Borneo lost an average of 850,000 hectares of forest annually—roughly a third of the island’s total rainforests—due to indiscriminate logging and forests being cleared for timber and oil palm plantations.

The increasing frequency of forest and land fires between 1997–2007 is indicative of the pressure to deforest. It is a combination of plantation and timber companies, unresolved land tenure disputes and land clearing by a massive number of individuals are the main causes of these fires.

Because of these issues, the governments of Southeast Asia are under pressure to devise smart development strategies that not only promote economic growth but also conserve the areas’ globally important biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources.

Regional cooperation is emerging. Initiatives include the Mekong River Commission (MRC), which coordinates the formulation and implementation of sustainable development for the Greater Mekong Subregion, and the Heart of Borneo initiative, which facilitates cooperation among parties in protecting, conserving and sustainably managing remaining forests and adjacent areas.

Since 2009, countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion have agreed to use the Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Initiative (BCCI) to accelerate efforts to address conservation and climate change. One BCCI initiative is to channel economic stimulus to the rural poor within the corridors. The aim of this initiative is to strengthen sustainable management of forest and water resources. As the people become poorer and need resources to get out of poverty, there is likely a huge pressure for further and faster natural resource extraction – hence, actions to address poverty tends to have positive results on the environment.

The Heart of Borneo recently launched a ‘green economy’ approach aimed at concretely and seriously tackling threats from unsustainable land-use activities and further improving enabling conditions like good economic policy. This will create positive incentives for stakeholders to employ sustainable practices and foster good governance, clear land tenure and reformed sectoral development.

Reports also show an increase in the private sector’s involvement in the promotion, development and application of sustainability principles in their management of key commodities including forestry (through the Forest Stewardship Council) and palm oil (through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

In November 2007 only 0.8 million hectares of Southeast Asia’s natural forests were certified under the Forest Stewardship Council. Now more than 2 million hectares of natural forests have been certified under a similar scheme. In mid-2011, just three years after certification commenced under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the palm oil industry reached one million hectares of certified production area globally. The biggest contributors were Malaysia and Indonesia.

ASEAN has commenced the Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative. Since 2008 ASEAN and its member countries have developed programs to improve in-countries’ capacity and have initiated demonstration projects so that stakeholders are ready to implement REDD+.

These efforts to retain the remaining forests of Southeast Asia may nevertheless be inadequate given constant pressures from global and regional demand for commodities like palm oil and timber. A 2010 UN report estimated that the illegal timber trade in Southeast Asia was worth US$3.5 billion.

There is urgent need for ASEAN countries to scale up their collaboration on deforestation so that they are seen as a strong front that can negotiate the channelling of financial and technical support to address deforestation in their region. At the United Nations Framework of Convention on Climate Change, ASEAN is not seen as a strong lobby group that can influence the negotiation of the financial and policy aspects of REDD+.

In setting up a monitoring system for deforestation, countries in the region can learn from Brazil, which is considered to have an advanced deforestation monitoring system. The Brazilian system combines real-time satellite observation and regular ground checking. Using an ASEAN platform, countries in Southeast Asia have the opportunity to replicate such a system in a cost-effective and transparent way.

Stronger collaborative efforts among countries, state and non-state actors in Southeast Asia is the key to significantly reducing deforestation and mitigating its impacts. Further involvement of producers in the REDD+ initiatives through timber concessions and incentives for oil palm plantations could accelerate the implementation of sustainable practices.

Financial institutions in the region and at global level also have a significant role to play. They must develop robust investment screening policies to discourage high-risk investment patterns leading to deforestation. Consumers of related commodities can also help by favoring goods that are produced through certified sustainable operations.

If done properly, efforts like these would lead to fundamental changes in how Southeast Asians manage, protect and sustain their forests. The impact of those efforts will be felt by the global community in the form of emissions reductions, and by people in Southeast Asia through their ability to maintain timber and non-timber forest production, water supply, and other ecosystem goods and services.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University and the recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

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Vol.4 No.4: October – December, 2012
Energy, resources and food
About this issue
In this issue we address one of the most important concerns in Asia: security over natural resources or about how to ensure we have sufficient food, water, energy, and other resources at an accessible cost and within tolerable levels of risk now and into the future. Managing resource risks in an insecure world will differ by country, the type and possible magnitude of the risks, and national, regional vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, the multidimensional nature of resource security demands that critically important natural capital stocks be conserved at a regional and global level and that special consideration be given to the particular vulnerabilities of poor countries while following market-based approaches to ensure adequate resource supplies. Whatever the national approach adopted towards resource security, we stress that promoting resource security is not a zero-sum game. All countries can benefit from a multilateral and a sustainable market framework that provides incentives for producers and delivers reliable supply to consumers.

Risk, Resilience and Human Security in Cross-Border Areas: the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle

“Risk, Resilience and Human Security in Cross-Border Areas: the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle” (in the beginning of 2011 the old version of this was published as a working paper by Centre for Non-Traditional Security of S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore). Authors: Fitrian Ardiansyah and Desak Putu Adhityani Putri.

Published as a book chapter (Chapter 8) in an edited book entitled “Human Security and Climate Change in Southeast Asia”. The editors are Prof Lorraine Elliott and Prof Mely Caballero-Anthony. The book is published by Routledge and the offer to buy this book has been put on Amazon.com, Routledge.com and a number of online bookshops.

Human Security and Climate Change in Southeast Asia

Edited by Lorraine Elliott, Mely Caballero-Anthony

Published August 2012 by Routledge – 240 pages

Series: Routledge Security in Asia Pacific Series

Part 1: Setting the context 1. Human security, climate change and social resilience Lorraine Elliott 2. The economics of climate change in Southeast Asia Juzhong Zhuang, Suphachol Suphachalasai and Jindra Nuella Samson Part 2: Conceptual approaches 3. A sociology of risk, vulnerability and resilience Devanathan Parthasarathy 4. Community rights and accessKeokam Kraisoraphong Part 3: Local risk and strategies for local resilience 5. REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation): mitigation, adaptation and the resilience of local livelihoods Enrique Ibarra Gené 6. The challenges for gender-responsive adaptation strategies Bernadette P Resurreccion Part 4: Scaling up to the region 7. Development for climate security Irene Kuntjoro 8. Risk, Resilience and Human Security in Cross-Border Areas: the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle Fitrian Ardiansyah and Desak Putu Adhityani Putri 9. Regional cooperation: enabling environments for adaptation and social resilience Mely Caballero-Anthony

Original links:

http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415684897/#contents

Abstract of my chapter (Chapter 8):

This chapter investigates the security impacts of climate change in three Southeast Asian cross-border areas– the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle – through an examination of the ways in which climate change results in human insecurity and possibly social unrest, tension and conflict. The three cross-border areas are significant in that they host unique but threatened large-scale freshwater, terrestrial forest, coastal and marine ecosystems. In addition, they are home to more than 400 million people and provide important ecosystem goods and services to many countries in the region. This paper explores and evaluates regional agreements and actions in each of the three areas, with an emphasis on the mainstreaming of climate adaptation as well as mitigation in the development agenda. The analysis also points to the importance of reaching out to other actors beyond state and intergovernmental ones if adaptation and mitigation efforts were to succeed. There is a need to identify other actors, such as the business sector, local communities and the public, with the aim of getting them involved in these important issues.

Purchasing Options:

  • Hardback: 978-0-415-68489-7: $140.00

Chapter8_Risk_resilience_FA_DPAPutri

 

Rio+20 and challenges towards sustainable development

East Asia Forum, June 21st, 2012, Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU
Original link: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/06/21/rio20-and-challenges-towards-sustainable-development/
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), otherwise known as Rio+20, commenced yesterday (20 June) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This is one of the world’s largest-ever environment conferences, and a useful point at which to examine the progress and regress of countries in advancing sustainable development over the past few decades.

Sustainable development emphasises a holistic, equitable and forward-looking approach to decision making at all levels — not just focusing on economic performance but also on the environmental and social aspects of development, including intra-generational and inter-generatonal equity. The concept was developed in the 1987 Brundtland Report, and re-affirmed at the Rio Earth Summit 1992. This year’s UNCSD marks the 20th anniversary of that summit.

Twenty years on, countries around the world must now demonstrate whether their development paths have upheld the principles of sustainable development, through rethinking their economic growth, advancing social equity and ensuring environmental protection at all levels.

According to many scholars, some progress toward achieving sustainable development is being accomplished, albeit very slowly. Reports show an increase in collaboration between state and non-state actors, which has brought about gradual but important changes, including the promotion, development and application of sustainability principles in the management of key commodities, including forestry (through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)), fishery (through the Marine Stewardship Council) and palm oil (through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

In Indonesia, prior to 2009, only 1.1 million hectares of forests were certified under the FSC, amounting to 2 per cent of the country’s production forests. Now, approximately 26 companies with a total 2.6 million hectares of forests are undertaking a rigorous process for FSC certification.

In addition to the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) implemented in 2009, which aims to verify the legality of all traded Indonesian timber products, forest certification is seeing Indonesia gradually move toward sustainable forestry practices. But, as those forests certified under FSC still make up only a small proportion of Indonesia’s total forests, achieving sustainability in this sector is still a significant challenge.

Progress has also been made in the prevention of biodiversity loss. In this sense, the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative can be seen as a test for Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei in conserving and sustainably managing 22 million hectares of important forest and terrestrial ecosystems.

However, promoting conservation and sustainable forest managementon such a significant scale requires not only political willingness but also concrete incentives and practical solutions on the ground.

Another immmediate political challenge for the HoB initiative is that a development policy released by the same government, the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI), may contradict efforts to protect, conserve and sustainably manage its forests and biodiversity in this area.

A recent discussion among scholars, high-ranking government officials, business practioners and NGO activists in Jakarta, facilitated by the Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy, agreed that the MP3EI may overlook environmental persectives and parameters.

If the conflict is not addressed, some actors involved in land-use activities in Borneo may use the economic development master plan as an excuse to continue their business-as-usual activities.

When it comes to creating incentives and developing practical solutions, the Rio+20 conference lists ‘green economy’ as one of its two major themes. The ‘green economy’ approach will presumably provide a platform for countries or other entities to address threats to sustainable developmant and conservation, and improve enabling conditions and propose solutions at a practical level.

The HoB initiative, at the Rio+20 conference, is launching a report entitled ‘Investing in Nature for a Green Economy’. This report is intended to show that the initiative concretely and seriously tackles existing and future threats, particularly from unsustainable land-use activities, and further improves enabling conditions, namely good economic policies that create positive incentives, good governance, clear land tenure and environmentally friendly sectoral development.

By using the ‘green economy’ concept, it is expected that the initiative can transform economic growth in the area, particularly through shifting investments — public and private, domestic and international — toward emerging green sectors and the greening of existing sectors, complemented by changes to unsustainable consumption patterns.

Natural capital, especially biodiversity, is under threat at the global level. In its State of Biodiversity of Asia and the Pacific (2010), UNEP ranked Indonesia second after Australia as having the most threatened plant and animal species in the region. The HoB initiative is an important model to demonstrate that development can take place in biodiversity-rich areas without further threatening fragile resources.

For developing countries like Indonesia and its neighbours, reforming and balancing their development pathways is a Herculean task. It is how to move forward with this challenge that is now being hotly discussed at Rio.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

Rio+20 and the fate of sustainable development

Strategic Review

The Indonesian Journal of Leadership, Policy and World Affairs, by Fitrian Ardiansyah, 18 May 2012

Original link: http://www.sr-indonesia.com/2011-08-09-22-09-10/commentaries/193-rio20-and-the-fate-of-sustainable-development

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), being held in June in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, will undoubtedly raise a critical question about how far countries have advanced sustainable development and mitigated environmental degradation.

Sustainable development, defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, was introduced in the 1987 Brundtland Report and reaffirmed 20 years ago in Rio. This is why this year’s UNCSD is also known as Rio+20, marking the 20th anniversary of one of the famous large-scale gatherings on environmental issues, the 1992 Earth Summit, which was held in the same city.

During the 1992 Earth Summit, world leaders agreed to uphold sustainable development, demonstrated by, among others, the adoption of Agenda 21, the signings of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the issuance of the Declaration of Forest Principles. Agenda 21 is a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection at the global, national and local levels.

The CBD, signed by 150 government leaders, provides a platform to achieve sustainable development since it recognizes crucial functions and services of biodiversity and natural ecosystems that directly and indirectly support people and their needs. The Forest Principles, which focuses particularly on forest ecosystems, is the first global consensus that encourages nations to conserve, restore and manage these already fragile and threatened resources.

Another major breakthrough in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit was the signing of the UNFCCC. The convention created an umbrella for global efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change, which is perceived as one of the biggest threats to human civilization. With the UNFCCC, nations recognize that the climate system is a shared resource and all governments and people on our planet have the responsibility to ensure its stability.

Two decades have passed since the first UNCSD, yet progress toward the achievement of the objectives of the above conventions and commitments, according to many scholars, has been very slow.

In the 2010 editorial section of Wiley’s Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) of Climate Change—Climate and Development, Daniel Murdiyarso of the Center for International Forestry Research argued that global programs and actions to achieve safe drinking water, improved health and reduced mortality, food security and reduced hunger, and environment sustainability – as also reflected in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – fell very short toward their targets.

When commenting about the MDGs in 2008, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said: “We have made important progress toward all eight goals, but we are not on track to fulfill our commitments.”

With regard to food security and the use of land and water, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, for example, reported in 2011 that although agricultural production has as much as tripled due to significant increases in the yield of major crops, global achievements in production in some regions have been associated with degradation of land and water resources and the deterioration of related ecosystem goods and services.

The report indicated that significant biomass, carbon storage, soil health, water storage and supply, biodiversity and social and cultural services have been negatively affected by the global agriculture production from the use of 11 percent of the world’s land surface and 70 percent of all water withdrawn from aquifers, streams and lakes for crop production. In the same report, agricultural policies are viewed to have primarily benefitted farmers with productive land and access to water, bypassing the majority of small-scale producers who are still locked in a poverty trap of high vulnerability, land degradation and climatic uncertainty.

In Indonesia, a 2008 study written by Sugiyanto and Candra R Samekto of the ministries of Public Works and National Development Planning revealed that the country had already experienced water shortages in some areas during the dry season and flood events during the rainy season.

Specific water issues that Indonesia faces, as described in this study, include in imbalance between supply and demand in a spatial and temporal perspective and degraded river basins. For instance, increasing water demand – the total water needs of the country was 112.3 billion cubic meters in 2003 and approximately 117.7 billion cubic meters in 2009 – combined with limited water availability will certainly aggravate the water scarcity problem and trigger water conflict.

Biodiversity is also under threat. In the 2010 State of the Planet’s Biodiversity, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) provided gloomy facts. Species extinction is a natural part of Earth’s evolution, the reported noted, but during the past 100 years humans have increased the extinction rate by at least 100 times compared to the natural rate.

The report stated that virtually all of Earth’s ecosystems have been dramatically transformed through human actions; for example, 35 percent of mangroves and 20 percent of coral reefs have been lost. The report further argued that important ecosystems continue to be converted for agricultural and other uses at a constant pace during at least the past century.

In the 2010 State of Biodiversity of Asia and the Pacific, UNEP ranked Indonesia second after Australia as having the most threatened plant and animal species in the region. This is due to, among other things, high rates of fragmentation and net loss of forests that have continued in many countries in Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2009.

Still, 20 years after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, it is not all doom and gloom for the Earth and its people. Increasing collaborative works among state and non-state actors or between businesses and nongovernmental organizations have brought about gradual but important changes toward achieving sustainable development.

The development and application of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – a pioneering certification scheme for forest products harvested based on strict environmental, social and economic criteria – is an example of a concrete step forward from the 1992 Forest Principles. Under the FSC, more than 130 million hectares of forest and 8.5 percent of forest products in international trade are now certified, allowing important reforms in the relevant chains of custody and behavioral changes of end consumers. Other forest certification schemes have also been developed.

A similar case can be argued about the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a certification scheme for wild-caught seafood. To date, this scheme has produced more than 100 MSC-certified fisheries and 7,000 certified products available worldwide.

When it comes to the protection of large-scale threatened biodiversity and ecosystems, a multi-partners work that launched a 10-year initiative to preserve 12 percent, or 60 million hectares, of the Brazilian Amazon under the Amazon Region Protected Area can be used as a showcase. The protected area and other similar efforts in the Amazon are the world’s largest in situ conservation schemes, creating more than 30 million hectares of protected areas, ensuring further protection and improved management of 80 percent of the Amazon’s original forest and establishing a $29 million conservation fund.

Similar efforts have taken place in the Central Africa and Southeast Asia regions, such as the adoption of the Yaoundé Declaration (resulting in the protection and sustainable management of more than 10 percent of the Congo forest), and the creation of the Heart of Borneo (conservation and sustainable management of 22 million hectares of forest and terrestrial ecosystems).

In marine areas, comparable efforts have been undertaken through the Coral Triangle Initiative, a multilateral partnership of six countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) formed in 2009 to address the urgent threats facing the coastal and marine resources of one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically rich regions on Earth.

Such progress, however, can only be further continued if existing and future threats, particularly from unsustainable land use and marine activities, are mitigated and important enabling conditions are improved, namely good economic policies that create positive incentives, good governance, clear land tenure and environmentally-friendly infrastructure development.

Rio+20, under one of the two themes of its upcoming conference, “Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” provides a venue for countries to openly and informally discuss comprehensive approaches using a green economy concept to address such threats and improve enabling conditions and propose solutions.

By using the green economy concept, it is expected that countries can be helped to transform their engines of economic growth, particularly through shifting investments – public and private, domestic and international – towards emerging green sectors and the greening of existing sectors, complemented by changes to unsustainable consumption patterns.

Such transformation is crucial to ensure sustainable development in most countries, especially developing countries including Indonesia. Without significant transformation in countries’ economies, sustainable development is likely to remain an oxymoron concept.

Indonesia, as a large developing country, has a real stake and hence is required to come up with a strong position to negotiate so that countries agree at Rio+20 for a worldwide transition toward a green economy and concrete application of sustainable development.


Fitrian Ardiansyah is a Climate and Sustainability Specialist, doctoral candidate at the Australian National University and the recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

Risk and resilience in three Southeast Asian cross-border areas: the Greater Mekong Sub-region, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle

Asia Security Initiative Policy Series: Working Paper No. 11, February 2011

Published by the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore

MacArthur Working Paper_Fitrian_and_Desak

Risk and Resilience in Three Southeast Asian Cross-Border Areas: The Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle

By Fitrian Ardiansyah and Desak Putu Adhityani Putri

Abstract

This paper investigates the security impacts of climate change in three Southeast Asian cross-border areas– the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle – through an examination of the ways in which climate change results in human insecurity and possibly social unrest, tension and conflict. The three cross-border areas are significant in that they host unique but threatened large-scale freshwater, terrestrial forest, coastal and marine ecosystems. In addition, they are home to more than 400 million people and provide important ecosystem goods and services to many countries in the region. This paper explores and evaluates regional agreements and actions in each of the three areas, with an emphasis on the mainstreaming of climate adaptation as well as mitigation in the development agenda. The analysis also points to the importance of reaching out to other actors beyond state and intergovernmental ones if adaptation and mitigation efforts were to succeed. There is a need to identify other actors, such as the business sector, local communities and the public, with the aim of getting them involved in these important issues.

Read more…

The original link is: http://www.rsis.edu.sg/NTS/resources/research_papers/MacArthur%20Working%20Paper_Fitrian_and_Desak.pdf

Case Study: promoting sustainable livelihoods in Danau Sentarum National Park, West Kalimantan — the case of Wild Honey Bees

By Fitrian Adiansyah, Abetnego Tarigan, Maria Cristina Guerrero, Aloisa Zamora-Santos, Heri Valentinus, in Forest partnerships: enhancing local livelihoods and protecting the environment in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, 2007, edited by Maria Osbeck and Marisha Wojciechowska-Shibuya, IUCN, Bangkok, pp. 20-23. For the pdf version of the full please click here: 2007_CaseStudy_WildHoneyBees

West Kalimantan is one of four provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo. The province has a population of about 3.74 million people (2000 Census) and major ethnic groups include the Dayak, Malay and Chinese, who constitute about 90% of the total population.

The borders of West Kalimantan roughly trace the mountain ranges surrounding the watershed of the Kapuas River, the longest river in Indonesia, which drains much of the province, namely the extensive Lake Sentarum area — an extensive protected reserve of 132,000 hectares of lakes and of seasonally inundated forest ecosystems.

The Lake Sentarum area plays an important role as a natural reservoir for the mid- and downstreams of the Kapuas River and watershed . Of particular importance is the annual flooding regime (flood pulse), which ensures biological abundance that is extensively utilized by local people and forms a vital part of the local economy. In addition to fishing, local people depend on harvesting a variety of other terrestrial and aquatic organisms for their livelihoods, many of which are thought to be closely associated with the energy and nutrient cycles dependent on the annual flood pulse phenomenon. The Kapuas River is 1,143 km long and the watershed is 85,200 km2 in area. Despite abundant rich natural resources and biodiversity, threats to the forests stemming from logging and agricultural expansion have made life increasingly more difficult for the majority of people living in the area who remain below the poverty line.

Local NGOs have collaborated to tackle the threats to Danau Sentarum and to provide assistance to local people in support of their livelihoods. They have played a role in providing critical services in areas such as: Indonesian natural resource law; regulations on international investment and relations; ways to register community land; and negotiation tactics and strategies. Recent efforts by WALHI, WWF-Indonesia, SawitWatch and Riak Bumi have focused on facilitating a dialogue between communities, other local NGOs and government officials to find workable solutions for the future management of the Kapuas Watershed.

As sustainable management regimes in the upland areas impact the honey harvesting activity downstream, in December 2006, Riak Bumi, WALHI, Sawit Watch and WWF co-organized a multi-stakeholder dialogue with government and non-government actors, resulting in a declaration that commits communities upstream to end electrofishing by 1 January 2007 and prohibits the use of small size nylon nets as of January 2008.

Wild Honey Harvesting and Marketing

Nests of Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee, have traditionally been exploited to produce large volumes of honey and wax for trade. The tikung system of honey collection is still practised by a relatively large group of the local population in the DNSP region. The honey is collected via three different techniques: lalau (climbing up tall trees to harvest honey), tikung (traditional honeyboard system) and repak (a place where bees produce no more than one comb on any kind of any tree branch — the first person to find the comb becomes its owner). Although the tikung system is the most typical honey harvesting approach practised in the park, honey gathering from tall trees that have been colonized by bees is also popular in this region.

Apis dorsata wild honey has good economic potential as a food product as gatherers can obtain a high price. For local forest communities, wild honey (an NTFP) can be an alternative income source to help cover their daily needs. Sustainable harvesting of wild honey and management of Apis dorsata habitats are essential to protect the forest and the environment. Honey harvesting is also an alternative solution to mitigate de-forestation problems that have surfaced in recent years in Indonesia, resulting in the degradation of natural resources and the environment.

In this context, Riak Bumi initiated theIndonesia National Workshop on the Wild Honey Bee Network in Danau Sentarum National Park in January 2005 with participants from Kalimantan and Sulawesi. This forum facilitated the exchange and sharing of experiences on the management and practical utilization of wild honey bees by local gatherers; information dissemination and communication between areas emerged as a strategy for addressing forestry problems in Indonesia.

At the forum, participants raised concerns about the difficulty of marketing wild honey bee products. Discussion revealed that harvesting practices and postharvest processes result in low quality wild honey; moreover local
conditions, namely forest fire smoke and logging, exacerbate the problem. The participants agreed to work towards standardization to ensure good quality wild honey in order to meet market demand. They also agreed to set up a wild honey bee network to facilitate support facilities and information exchange and dissemination. The network’s goals are to improve the quality of wild honey, to enhance its marketing value and to generate increases in volume and price. Such aims will provide incentives to encourage more gatherers to harvest honey judiciously and maintain natural bee habitats in the forest. Riak Bumi plans to select locations for extension in Sumba, Flores, Sumbawa, possibly (later) West Papua and Mentawai archipelago.

Honey and beeswax is sold in local and regional markets; Riak Bumi has worked to link communities and markets directly to close the gap between the producer and the final consumer. This has helped to channel increased
economic benefit to the local producers that would have otherwise been diverted at various levels of the marketing chain.

During the 2003 harvest season, Riak Bumi helped package and market over 1.5 tonnes of honey from participating villages and double the financial return to the producers. With an additional 20 tonnes of honey harvested annually throughout the DSNP area, this initiative could potentially contribute to significant poverty reduction for many communities. By helping new communities to improve the quality and marketing of their honey, Riak Bumi will augment socio-economic benefits to more villages.

[Fitrian Ardiansyah, World Wide Fund for Nature WWF-Indonesia: “It is difficult for NGOs to determine what to prioritize because the companies are moving so fast.” “We need an integrated approach to the problems. Partnering with a network of NGOs made us expand our horizons, and build mutual understanding and relationships on regional issues to strategize and seek the optimal solutions.” “NGOs from the South have built a good working and sharing network on rain-forest issues through this programme; but what about the NGOs from the North?”]

As honey gatherers increasingly recognize the enhanced financial value of their honey, there is a corresponding marked shift in people’s attitudes towards local forest protection, conservation and enhancement. This includes
growing recognition among communities for the need to work cooperatively to reduce the risk of fires; to adopt self-imposed rules to guide the community in the use of forest resources; and to re-plant to enhance bee habitats and ensure future wood-supplies. In 2000 and 2001, four local villages in the park worked together to reforest 120 hectares.

Furthermore, while many bee-keeping projects throughout the developing world have focused on the introduction of frame hive bee-keeping systems, which require the importation of exotic bee species (i.e. Apis mellifera or A. cerana), the DSNP project has emphasized the need to improve upon the traditional honey-board hunting system (tikung harvesting system), which works with the indigenous A. dorsata bee and is compatible with the
ecological conditions of the DSNP.

With Riak Bumi facilitating the training of six villages in improved harvest and post-harvest processing techniques, marketing of forest honey, as well as participatory reforestation of fire-damaged sites in seven villages, the communities have heightened awareness about the need for baseline data to monitor honey production, bee population ecology and forest regeneration. As a result, permanent monitoring plots to gauge their achievements have recently been established in the DSNP.

Furthermore, in June 2002, Riak Bumi co-organized a workshop on “Anthropogenic Impacts on DSNP” that convened local communities, NGOs, government agencies and academic institutions. This resulted in a community
declaration committing them to participate in the conservation and management of the park through specific clauses on customary laws, forest protection and apiculture development. The continuation and expansion of these activities reflect the park communities’ recognition of the critical link between livelihood sustainability and the need for their active participation in biodiversity conservation.

Organic Certification 

In 2006, BIOCert an organic certifying body in Indonesia, announced that it had selected the Forest Honey Network Indonesia as its pilot project for organic certification. Guided by BIOCert, Riak Bumi, the national secretariat of the network, and the NTFP-EP (head-quartered in the Philippines) joined forces to develop Local Standards and an Internal Control System (ICS) for the Honey Producer Groups of the Wild Honey Harvesters in West Kalimantan.

While various aspects of the management system need to be analysed to determine whether the honey produced by the network qualifies for organic certification, the network seems to be well on its way to setting up its ICS and eventually becoming certified. With a number of factors already working in its favour — a sustainable management system and strong established institutions that can manage the certification process — the Forest Honey Network Indonesia’s madu (honey) may soon bear the organic seal and break into worldwide markets.

Original link: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/forest_partnership.pdf