Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+)

Panelist: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU (10 minutes)

 

From ANU CAPPE (Australian National University – Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics) Workshop on “Designing just institutions for global climate governance”

(Canberra, ANU, 30 June -1 July 2011)

 

Original link:

http://www.cappe.edu.au/docs/Climate%20governance%20workshop%20docs/Ardiansyah_paper.pdf

 

Good afternoon Colleagues,

 

First of all, I’d like to thank the organiser, particularly Jonathan, for setting up this important panel discussion and allowing me to discuss before you about one of the heated topics in the realm of climate change negotiation as well as the nexus of climate change and development, which is REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus).

 

Before I move on, I’d like to present this slide, containing a picture which I believe often reflects on the view of some if not the majority of people living in tropical developing forest nations when they try to grasp the idea about REDD+. As we may have known, the governments of some tropical forest countries have been struggling to address deforestation for decades. If we take into account emissions resulting from LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry), Indonesia and Brazil and some other countries can be considered as major emitters.

 

On the other hand, addressing deforestation means changing, altering, adjusting their development paradigms and pathways, and this definitely is not easy for these governments. As you also may have known, deforestation and forest degradation have been mostly caused or driven by the development of at least four influential sectors, namely forestry, plantations/agriculture, mining and infrastructure. These sectors have significantly contributed to economic development of these countries as well as the global market. Timber, paper, soya bean, palm oil, sugar cane are to name few commodities which have provided an increase in the level of wealth in these countries. Hence, without a provision of economic alternatives or other positive incentives, it would be a herculean task for governments of developing countries to change their development patterns by stopping or reducing deforestation, which eventually reducing emissions.

 

When, at COP-11 in Canada, a proposal was tabled for the provision of incentives and other forms of support to avoid deforestation to be part of the climate agreement by Costa Rica and Papua New Guinea, and this proposal, after reframed, debated, negotiated and refined, was incorporated in the Bali Action Plan at COP-13 in Indonesia, and recognised as one important building blocks at the last COP in Mexico, many tropical forest nations see this as a hope to both tackling deforestation and promote economic development of the countries.

 

However, in my view, there are at least 3 (three) crucial aspects if REDD+ wants to be effectively workable addressing both emissions reduction and economic developing in developing countries. These are governance, financing, and implementation capacity.

 

Let’s look at the first important aspect, which is governance. Governance performance is important, since it helps stakeholders and actors determine whether their efforts would reach the desired objectives and goals. REDD+ from its early days has gone through and under a ‘multi-level governance’ process. At the multi lateral arena, it has, among others, the UNFCCC REDD+ related negotiation, the UN REDD Programme (UN-REDD) and the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Although, REDD+ has been incorporated as part of the Cancun Package, and widely recognised that without REDD+ the 2 degree Celsius climate stabilisation goal will not be reached, the faith of this initiative still depends on the entire negotiation to reach an agreement in a bigger context of UNFCCC. A tricky part of the REDD+ in the negotiation is that it does not only include deforestation and forest degradation, but also conservation, sustainable management of forests and the enhancement of carbon stock. The inclusion of these is believed to have been done to incorporate the interests of India, China and other similar countries. Widening the scope means widening the participation of countries, although this may not necessarily widen the actions to reduce emissions and this may complicate the methodologies for carbon accounting which could also mean undermining the credibility for emissions reduction.

 

Other levels of governance that is crucial for REDD+ are the national and local levels. At these levels, issues that can be highlighted include what sort of benefit-sharing or revenue-sharing mechanisms which are going to be developed and selected and whether these mechanisms reach those actors who are really protecting and managing forests, including indigenous people; what sort of policies put in place to address deforestation as well as drivers of deforestation. Also, the high likely debates are over baseline development, transparency, corruption, the involvement of wider actors, stakeholders, forest dependent people, indigenous people, etc. As you may have known, many developing countries have issues surrounding unclear laws and policies, overlapping of policies among sectors and layers of governments resulting in deforestation and land use change.

 

The second important aspect that I would like to discuss is about the financing side, again. There is a huge question about what consider sufficient and adequate when it comes to addressing deforestation, and, whether this money is compatible with money or investment coming in from other sectors which could lead to further deforestation. Just to provide you with a good example. The bilateral agreement of Indonesia and Norway as well as Norway and Brazil each provides the possibility of funds for REDD+ US$1 billion. Is this sufficient when at the same time, for instance, there is US$8 billion available from the Chinese Development Bank for the development of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. And, unlike REDD fund, where the money will come later one, the money for oil palm development is already available.

 

Hence, there is a serious issue of opportunity costs. Countries embracing REDD+ surely need to address the interests of sectors, actors, regions, etc., who have been left out or maybe negatively impacted by the decision of the countries to have REDD+ policies. For example, economic alternative or different types of financial support may be needed so that these parties would support REDD+. Non-state actors, namely the private sector and/or financial institutions play a crucial role, first, to add to the public fund. However, their involvement would depend on whether there is certainty about a scheme that will guarantee the future of REDD credits.

 

Otherwise, demand for REDD financing, and if this only depends on public funds, risk placing pressures on donor government aid budgets as well as budgets of developing countries, resulting in the potential redistribution of funds from existing development programs that may jeopardise progress made of countries’ development. Although, the continued investment in conception phase or early actions is critical to ensure that REDD+ initiative is well designed and administered.

 

At multi-lateral arena, the challenge of financing is also clear especially when it comes to the choice of the scheme for REDD+. There are at least 3 (three) schemes proposed, which are fund-based mechanism, market-linked scheme, and the hybrid model. Under a market based scheme, countries that reduce REDD emission below a set of a pre set baseline would receive credits that could be sold in the market and used by purchasing nations to meet their international mitigation obligations. Fund based scheme involves the establishment of international funds to finance REDD activities or to provide incentives for countries to address REDD issues. There are pros and cons about consequences of either scheme. Among others, these include the leakage issues, additionality, permanence, fungibility, sovereignty, property rights, representativeness, etc.

 

My last important aspect is the capacity to implement REDD+. The capacity that I mention here includes capacity to develop baseline or reference level, to monitor, report and verify the reduction of emissions, develop and manage an institution, to develop just and fair distribution mechanism, to engage with wider actors who directly on the ground dealing with deforestation as well as at other arena. Also, which is rather more important, is the capacity to enforce or willingness to enforce any given policies or schemes that involved REDD since enforcement or lack of it may be viewed as one of the major obstacles in addressing land use change and deforestation in developing countries.

 

In brief, I would say that REDD+ provides good opportunity for developing countries to reduce emissions, contributing to mitigating climate change. However, there are crucial aspects which need to be strengthened or reformed before REDD+ becomes operationalised and reaching its goals. I thank you.

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Fixing legal loopholes in Indonesia’s forest and land use governance

January 27th, 2011

Published on East Asia Forum, Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU

As a country with one of the largest areas of rainforest in the world, it is not surprising that Indonesia is also considered a pioneer in the development of REDD+ (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

In early 2007, the Ministry of Forestry (MoF) formed the Indonesia Forest Climate Alliance (IFCA) with the help of various government departments, donor agencies, research institutions and NGOs to initiate the development of REDD+ policies. Later that year, IFCA managed to outline key elements of REDD+, including methodologies, land-use policies, institutional arrangement and benefit distribution mechanisms.

Following the work of IFCA, the MoF has issued a number of ministerial decrees, which aim at governing REDD+ demonstration activities and providing an umbrella for benefit distribution mechanisms.

Last year in Oslo, on the same occasion as the signing of a letter of intent between the Indonesian and Norwegian governments, to signal his support for REDD+, the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced his commitment to halt all new concessions for conversion of peat and natural forests in two years, supposed to start in January 2011.

To realise this, the Indonesian government has to produce a clear strategy and legal framework which guides the moratorium of forest conversion and the overall REDD+. However, these existing and potential future regulations may not be sufficient to provide firm legal direction in developing and exercising REDD+.

A number of organisations argue that to have successful REDD+ the country has to reform its forest and land use governance, starting from the regulations that have shaped this governance system.

The latest institution to speak out about this issue is Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK). When releasing its study on forestry late last year, the KPK emphasised that unclear definitions of forest areas in Law No. 41 of 1999 on Forestry and other relevant regulations (i.e., Government Regulation No. 44 of 2004, and MoF’s Decree No. 32 of 2001 and 50 of 2009) can be considered as one of the indirect causes of deforestation.

According to the KPK, this unclear definition and boundary of forest areas, coupled with the lack of applied fair procedure in designating forest areas, has weakened the legitimacy of 88.2 per cent of forest areas (more than 105.8 million hectares).

To make things worse, the KPK found that not all of these forest areas have been gazetted in law.

A study carried out by the MoF in 2009 concurs with this argument by stating that one of the indirect causes of deforestation is the difficulty of controlling the boundaries of production and protected forests, leaving them vulnerable to illegal logging.

This situation, according to the commission, has created a legal loophole for illegal loggers and illegal miners to continue their actions and avoid legal implications.

Another revelation by the KPK is that the division of authorities, roles and responsibilities among different layers of governments remains unclear and problematic, especially in determining forest areas in the spatial planning process.

In its study, the KPK found that an agreed synchronised map of forest areas which can be used by stakeholders does not as yet exist. Instead, there are at least four different versions which, utilising various scales, are not compatible with each other.

It is of course very challenging to resolve this given the variety of sectors that have interests in forest and land use — sectors which, furthermore, are regulated under different ministries and layers of government. These institutions are known to have issued overlapping policies on land use and land use changes, and influenced the issuance of different documents and maps of forest and land use.

For example, based on Law No. 41 of 1999, the authority to manage state forest is under the national-level MoF. The ministry has control over almost every activity in state forest and this law has repealed much of the authority decentralised under Law No. 22 of 1999 on Regional Governance.

This arrangement appears to be centralistic and contradict with the authority of local governments in their spatial planning under the decentralised system. As a result, there are often cases in which spatial planning which allocates forest areas at district level is contradictory with the planning at the higher ruling.

With de facto decentralisation processes, particularly in the forestry and land use sectors, occurring more quickly than de jure ones it is therefore imperative to deal with this issue seriously. The KPK has recommended the MoF to patch these legal loopholes, at the latest, by the end of this year. And, if REDD+ is to be actively and effectively carried out, it is urgent this advice is heeded.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is advisor to WWF Indonesia on climate and energy, a PhD candidate at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University and a recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

Original link: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/01/27/fixing-legal-loopholes-in-indonesia%E2%80%99s-forest-and-land-use-governance/

A critical year for REDD in Indonesia

Published in The Jakarta Post, Opinion, page 6 | Mon, 01/10/2011 9:36 AM |

Fitrian Ardiansyah and Aditya Bayunanda, Canberra

The new year has begun and the need to deal with environmental degradation, including deforestation, have become more pressing than before, yet the challenges are greater than ever.

For a few decades, Indonesia has paid a high price in terms of economic, environmental and social costs as well as negative reputation for the continued obscurity of policies to curb deforestation and a less than encouraging record in managing natural resources.

As part of efforts to alter this, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2009 stated that his government was devising a policy that would cut the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26 percent by 2020 from “business as usual” levels. A significant portion contributing to this would come from reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).

To politically and financially back up REDD+ development and implementation in this country, a letter of intent (LoI) was signed by the Indonesian and Norwegian governments in Oslo in late May last year.

The LoI came with a pledged provision of US$1 billion for Indonesia. This could be considered as the biggest single support any country has given Indonesia to date in the area of environmental management and climate change, and a significant initial step toward saving Indonesia’s peatlands and natural forests.

To show that he was serious in addressing the issue of deforestation and giving a boost to the REDD+ platform, the Indonesian President in Oslo also announced his commitment to halting all new concessions for the conversion of peatlands and natural forests in two years, supposed to start in January 2011.

January has arrived and after approximately seven months of continuous public discourses and reviews within the relevant ministries as well as inside UKP4 — a special presidential delivery unit charged with managing this LoI — the government is yet to produce a clear strategy and legal framework to support this initiative.

One sign of progress is the formation of a special taskforce that has a mandate to establish a special agency that will report directly to the President and coordinate the efforts pertaining to the development and implementation of REDD+.

Another recent development following this LoI, which happened just before the turn of the year, was the selection of Central Kalimantan province as a province-wide REDD+ pilot.

However, these moves are far from sufficient and adequate to show that Indonesia has a credible REDD+ platform.

Credibility is a key part of all REDD+ schemes that are being employed internationally. Credibility cannot be achieved without a firm national strategy and clear framework as well as legal certainty that support REDD+.

Furthermore, the absence of these aspects will hinder the development of national monitoring, reporting and verification system for GHG emissions coming from forests and peatlands – as stipulated in the LoI.

More importantly, tackling deforestation and land use changes involves different layers of governments and various sectors and actors.

These sectors are regulated under different ministries (i.e. forestry, agriculture, energy and mineral resources, and public works) and layers of governments. These institutions are known to have issued overlapping policies on land use and land use changes.

There are cases in which spatial and land use planning at the district level are different to if not contradictory with the planning at the provincial or national level.

Early in December last year, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) released the outcome of its study on forestry policies and systems. The KPK found an unclear definition of forest areas in Law No. 41/1999 on Forestry and a number of other relevant regulations.

This situation, according to the KPK, has created a legal loophole for illegal loggers and illegal miners to continue their operations and avoid the legal implications.

According to the KPK’s findings, the division of authority, roles and responsibilities among different layers of governments remains unclear and problematic, especially in determining forest areas in a spatial planning process.

This situation has led to legal uncertainty, which is a prerequisite for serious investment in sustainable forest management and land use as well as community-based forest managed by local and indigenous people, which would support the country’s sustainable development.

It is therefore essential for the government to immediately come up with an initial but clear regulation (e.g. government regulation or higher ruling), strategy and framework that indicate the high level of seriousness to solve the uncertainty of land use systems, planning and coordination.

Substance-wise, this legal backing for REDD+ needs to prioritize the termination of  the conversion of natural forests, peatlands and other terrestrial ecosystems that are rich in carbon and have significant ecological and social values, but are at risk of being converted or destructively logged.

The legal framework backing up REDD+ is also required to clearly state that halting deforestation will not hinder development in other sectors.

On the other hand, a good regulation on REDD+ would create the urgency needed for the country to arrive with decisions over conflicting land use that have remained unresolved and have disrupted development, despite the fact that the Forestry Law stipulates this issue should be completed by the end of last year.

This overall process must be seen as a step forward to reform natural resource management of the country.

With or without foreign aid, the country’s future depends so much on the development path that we choose today.

Embarking on a sustainable path may be daunting but it is imperative for Indonesia, for the sake of its economy, environment and, most importantly, people.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is an advisor to WWF-Indonesia on climate and Aditya Bayunanda is Forest Trade Network manager of WWF-Indonesia.

Original link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/01/10/a-critical-year-redd-indonesia.html

Untangling the web of REDD governance

Fitrian Ardiansyah, Climate Solutions Column, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 08/03/2010 8:08 AM | Environment

Following the signing of an agreement between Norway and Indonesia implementing the UN’s reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation plus (REDD+) program, the Indonesian government is seriously considering an idea to establish a REDD council.

This council is expected to report directly to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to coordinate REDD+ implementation efforts in the country.

In addition, the council would regulate REDD+ projects and decide which projects would be endorsed prior to registration at the United Nations (UN).

The government thinks that unapproved REDD projects would be prevented by the creation of
this council.

Unsurprisingly, the idea to establish a REDD council has sparked different responses. Some have supported it and others have responded skeptically.

Those supporting the idea state that the council is crucial for the country to reduce emissions from deforestation comprehensively — across sectors — and lift the burden of this gigantic task from the Forestry Ministry.

According to Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, the REDD council may reduce his ministry’s authority on forests, but could also help the ministry focus on its main (and huge) task of managing Indonesia’s dwindling forests.

Proponents of a REDD council believe it would smooth the process of developing policies, institutions and a legal framework for the implementation of REDD+.

On the other hand, others argue that REDD council may not be the appropriate institution to ensure coordination across sectors and among different layers of governments and actors when it comes to dealing with deforestation and land use changes.

Deforestation and the destruction of terrestrial ecosystems are often associated with the development of major sectors such as forestry, agriculture, mining and infrastructure.

These sectors are regulated under different ministries (i.e., forestry, agriculture, energy and mineral resources and public works). These ministries are known to have often overlapping policies on land use and land use changes.

It is therefore essential that any institution developed to oversee the formulation and implementation
of REDD+ has to actively and directly involve and coordinate these sectors and the ministries overseeing the sectors.

A REDD council needs to get these sectors involved and to gain support when it comes to issuing and implementing policies on REDD+.

Good policies on REDD+ are required to cover and clarify forest tenure and management, overlapping land use and agricultural policies and coordination of district, provincial and national level agencies and actors.

Some experts suggest that the country needs to learn a lesson from the current National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) as well as other relevant institutions and policies created by the President and his ministries.

The creation of DNPI in 2008 by Yudhoyono is an attempt to guide Indonesia’s efforts in integrating climate change into its development agenda.

To be able to do this, support from different sectors, governments and actors at national, provincial and district levels is crucial. However, securing this support remains a continuous challenge for DNPI.

DNPI itself has a working group on forestry issues that has been dealing with REDD Plus. It is yet to be seen as to how this unit will be positioned vis-a-vis a new REDD council.

The country also has the Coordinating Board of Spatial Planning (BKPRN) — led by the Coordinating Economic Ministry and supported by at least 13 ministries and agencies — that has the task to prepare, coordinate and monitor national spatial and land use planning.

In the context of these policies, the government has released a number of official documents that  emphasize the challenges of key climate change actions in sectors such as forestry, land use and agriculture.

These include the Finance Ministry’s Green Paper, the Environment Ministry’s Indonesia Second National Communication and the National Development Planning Ministry’s Indonesia Climate Change Sectoral Roadmap.

Without careful and thorough assessment, the establishment of a REDD council and its future policies would further tangle already a complicated web of forest and land use management.

Studies show that decentralization in this country, particularly in the forestry and land use sectors, has been incredibly rapid, with decentralization occurring effectively more quickly than legally.

Local governments, groups and individuals appear to have more power and authority. This has contributed to the gradual decline of the central government’s ability to both manage and protect forest and land use resources.

Having learnt from this and to demonstrate a good process in integrating sub-national and national levels of effective land use policies, recent initiatives to promote sustainable development have been
formulated.

These include “The Road Map for Saving Sumatra Island and Ecosystem”, “the Heart of Borneo” and “Papua Government Initiative”.

If formally established, it is important for REDD council to accommodate local voices and concerns and adjust its system to ensure effective implementation of REDD+.

The proposed REDD council is perceived as the litmus test to Indonesia’s ability to curb deforestation.

All will only end well if the government can come up with a design that can overcome the challenges mentioned above.

The writer is a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award and advisor to the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia on climate and energy issues. He can be reached at fitrian.ardiansyah@anu.edu.au

Original link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2010/08/03/untangling-web-redd-governance.html