Pushing forward to better land use

The Jakarta Post, Fitrian Ardiansyah and Thomas Barano, Jakarta | Sun, 27 May 2012, 8:00 AM

May and June are shaping up to show if Indonesia has achieved significant progress in promoting better land-use management, particularly in reducing deforestation and land degradation.

May 20, for instance, marks the completion of the first year of Indonesia’s two-year moratorium on new permits for primary forest and peat-land clearing. June 5 is World Environment Day, with its “Green Economy: Does it Include You?” theme — in which land-use management is considered to be one of six high-growth sectors in the green economy.

The moratorium is an integral part of REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks, and sustainable management of forest) policy development and is expected to improve forest and land-use governance, especially in synergizing mapping and licensing systems.

A synchronized, synergized and agreed-to map — adhered by various sectors and layers of government — of forest and land use in Indonesia is fundamental to address the challenges facing our land-use management.

The recent debate between Greenpeace and the President’s special staff on climate change on the exact figure of forest cover loss has reaffirmed the importance of having a credible, reliable, accessible and transparent mapping system of forest and land use. Without that, Indonesia cannot measure and account for greenhouse gas emissions, land-use changes and forests.

More importantly, a credible map would lay the foundations for the settlement of land conflicts.

In December 2010, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) found in its study on forestry policies and systems that a synchronized map of forest areas that can be used by stakeholders did not exist. Instead, there were at least four different versions that, utilizing various scales, were incompatible with each other.

According to the KPK, the lack of a consolidated map, coupled with unclear definitions and boundaries of forest areas as well as a lack of fair procedures in designating forest areas, has weakened the legitimacy of 88.2 percent of forest areas, or more than 105.8 million hectares.

Despite the fact that it is very challenging to have an agreed map, given the variety of sectors and actors that have interests in forest and land use, it appears that this issue has been gradually addressed through the development and refinement of the moratorium-indicative map (MIM).

The REDD+ taskforce, which is given a mandate by Indonesia’s President to develop the national REDD+ strategy, has been working with different agencies to arrive at an agreed, indicative map of the moratorium, to avoid confusion and create legal certainty.

The agencies include the National Survey and Mapping Coordinating Agency (Bakosurtanal), the Forestry and Agriculture Ministries, the National Land Agency (BPN) and the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4).

The MIM is required to outline the areas covered in the moratorium and is being updated every six months to integrate the latest sets of data from additional agencies and to incorporate results from site visits.

To date, a second MIM is available, albeit with some discrepancies of figures between the two maps, as reported by the taskforce.

In the first MIM, the total moratorium area was 69.1 million hectares with, primary forests and peat-land accounting for 7.2 million and 10.68 million hectares. In the second MIM, the total moratorium area was reduced to 65.5 million hectares, with primary forests and peat-land covering 8.39 million and 5.9 million hectares.

Overall, the total change in moratorium area is 3.6 million hectares, with changes in primary forests and peat-land of 1.16 million and 4.76 million hectares.

The taskforce argues that such differences occurred because the first MIM only used definitions of natural-primary forests from the Forestry Ministry and definitions of peat-land from the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) and Wetlands International, incorporating areas with ongoing land-use activities such as for estate crops and settlements, covered only by licenses issued by the ministry without any field-survey
components.

The second MIM, according to the taskforce, has covered information provided by different agencies involved. This map, for instance, has taken into account the definitions and data of peat-land from the Agriculture Ministry, licenses issued by the BPN, and some field studies and research on peat-land nationwide.

Since there are many sectors and actors involved, it is understandable that synchronizing the map may add or reduce the relevant forest and land cover figures. Also, negotiations and trade-offs are likely to take place among these sectors and actors.

To obtain a credible map, however, such processes need transparency that allows the wider public to access the map.

The recent case of the clearing and burning of Tripa peat-swamp forests for palm oil in Aceh’s Nagan Raya district is a clear example of a “small” but serious discrepancy of forest and land cover in the MIM that needs to be urgently addressed, especially when it comes to monitoring and evaluating land-use licenses and activities in more than 400 local governments.

The involvement of civil society in protesting the license issued for this land and reporting this case to the central government has eventually pushed the REDD+ taskforce, the Environment Ministry, the National Police and the Attorney General’s Office investigate this case.

This recent case clearly provides a valuable lesson. For instance, to avoid future land conflicts at the local level, improving spatial resolution of the MIM needs to be prioritized.

Further, it is imperative to produce a common map not only for the sake of legal certainty but to also provide credible and transparent mapping and licensing systems — feeding back to district/provincial land-use policies and regimes — so that land-use management will bring about better social, economic and environmental outcomes.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University and a recipient of an Australian Leadership Award and an Allison Sudradjat Award. Thomas Barano is conservation spatial planning specialist of WWF-Indonesia.

Advertisements

Saving Sumatra’s forests: World heritage in danger

The Jakarta Post, Fitrian Ardiansyah and Thomas Barano, Canberra/Jakarta | Sun, 04/22/2012 12:49 PM

Original link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/04/22/saving-sumatra-s-forests-world-heritage-danger.html

In light of the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day, celebrated this year on April 22, the government and citizens of Indonesia are again reminded of the huge challenges they face in halting or reversing the declining state of their natural forests, including those on Sumatra.

Sumatra is a rare island in that it harbors four endangered and unique mammals, namely the Sumatran orangutan, the Sumatran elephant, the Sumatran rhino and the Sumatran tiger.

Its lowland forests are recognized as part of the Global 200 Ecoregions — nature regions, landscapes or seascapes that are exceptionally important and symbolic for the survival of rich biodiversity features.

In 2004, 2.5 million hectares of Sumatra’s rainforests were included on the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for their rich and unique biodiversity.

According to UNESCO, the tropical rainforest heritage of Sumatra, comprising Gunung Leuser, Kerinci Seblat and Bukit Barisan Selatan national parks, is home to an estimated 10,000 plant species, more than 200 mammal species and some 580 bird species.

However, the forests on this island have come under the constant threat of destructive and illegal logging activities, expansion of agriculture and pulp plantations, as well as infrastructure development.

Then environment minister Gusti Mohammad Hatta stated in 2010 that Sumatra had experienced tremendous pressures resulting from natural resource exploitation. He further argued that natural forests had decreased, leaving only 29 percent of forest cover on the island.

A 2010 technical report submitted to the National Forestry Council and the National Development Planning Agency, which provided scientific analysis of the state of Sumatra’s natural forests, found a steep decline in forest area from 25.3 million hectares (58 percent of land cover) in 1985 to 12.8 million hectares in 2008/2009 (29 percent), which equals an annual loss of 0.54 million hectares (approximately eight times that of Jakarta’s territory).

In 2011, UNESCO placed the tropical rainforest heritage of Sumatra on the list of those world heritage sites in danger. The organization viewed that the forests had been frequently under pressure from poaching, illegal logging, agricultural encroachment and road development.

To respond to these challenges, plans and initiatives have been developed, with activities undertaken at different levels, particularly focusing on sustaining the management and conserving the remaining forests on the island.

One of the key initiatives is the Road Map for Saving the Sumatra Ecosystem: Sumatra’s Vision 2020, which was signed in 2010 by four ministers (forestry, environment, home and public works) and 10 governors (Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, Riau, Bangka-Belitung, Bengkulu, South Sumatra and Lampung).

This initiative outlines the governments’ commitment to developing spatial plans on the island based on ecosystem values, functions and services, restoring critical areas and protecting the remaining conservation high value areas.

Key components of this initiative include the promotion of sustainable forests, responsible agriculture development and payments for environmental services, such as for water services and forest carbon.

An initial good sign appears in the form of Presidential Decree No. 13/2012 on Sumatra Island Spatial Planning, which stipulates the intention of the government to at least maintain 40 percent of remaining forests as conservation areas and restore already degraded forests.

Yet, there is a gulf between a high-level commitment and seeing desired changes on the ground.

To bridge the gap between commitment and implementation, strong support from the corporate sector is required, mainly from agriculture and pulp plantations, to ensure that the development of plantations will no longer replace forests and peat lands.

A recent petition signed on behalf of various organizations submitted to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to save the habitats of orangutans in the Gunung Leuser ecosystem proves the necessity of engaging the aforementioned sector. In this letter, these organizations say that the fires that are intended to clear forests in the province of Aceh for oil palm plantations have threatened the ecosystem, endangering 300 orangutans and pushing the species even closer to extinction.

Another aspect crucially required to realize the commitment is the support and involvement of local governments and people as well as indigenous communities. With a decentralized government system in place, regional governments hold relatively more power and authority to manage and control their natural resources.

Options or incentives provided to help local governments to develop their economies in sustainable ways are, thus, imperative to keep the remaining forests intact.

Such incentives — for forest protection and management — particularly have to be significant so that they are sufficient enough to counter the economic drivers of deforestation, which include logging and plantation development.

More importantly, these incentives have to reach local and indigenous communities, who are considered the users and providers of ecosystem services. Without their support and involvement, any initiatives may yield results but will not last long.

Furthermore, since Sumatra’s rainforests have been acknowledged as one of the world’s treasures, international communities have a high degree of responsibility to contribute to the creation of positive incentives that can advance the conservation and sustainable management of these globally significant forests.

As reflected by this year’s Earth Day theme: “Mobilizing the Earth”, initiatives to save what remains of Sumatra’s forests clearly require strong support from and the involvement of different actors at different levels.

Such a broad-based effort in garnering support is definitely a good test-case as to whether we, the people of this planet, can stand united in creating a sustainable future, at least, for Sumatra and its inhabitants.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University and the recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award. Thomas Barano is a conservation spatial planning specialist from WWF Indonesia.

Revisiting the global role of tropical forest nations

The Strategic Review Journal, Volumen 2, No. 1, Jan-Mar 2012.

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah is a Climate and Sustainability Specialist Based in Canberra, Australia. He spent 14 years working in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, including as the Adviser and Program Director for climate and energy at World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia.

Please find the link to the first part of this article here: http://www.sr-indonesia.com/this-months-issue/indonesia-360/131-revisiting-the-global-role-of-tropical-forest-nations (the complete article can be purchased by subscribing to the journal). This first part of the can also be found below:

Revisiting the global role of tropical forest nations

Rapid development of tropical forest nations has led not only to economic growth but also to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, these nations are home to peatlands, savannas and half of the world’s forests, which are considered among the most valuable ecosystems in the world.

The trade of timber and other products derived from these ecosystems provides substantial foreign exchange earnings for these nations and contributes to global wealth. Such economic gains, however, are accompanied by a high rate of forest loss, which is turn has been identified as a crucial factor in causing flooding, droughts, wildfires and recently, climate change. Striking the right balance between economic development and environmental protection, therefore, is an immediate challenge for these nations and the world.

Tropical forest nations, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), include 23 countries in the Americas, 37 in Africa and 16 in Asia. Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Indonesia are the three largest tropical forest nations, each representing a different continent (Figure 1). The combined total estimated forest area of these three nations in 2010, as reported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), is 771.5 million hectares – more than half of the world’s tropical forests. For decades, government policies and private investment in these three nations have been viewed as the root causes of the exploitation of their forests and terrestrial ecosystems. These policies and investments have yielded considerable economic returns. Forests play an important role in the national economies of these three countries and provide livelihoods for local communities.

Figure 1: The Map of Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia

click picture for bigger size

Source: The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), 2011

In Brazil, a study written by Eustáquio J Reis and Fernando A Blanco and published in 2000 revealed that macroeconomic and regional policies implemented after the 1960s played a decisive role in driving forest exploitation and clearance. For instance, credit and fiscal subsidies to agriculture, supported by an expanded road network, pushed the agricultural frontier, particularly cattle ranching, further into the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest. In recent decades, however, multiple factors and actors have been considered as the driving forces. These include road, railway and other infrastructure construction, government policies on colonization and subsidies for agro-pastoral projects (mainly cattle ranching), agricultural modernization (associated with the diversification of output towards commercial crops such as soybeans), timber extraction and mining, and charcoal production.

To read the complete article: Subscribe now

About Strategic Review:

The Strategic Review is the Indonesian Journal of Leadership, Policy and World Affairs with its editorial board led by Dr Hassan Wirajuda (Former Minister of Foreign Affairs) and its advisory board consists of Prof Juwono Sudarsono (Former Minister of Defense), Let Gen (Ret) Agus Widjojo (Executive Board in the Partnership for Governance Reform), Prof. John Thomas (Harvard Kennedy School of Government USA), Prof. Erhard Friedberg (Sciences Po France) and Prof Arne Westad (London School of Economics UK).

Along with my article, there are other articles published in this edition including those written by Christine Lagarde (Managing Director of the IMF), Dr Dino Patti Djalal (The Ambassador of Indonesia to the US), Dr Muhammad Chatib Basri (the Vice Chairman  of the National Economic Committee of the President  of the Republic of Indonesia) and Sydney Jones (International Crisis Group). The complete journal can be found at http://www.sr-indonesia.com/

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.

Environment Day: A good day for RI’s forests?

The Jakarta Post, Opinion, Fitrian Ardiansyah, Canberra ACT | Mon, 13 June 2011. 6:44 PM

Original link:

This year’s World Environment Day, which sports the theme “Forests: Nature at your service” is likely to be celebrated in a more “colorful” way in Indonesia.

This may be due to the fact that in the last two weeks prior to June 5, three influential policies were issued by the government. These were two presidential decrees concerning forests and the most recent economic development master plan.

If not properly guided, managed and implemented, these three policies have the potential to be contradictory and hence could ruin a significant chance for Indonesia to sustainably manage its remaining valuable forests.

For instance, on Friday, May 20, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a presidential instruction number 10 of 2011 regarding a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear primary forests and peatland throughout Indonesia.

This long-awaited moratorium, which was intended to reduce deforestation, may provide a relative degree of certainty for pushing the overall program of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and land use management and development in Indonesia.

However, the decree has been met with polarized reactions and many believe it is a product of a heavy compromise.

The first issue to be debated has been the clarity of figures used as the basis for the moratorium.

According to the recent government data which may be based on an indicative map attached to the moratorium document, the moratorium would cover 64.2 million hectares of primary forests and 24.5 million hectares of peatland.

These figures appear to contradict earlier figures released by the government.

In February 2010, for example, the forestry minister himself stated that the remaining amount of primary forest in Indonesia was 43 million hectares.

In addition, the National Working Group on Peatland Management, a government taskforce led by the Home Ministry, estimated that in 2006 Indonesia had around 20 million hectares of peatland, distributed mainly in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua.

Observing the indicative map, another important aspect that needs to be scrutinized is that a significant percentage of the primary forests are already protected under Indonesian laws in the form of national parks and other conservation areas.

Several conservation organizations have said the moratorium will extend protection to only an additional 14 percent of primary forests.

Another critical dimension to this decree is that it only prohibits the issuance of new permits for logging, conversion and different types of exploitation of primary forests and peatlands.

The challenging question now is to calculate the size of areas of primary forests and peatlands that are already under old and existing concessions, or areas listed under “vital” development programs excluded by this moratorium, as stipulated in the decree.

We may all be surprised to see the exact number and size of these permits.

Another presidential decree released the day before, on May 19, allowing conditional underground mining in protected forest areas, for example, could further cloud the definition of what are regarded as “vital” activities that can continue to operate in primary forests.

Not only does the decree allow geothermal activities to be developed, but also possibly encourage other destructive mining activities to take place.

Furthermore, critics say the presidential instruction covers only primary forests and peatland, leaving out secondary forests.

Secondary forests in Indonesia cover an area of more than 20 million hectares and these areas have been constantly threatened by both legal and illegal logging activities and clearing for agricultural or industrial purposes.

If the government is serious about its commitment to reduce Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent, it needs to comprehensively take into account its efforts in avoiding deforestation in primary and secondary forests as well as peatlands.

A crucial aspect which seems to have been left out is support for actors, sectors, regions or communities negatively impacted by the moratorium, for example in the form of alternative economic schemes, opportunities or technological or financial means.

As we may know, without comprehensive support for these parties, it may be very challenging to implement the moratorium in the field.

The government needs to send a clear signal, particularly to those who stand to lose as result of the moratorium, that they will be treated fairly.

There is a huge opportunity to use the last week’s published Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI) to tackle this challenge.

The government has informed the public it will invest around Rp200 trillion (US$23.4 billion) to develop six economic corridors promoting palm oil, rubber and other industries under the MP3EI program.

If it utilizes the MP3EI funding carefully, the government could assist planters, loggers and other land users to achieve more efficient and productive output when it comes to utilizing their land.

In the case of palm oil, according to a study conducted in 2007, if oil palm plantation productivity can be improved, there would be no need for the oil palm plantation sector to further expand its land usage, as growth in demand could be met by improving yields of existing plantations by 1.5-2.0 percent per year.

This intervention could poten-tially reduce the need to convert forests and peatlands to oil palm plantation.

If this opportunity is ignored and the MP3EI program is not synergized with the moratorium and vice versa, the parties not benefiting from the moratorium will use the economic development master plan as an excuse to continue their “business-as-usual” activities.

If this is the case, Indonesia and its people will still be struggling to achieve balanced development, promoting economic development on the one hand and taking care of the environment on the other.

As citizens of this country, we need to ensure that the government and influential parties make the right decision and that the Environment Day we celebrate this year is meaningful.

The writer is a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

This article was re-published in East Asia Forum on 16 July 2011 at:

http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/07/16/environment-day-a-good-day-for-ri-s-forests/

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/

Mencermati Nasib Hutan Indonesia Pada 2011

Dipublikasikan di ANTARA, Karkhas, 09 Jan 2011 21:55:19

Oleh Fitrian Ardiansyah*

Dalam pergantian tahun banyak yang berharap bahwa Indonesia akan menjadi lebih baik dari sebelumnya, termasuk tentunya keberadaan hutan yang menjadi lebih lestari dan terjaga.

Hutan di Indonesia merupakan salah satu yang terluas di dunia. Selama bertahun-tahun hutan kerap berfungsi sebagai salah satu mesin pertumbuhan ekonomi nasional dan daerah, serta bertindak sebagai penyokong kehidupan masyarakat setempat dan adat.

Pada tahun 90-an, Indonesia dikenal sebagai pengekspor utama produk kayu lapis di dunia. Selain itu, negara ini juga mengekspor produk sektor kehutanan lainnya secara signifikan.

Tahun 1985, devisa yang dihasilkan dari ekspor produk sektor kehutanan mencapai 1,2 miliar dollar AS. Nilai ekspor ini kemudian naik pada 2003 menjadi sekitar 6,6 miliar dollar AS, atau sekitar 13,7 persen dari total ekspor non-migas Indonesia.

Meski pada 2009 dan 2010 penerimaan dari sektor industri kehutanan nasional turun, nilai ekspornya masih cukup besar yaitu mencapai 6,7 miliar dolar AS.

Hanya saja, keuntungan ekonomi yang diraup dalam bentuk nilai ekspor ini sering kali tidak tercermin ke dalam bentuk peningkatan kesejahteraan masyarakat yang hidup di sekitar hutan dan dampak lingkungan yang terjadi karena kerusakan dan kehilangan hutan.

Secara nasional, berdasarkan data Kementerian Negara Pembangunan Daerah Tertinggal (PDT), jumlah penduduk yang tinggal di desa hutan itu mencapai 33,5 juta jiwa dan diperkirakan hampir setengahnya masuk dalam kategori keluarga miskin.

Kehilangan dan kerusakan hutan yang berkontribusi terhadap bencana lingkungan, semisal banjir, kebakaran hutan dan lahan, kekeringan serta tanah longsor, mempunyai laju yang mengkhawatirkan.

Dari data Kementerian Kehutanan (Kemenhut) sendiri dan analisis akademis, tercatat bahwa laju kehilangan hutan di tahun 90-an merupakan yang tertinggi yaitu sekitar 1,87 juta hektare per tahunnya.

Data terbaru dari Kemenhut menunjukkan bahwa walaupun berkurang, laju kehilangan hutan masih mencapai 0,8 juta hektare per tahunnya, dari tahun 2006 ke 2008. Sedangkan hutan yang rusak terhitung seluas 59,7 juta hektare sampai tahun 2002.

Lalu, apakah harapan akan perbaikan pengelolaan hutan untuk lebih lestari hanya akan menjadi harapan kosong? Seharusnya tidak.

Presiden Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pada 2010 berkomitmen menyelamatkan hutan alam yang masih tersisa di bawah naungan inisiatif REDD (pengurangan emisi gas rumah kaca dari pencegahan kehilangan dan kerusakan hutan).

Komitmen ini di sampaikan dalam bentuk janji presiden untuk menghentikan izin baru bagi aktivitas yang akan membuka hutan alam dan gambut sejak Januari tahun ini, seiring penandatangangan perjanjian bilateral antara Indonesia dan Norwegia untuk mendukung inisiatif REDD.

Januari 2011 sudah tiba dan kita memasuki Tahun Hutan Internasional yang dicetuskan PBB.

Satu tahun juga hampir terlampaui sejak penandatangan perjanjian bilateral REDD dan disampaikannya janji presiden tersebut.

Tahun ini, karenanya, adalah saat yang tepat untuk melihat apakah janji tersebut diwujudkan ke dalam produk hukum yang jelas dan tegas, mekanisme keuangan yang adil, dan program pembangunan yang menjamin terselamatkannya hutan alam dan gambut yang masih tersisa di bumi Nusantara.

Produk hukum yang jelas dan tegas ini sangat dibutuhkan, karena menurut hasil penelitian Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (KPK) yang dipublikasikan awal Desember tahun lalu, salah satu hal yang penting yang mendorong terjadinya korupsi dan kejahatan kehutanan adalah adanya ketidakjelasan dalam aspek hukum kehutanan.

KPK menemukan ketidakpastian definisi kawasan hutan dalam UU no. 41 tahun 2009, PP no. 44 tahun 2004, SK Menhut no. 32 tahun 2001, dan Permenhut no. 50 tahun 2009.

Situasi seperti ini memungkinkan terjadinya perlakuan memihak yang dapat dimanfaatkan untuk meloloskan pelaku pembalakan liar (illegal logging) dan penambangan ilegal dari jeratan hukum.

Selain itu, ketidakpastian ini juga menimbulkan tumpang tindih kewenangan dalam menentukan kawasan hutan antara pusat dan daerah terkait Rencana Tata Ruang Wilayah.

Temuan KPK lainnya menunjukkan lemahnya legalitas dan legitimasi penunjukan 88,2 persen kawasan hutan (lebih dari 105,8 juta ha) yang sampai saat ini pun sebenarnya belum seluruhnya selesai ditetapkan.

Keadaan semacam ini mengakibatkan pengelolaan ruang dan hutan di Indonesia rentan korupsi dan konflik yang pada gilirannya berujung kepada ketidakpastian hak dan ruang investasi serta tidak jelasnya pengelolaan kawasan hutan di lapangan.

Padahal agar tercapai pemanfaatan ruang yang optimal sekaligus menjaga hutan dan ekosistem penting yang masih tersisa, kepastian hukum menjadi syarat mutlak.

Karena tanpa kepastian hukum dengan didukung penegakannya yang sungguh-sungguh, investasi yang serius untuk membenahi pengelolaan hutan secara lestari dan pengelolaan ruang yang merangkum pihak swasta sekaligus masyarakat setempat dan adat sulit terwujud.

Kepastian hukum ini tentunya harus pula didukung oleh mekanisme keuangan yang adil dan program ekonomi yang secara kreatif meningkatkan nilai tambah bagi produk hutan.

Program ekonomi yang bukan saja berorientasi kepada devisa dari hasil ekspor produk kayu, tetapi juga kepada produk non-kayu dan jasa lingkungan sehingga menaikkan kesejahteraan ekonomi masyarakat setempat dan adat, sekaligus menjaga kelestarian hutan serta menekan bencana lingkungan.

Banyak yang menanti apakah janji yang diucapkan untuk penyelamatan hutan Indonesia terwujud mulai tahun ini?

*Fitrian adalah Penerima Australian Leadership Award dan Allison Sudradjat Award, Penasihat Program Perubahan Iklim dan Energi, WWF-Indonesia, dan Kandidat Doktor di Australian National University

Original link: http://www.antarajatim.com/lihat/berita/52788/mencermati-nasib-hutan-indonesia-pada-2011