Geopolitical Map of REDD+ negotiation: An analytical report

UNREDD Geopolitical mapThis report is prepared by Pelangi Indonesia, commissioned by the UN-REDD Indonesia Programme. The writing team consists of Fitrian Ardiansyah, Melati, Boyke Lakaseru, Reza Anggara and Yasmi Adriansyah. This report presents an analysis to stimulate discussion on the geopolitical situation of REDD+ negotiation at the global level, prior to the COP (Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC)-18 in Doha, Qatar. The views expressed are entirely of Pelangi Indonesia and the writing team’s own and not that of the UN-REDD Indonesia Programme or the Government of the Republic of Indonesia.

This report was submitted to the UN-REDD Indonesia Programme in October 2012.

For the full report, please click here GEOPOLITICAL MAP OF REDD+ NEGOTIATION: An analytical report

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

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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.

Kesepakatan politis Kopenhagen dan masa depan bumi

Fitrian Ardiansyah, Koran Tempo, Kolom Ilmu dan Teknologi, 6 Januari 2010, Halaman B5

Guna mencegah perubahan iklim yang dahsyat, secara terus-menerus masyarakat dunia berupaya memastikan didapatkannya kesepakatan yang mengikat semua negara. Untuk mencapai hal tersebut, sekitar dua tahun sejak dari Bali ratusan negara bernegosiasi di bawah Kerangka Konvensi Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa tentang Perubahan Iklim.

Banyak yang mengharapkan Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi Perubahan Iklim ke-15 di Kopenhagen yang lalu dapat menghasilkan kesepakatan yang adil, ambisius dan mengikat. Sebelum Kopenhagen, selain dari Konvensi, PPB mempunyai perjanjian yang mengikat yang dikenal sebagai Protokol Kyoto. Namun, Protokol ini baru mengatur periode pertama (2008-2012) penurunan emisi gas rumah kaca (GRK) dari negara-negara maju sekitar 5 persen dari tingkat emisi pada 1990.

Karena itu, dibutuhkan perjanjian yang mengatur keberlanjutan periode kedua dari Protokol Kyoto serta perjanjian baru yang mengatur seluruh negara untuk secara wajib maupun sukarela mempunyai penurunan emisi besar-besaran.

Diharapkan, negara-negara maju secara berkewajiban menurunkan emisi GRK sekitar 25-40 persen pada tahun 2020 dibandingkan tingkat emisi pada 1990. Sedangkan, negara-negara berkembang secara sukarela menurunkan emisi sekitar rata-rata 30 persen dibandingkan grafik proyeksi pembangunan seperti layaknya saat ini (business as usual).

Seandainya ini tercapai, kenaikan suhu rata-rata muka bumi tidak akan melebihi 2 derajat Celsius – suatu ambang batas yang masih dianggap aman dan belum menimbulkan dampak parah akibat perubahan iklim.

Nyatanya, dinginnya Kopenhagen selama dua pekan sepertinya hanya memberi jalan bagi 119 kepala negara dan puluhan ribu perunding untuk ”sekedar” menghasilkan kesepakatan politis yang dikenal sebagai Copenhagen Accord.

Untuk mendapatkannya memang tidaklah mudah. Walau semua negara terkesan ”bergulat” sampai detik terakhir, keputusan yang ada hanyalah berstatus sebagai ”catatan semata” (taking note of the Accord). Status seperti ini tentulah sangat rapuh, dan tidak mengikat secara hukum. Nasib bumi dipertaruhkan sedangkan berbagai aspek untuk menanggulangi dan beradaptasi terhadap perubahan iklim menjadi tidak terlalu jelas.

Kesepakatan Politis Kopenhagen memang mencantumkan ambisi global dengan angka 2 derajat Celsius. Hanya, karena tidak ada target pengurangan emisi GRK yang jelas – terutama dari negara-negara maju – dalam penurunan emisi, diproyeksikan suhu rata-rata muka bumi dapat meningkat sampai setinggi 3,9 derajat Celsius.

Hal ini dapat berakibat kepada ratusan juta bahkan mungkin hampir setengah milyar penduduk bumi yang akan terkena dampak perubahan iklim dari banjir bandang di daerah pesisir, sampai kepada bahaya kelaparan, seperti yang ditulis dalam Review Stern.

Satu hal yang bisa dikatakan ”menggembirakan” yang tertuang di dalam kesepakatan politis ini adalah klausul penyediaan dana. Di dalam Kesepakatan Kopenhagen ini, negara-negara maju menjanjikan sekitar 30 milyar dolar Amerika sebagai dana tanggap awal (fast-start financing) untuk membantu negara-negara berkembang melakukan upaya adaptasi dan mitigasi, termasuk di sektor kehutanan.

Dana tersebut dapat bertambah sampai mencapai US$ 100 milyar pada 2020. Untuk mengaturnya akan dibentuk Copenhagen Green Climate Fund. Ini merupakan tanda yang baik, walaupun dana yang ditawarkan masih jauh dari harapan, karena selama bertahun-tahun sangat sulit bagi negara maju untuk berkomitmen mengeluarkan angka pasti kontribusi pendanaan mereak bagi negara berkembang.

Satu hal lagi yang mungkin menguntungkan bagi negara hutan tropis seperti Indonesia, adalah diakuinya REDD (pengurangan emisi dari upaya pencegahan deforestasi dan degradasi hutan).

Meski demikian, secara keseluruhan kesepakatan politis ini masih jauh dari cita-cita terjaminnya masa depan yang lebih aman bagi kita dan anak-cucu kita akibat dampak perubahan iklim.

Semua negara masih harus mendorong dicapainya perjanjian yang lebih mengikat secara hukum yang diharapkan dihasilkan di tahun ini. Suatu perjanjian yang secara menyeluruh dapat membuat kita lebih siap menghadapi perubahan iklim beserta dampaknya di tingkat dunia, nasional dan lokal.


Seeing light at the end of the tunnel

Fitrian Ardiansyah   |  Tue, 12/15/2009 10:34 AM  |  Environment

Tens of thousands protesters who took to the streets last Saturday and roughly 20,000 delegates inside the Climate Conference building have warmed the temperature a notch in Denmark’s chilly capital, demanding and negotiating a global climate agreement.

Prior to observing or getting involved in the roller-coaster negotiations, delegates need to be reminded of the aim of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The UNFCCC, ratified by 192 countries, is designed to keep levels of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous climate change.

One of the key elements of the UNFCCC is the idea that its 192 parties should combat climate change “on the basis of equality and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”.

This means that all parties involved have a responsibility, but developed nations must carry the burden, as they have greater capabilities and historical responsibilities.

This is why the treaty later on set provisions known as the Kyoto Protocol that resulted in mandatory emission limits for developed countries.

The protocol was the first international agreement setting binding targets for industrialized countries to reduce GHG emissions by at least 5 percent compared to 1990 levels. This is carried out in the first commitment period of the protocol starting from 2008 and ending in 2012.

The United States, however, never ratified the Kyoto Protocol. It is felt that without the involvement of the US, any international agreement is limited in its ability to tackle climate change.

At the Bali Conference of Parties (COP-13), the UNFCCC concluded with the adoption of the Bali Action Plan (BAP) – a number of forward-looking decisions or various tracks to be completed by 2009, which are essential to reaching a secure climate future after 2012.

Under the dual-track negotiation mechanism, two working groups are conducting the UN-led climate change talks, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Actions under the Convention (AWG-LCA).

AWG-KP’s objective is to forge an agreement on future commitments for industrialized countries (or also known as Annex I Parties) under the Kyoto Protocol.

AWG-LCA’s aim is to enable the full, effective and sustained implementation of the convention through long-term cooperative action, now, up to and beyond 2012, so that an agreed outcome can be reached at its fifteenth session and a decision taken.

For about two years, parties involved in the UNFCCC have been debating and exchanging arguments through these two tracks or working groups.

In Copenhagen, parties to the convention proposed many texts under these two tracks while aiming to reach an agreement through a dynamic process.

While the Danish, AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States), BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) each distributed their draft texts of the agreement earlier last week, the chairmen of AWG-LCA and AWG-KP finally circulated their drafts on Saturday.

Some countries and NGOs reacted with a quick statement and welcomed the texts as a good basis for further negotiations, even though significant gaps still need filling.

In general, it appears that the dual-track approach to reaching a global climate treaty is still alive and a possible outcome of this process. Small island states that insist on having two protocols as an outcome of COP-15 may be relieved the chair’s text for the Kyoto Protocol breathes new life into the second commitment period of Kyoto.

In an ideal dual-track scenario, the combination of the two working groups’ texts would form the basis for the Copenhagen Protocol — a continuation of Kyoto and an opening for discussions on a possible second treaty, capturing those issues ill-addressed in Kyoto: US participation, actions of developing countries, reducing emissions from deforestation, technology and other issues.

These draft agreements circulated last week have caused a few disagreements. The European Union, Japan, Australia and the US have criticized these draft texts because they state major developing nations can only reduce their GHG emissions if they receive financial support.

Rich nations want emerging economies to limit emissions with or without financial help.

There is further work to be done as important elements for an effective treaty are still missing.

The Kyoto Protocol text, for instance, has yet to specify the level of emission reductions, and ministers will have to fill in the numbers.

The LCA text includes numbers for both mid- and long-term emission reductions, but ministers will have to choose from various available options — both weak and strong — currently stuck inside square brackets, so to speak.

Global warming needs to be limited to below 2 degrees Celsius. To achieve this, global average emission reductions need to be in the above end of 25-40 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2020, and around 80 percent by 2050.

Developed country pledges on the table, which amount to an aggregate of about 10 to 17 percent of emission reductions by 2020, are certainly insufficient. Developed countries need to aim for more emission-reduction commitments.

Developing countries need to agree to register all of their domestic mitigation actions with the UNFCCC in accordance with the Convention. Only actions receiving (financial, technological and capacity building) support should be subject to measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) at the international level.

Other important gaps in the draft texts include long-term financing, technology, adaptation and clear safeguarding, as well as a push for action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

Short-term financing is required to build the institutions and capacities needed for long-term financing.

Long-term finance commitments, just like targets, need to be included in an annex to ensure transparency and predictability.

Roughly US$160 billion per year of financing is needed in the next commitment period, from multiple and innovative sources — including bunker fuels and AAU/Assigned Amount Units auctioning. Governance issues need to be resolved.

This does not preclude the use of market instruments or carbon sinks as such, but any agreement must result in real GHG emission cuts.

For about two years, parties involved in the UNFCCC, many observers and the public have been asking for solid texts that would allow for real negotiations and result in a legally binding outcome.
The time to produce these solid texts is nearing.

The current momentum is critical, putting ministers and heads of states coming to Copenhagen this week on a path to serious progress in tackling dangerous climate change.

The presence of 100 leaders, including President Yudhoyono, will hopefully take us further to see light at the end of the tunnel. The light is hopefully a new global climate agreement.

The writer is program director of climate & energy at WWF-Indonesia, and adjunct lecturer at Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy. He can be reached at

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What is at stake for Indonesia

ROAD to COPENHAGEN, Fitrian Ardiansyah ,  Jakarta   |  Tue, 12/01/2009 10:42 AM  |  Environment

Copenhagen, which will host the UN Climate conference in less than a week from now, may be far away from Indonesia. But any results coming out of this intense negotiation forum will have a significant impact on the fate of the country and the earth in general.

The Bali Action Plan (BAP), the main outcome of the 13th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-13) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Bali in 2007, marked the beginning of two years of formal negotiations to reach an ambitious global climate agreement.

This plan mandates parties to negotiate and reach a substantial agreement on how to — over the long term — reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, mitigate and adapt to climate change, transfer and develop the appropriate technology as well as provide the financial resources and investment to do so.

As the host country of COP-13, it is in Indonesia’s best interest the Copenhagen conference reaches the BAP’s objectives – by having a new treaty regulating bigger GHG emissions cuts, which follows on from the Kyoto Protocol.

The current Kyoto protocol, which will expire in 2012, requires developed nations to cut GHG emissions by about 5 percent from 1990 levels to help slow global warming.

Credible science proves this level of cuts is insufficient, and that there is a need for all countries to urgently take further action.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the average global temperature must not rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius if we want to ensure  that most vulnerable nations, communities and ecosystems survive.

Emission reductions from developed countries therefore have to be at the high end of the IPCC’s lowest mitigation scenario strategy – between 25 to 40 percent.

However, current proposed GHG emission targets will lead to a higher than 3.5 degree Celsius increase in average global temperature by 2100, according to Climate Action Tracker’s Project Catalyst.

Although China and the US – two of the world’s biggest GHG emitters – have brightened the prospects of reaching an agreement with their current promises to curb GHG emissions, the emissions reduction targets tabled by industrialized countries currently add up to only reductions of 10 to 14 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Therefore, Indonesian negotiators, led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, need to lobby industrialized countries to push them into committing to higher emission reduction targets.

Developed countries, including the US, are required to join a strong new international agreement in Copenhagen by adopting economy-wide quantified emission reduction commitments.

The commitments of industrialized countries need to be articulated without loopholes. The main loopholes to watch out for are: offsets, reduced/abandoned Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) surplus from the previous commitment period, and unclear accounting rules for land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).

Beside commitments from developed countries, developing countries also need to take significant measures to contribute to climate change mitigation.

A large number of developing countries, including Indonesia, have announced they would put in place significant measures unilaterally as well as actions that require the support of industrialized countries.

These measures should be spelled out clearly and in detail under the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) at the Copenhagen conference.

With NAMAs, developing countries can aim to reach the emission reductions required and at the
same time grow their economies enough to eradicate poverty and ensure the right to sustainable

These actions need to be brought into the Copenhagen climate deal at a level that can lead to a deviation from business-as-usual scenarios of at least 30 percent by 2020.

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is a particularly important component of reducing overall GHG emissions.

With deforestation, forest degradation and other land use changes accounting for approximately 15 to 20 percent of GHG emissions, it is clear that any solution tackling climate change must include a solution to these issues.

The current rate of deforestation and forest degradation, not only affecting the world’s rich terrestrial biodiversity but also the livelihoods of more than one billion of the world’s poorest people, has clearly undermined the development of nations with tropical forests.

Therefore, it is crucial Indonesia and these nations secure a global umbrella framework for REDD as part of the post-2012 global climate agreement.

The success of the Copenhagen conference will not only mark Indonesia’s triumph in guiding the BAP but also ensure the survival of this archipelagic country, its hundreds of millions of people and precious ecosystems.

The observed and projected impacts of climate change in this country include an increase in the
severity of droughts, floods, fires, coral bleaching, the gradual rise of sea levels, and an increase in the frequency of extreme weather conditions including storms, which destroy natural and human-made systems in the area.

Therefore, it is important to set in place a framework for immediate action as part of the Copenhagen deal, especially for other vulnerable countries – including Indonesia – and ecosystems, which includes the provision of financial help to face loss and damage caused by climate change impacts.

Developing countries implementing measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change cannot be expected to do so without financial support from industrialized countries.

Indonesia needs to convince industrialized countries they have to provide fast-start financial packages between 2010 and 2012. They must then be coaxed into agreeing on multiple and innovative sources and scale of long-term funding.

This overall support must be additional to aid budgets and managed in a transparent way to help developing countries.

For the last two years, 192 governments have worked on the new agreement, incorporating a shared vision and building blocks for mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. All the necessary proposals have been drafted and are on the table. The raw material for a new agreement exists.

To ensure the BAP is implemented and a deal is struck in Copenhagen, Indonesia has to be pro-active in lobbying the world’s negotiators and leaders to agree to the relevant parts of the future climate treaty, formulated in treaty language, based on a decision on the exact form of
an enforceable, legally binding framework.

Indonesia can use its unique position to bring the developed and developing worlds together and bridge the gap between these two blocks to reach a global climate agreement.

Positive outcomes at the COP-15 will not only help the world tackle climate change but also eventually safeguard the development and survival of Indonesia’s population and its valuable ecosystems.

The writer is program director of climate & energy at WWF-Indonesia, and adjunct lecturer at Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy. He can be reached at

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New emerging economies, new climate leaders?

ROAD to COPENHAGEN, Fitrian Ardiansyah ,  Jakarta   |  Tue, 11/24/2009 1:09 PM  |  Environment

With less than 2 weeks to go before the start of the Copenhagen conference, and with leaders from developed countries having so far failed to pave the way for a successful outcome at the summit, the world may require stronger leadership from emerging economies to provide a breakthrough.

The Copenhagen conference is a critical moment that the world has been working toward for two years since the Bali Conference of Parties (COP-13), which historically marked the beginning of 2 years of formal negotiations to reach an ambitious global climate agreement.

Its success will depend on parties reaching an agreement on how high they will set the bar to bring about reductions in emissions that will ensure the survival of the most vulnerable nations, communities and ecosystems.

To achieve this objective, industrialized countries will have to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 to 40 percent compared to their 1990 levels, as recommended by one of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) scenarios.

Some developed countries, e.g. the European Union (EU) and Japan, have taken this 15th Session of Conference of Parties (COP-15) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) very seriously.

These countries committed themselves to emit 20 to 25 percent less GHG than in the 1990s by 2020.

They also promise to increase their emission reduction target if other industrialized countries and big developing countries follow suit.

Other developed countries, have yet to come up with more ambitious targets, while the US, the largest emitter of GHG and the only Annex I country that is not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, hasn’t even announced its GHG emissions reduction target.

On the other hand, key emerging economies such as China, India, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia have unveiled their mitigation policies.

In the last two years, these countries have developed and completed their respective national strategies and plans to address climate change mitigation and adaptation.

These include: China’s National Climate Change Program (completed in June 2007), Indonesia’s National Action Plan addressing Climate Change (completed in November 2007), South Africa’s Long Term Mitigation Scenarios – Climate Change Policy Framework (completed in July 2008), India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (completed in July 2008), and Brazil’s National Plan on Climate Change (completed in December 2008).

This year, some of their leaders went even further by vocalizing their aspirations to reduce their countries’ emissions to less than business as usual (BAU) by 2020.

The Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has made a pledge to reduce the country’s emission by 26 percent in 2020 and by 41 percent if supported by developed countries.

His counterpart in Brazil has stated that by 2020, this country intends to reduce its emissions by between 36.1 and 38.9 percent in comparison to a BAU scenario. Both countries have also promised to reduce emissions from deforestation.

South Africa, meanwhile, said it could level off its emissions by 2025. Others, including China and India, are pouring money into green-energy projects; while China has talked about significantly reducing the carbon intensity of its industry, and in a joint statement with the US, the country flagged its intention to crystallize this objective in an international agreement.

These existing unilateral actions taken by new emerging economies may have a larger impact than many realize. Given the stage of development these emerging countries are currently at, their existing aspirations have shown they are not only courageous but also willing to contribute to climate solutions.

The existing aspirations of Brazil, China, Indonesia and South Africa alone – if implemented – will do approximately as much to reduce GHG emissions by next year as the EU hopes to accomplish by 2020, according to an analysis by the Center for Clean Air Policy.

On the other hand, climate change in developing countries can lead to significantly damage to natural, communal and business assets. Some studies typically place damage in the range of 2 to 9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) per year for these countries, if the average temperature increases between 1.5 and 4 degrees Celsius.

People living in developing countries, including those in Asian mega-cities, along coastal areas and river deltas, are the most vulnerable to rising sea levels, storms and other phenomena arising from climate change, underscoring the threat to these peoples’ lives and economies, states a recent WWF’s report.

Hence, it is in these emerging economies’ best interest to reach successful outcomes to both mitigate and adapt to climate change in Copenhagen.

To accomplish this, leaders of emerging economies need to influence their counterparts in developed countries – especially the US – and show that Copenhagen can still deliver what the world needs. Negotiators have been working on the legal language for over a year, it is ready and the only missing ingredient is political will to make the final calls and turn it into a treaty text.

The text needs to capture the important progress that has been made to date – partly by these emerging economies – and create a clear, fast path towards a final legally binding document. This document may not need to capture every detail but certainly has to incorporate ambitious objectives.

Regardless of the outcomes reached at Copenhagen, emerging economies need to urgently take action in their own backyards. A less carbon-intensive development needs to be mainstreamed to ensure these countries develop in a sustainable manner, with a positive effect on the global climate system.

These actions will also contribute to achieving sustainable development objectives, such as energy security, sustainable economic development, technological innovation, job creation, local environmental protection and enhancement of emerging countries’ capacity to adapt to climate change impacts.

However, these actions require adequate, sufficient and sustainable financing. The finance available within emerging economies and the one offered by developed countries to pay for low-carbon development and adaptation to the impacts of climate change is currently inadequate.

In Copenhagen, leaders of new emerging economies need to ensure that this coming agreement will provide innovative sources of funding and a commitment to financial support in addition to the already stretched aid budgets.

A deal with low targets and no financial support to pay for low-carbon actions in developing countries will not halt the world’s trajectory towards dangerous global warming.

Achieving favorable outcomes in Copenhagen is not impossible. There is still time and opportunity to turn Copenhagen around, but this requires political will.

Leaders of emerging economies hand in hand with their counterparts need to commit to action to reduce emissions, to provide sufficient public financing through reliable mechanisms, to protect forests, and to support the most vulnerable countries to adapt to and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Only if leaders step up at this unique moment will history judge them as climate leaders and heroes. For this, the future is literally in their hands.

The writer is program director of climate & energy at WWF-Indonesia, and adjunct lecturer at Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy. He can be reached at fardiansyah@wwf

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From Papua with hope – for climate, forest and people

ROAD to COPENHAGEN, Fitrian Ardiansyah ,  Jayapura   |  Tue, 11/17/2009 1:18 PM  |  Lifestyle

When world leaders are perceived to be slow to show commitment and progress in tackling climate change, their local counterparts often emerge as better surrogates.

Last week, at the opening of the first International Biodiversity Conference for Sustainable Development in Papua, the governor of Papua re-affirmed his pledge to address climate change and sustainability in this province.

The governor articulated five key aspirations. The first three relate to sustainable forest and land use management: halting 50 percent of allocated conversion forests and preserving these under sustainable forest management; not allowing the use of primary forests with high conservation values (HCVs) for oil palm and other land uses; and increasing the efficiency and productivity of current land use, including existing oil palm.

The other two messages consist in promoting and developing renewable energy based industries to gradually reduce dependence on fossil fuels; and promoting local natural resource sectors and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) as engines for rural development.

This governor’s aspirations – especially the first three – represent a critical step towards reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in Indonesia. This is perhaps the first sub-national contribution to the pledge made by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to reduce the country’s emission by 26 percent in 2020 and by 41 percent if supported by developed countries.

Forests in Papua – both in the provinces of Papua and West Papua – cover approximately 42 million hectares, representing 24 percent of Indonesia’s total remaining forest areas. These forests are considered to be one of the last tropical frontier areas on Earth. Around 9.2 million hectares of these forests have been allocated for conversion to other land uses.

The untouched forests of Papua have large carbon stocks – 300 to 400 tons per hectare according to estimates from Papua’s Agency for Natural Resources Management and Environment. These forests are also home to 54 percent of Indonesia’s rich biodiversity.

More than 80 percent of the indigenous communities of Papua depend on forests to varying degrees for their livelihoods.

Hence, retaining the remaining primary forests with HCVs and a half of the planned conversion forests will not only contribute to reducing emissions but also to saving high biodiversity, local livelihoods and cultural values.

Nevertheless, substantial work and challenges remain.

First of all, governments in Papua need to proactively inform and communicate this subnational aspiration, especially when linked to the REDD discourse, to relevant governmental sectors at the central level.

As a focal point of Indonesia at the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), the central government can help ensure the interests of Papua governments pertaining to REDD are incorporated in the position of the country in the 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen this December.

REDD in Indonesia has been outlined as a national approach implemented at the subnational level. This means the umbrella framework of policies and incentives will come from the central government and the implementation will be detailed as well as owned by provincial and/or district governments and associated stakeholders.

To respond to this, the Papua province has issued the Papua Provincial Regulation on Sustainable Forest Management no. 21/2009 based on the Papua Special Autonomy Law no. 21/2001 and National Forestry Law no. 41/1999. This provincial regulation provides a legal framework for the implementation of REDD in Papua, which recognizes customary forest rights and emphasizes community-based forest management.

Using this provincial regulation and guidance from existing decrees of the ministry of forestry on REDD, the governments in Papua – supported by civil societies, universities, adat (traditional) communities and other key actors – are planning to set up a Forest-Carbon (REDD) Papua Task Force.

This task force aims at assisting the governments in Papua to translate, develop and coordinate policy approaches and positive incentives coming from international and national levels to the level of provinces and most importantly districts.

To ensure that REDD is properly implemented, governments in this island need to incorporate policies and incentives on REDD into formal economic development agendas with clear action plans, timetables, institutional set-up and arrangement to address gaps in capacity, financing and technology.

Papua province has laid out four steps to address this issue. Firstly, it is proposing to revisit its economic development model to ensure a sustainable growth that does not exceed the limits of the environment. As a second step, the government will work to improve and fine-tune planning instruments, including the next long and medium-term development plans as well as provincial spatial plans.

Sustainable economic policies supported by clear development plans – resulting in the creation of significant incentives for forest protection and management – are therefore crucial, not only to ensure the implementation of REDD, but also to counter the economic drivers of deforestation, for example logging, oil palm, pulpwood plantation, road development, mining and settlements.

Joining hands with the central government, the provinces of Papua can promote this platform to obtain financial support from governmental sectors at the central level (for example by using the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund), developed countries, multilateral organizations, private sector investment or NGOs as well as any financial mechanism coming from “supposed” Copenhagen’s outcomes.

The third step the province of Papua is proposing is to give more muscle to the legal framework protecting and empowering the indigenous people of Papua in this sustainable development process. Lastly, the government is working on strengthening institutional mechanisms to deliver sustainable development, including village-level decision making structures.

These last two steps are perhaps the most important of all since any plans and actions will not yield good results if provincial governments cannot provide benefits to approximately 3 million people living on this island, in particular the indigenous Papuans.

REDD incentives need to be framed by rules that ensure the benefits created also flow to, and are retained by, indigenous people and poor communities that are among the most resource-dependent people and providers of important environmental services.

In the end, it is important these policy approaches, creations of incentives and acknowledgement of indigenous people are integrated at a subnational level as part of the efforts to institute better forest governance and ensure the achievement of climate change mitigation policies, in particular REDD.

The writer is program director of climate & energy at WWF-Indonesia, and adjunct lecturer at Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy. He can be reached at

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