In the Media
How to end deforestation in Indonesia
June 21, 2012
New Europe Online
In recent years, Indonesia has found itself moving closer to the centre of the global debate on climate change, especially in contributing to the global efforts to stop greenhouse gas emissions rising to dangerous levels. Our approximately 100 million hectares of rainforest and peat lands provide one of the largest and most valuable carbon sinks on the planet. Conversely, deforestation and uncontrolled land conversion can result in substantial increases in GHG emissions. In Indonesia, we estimate that 85% of our carbon footprint comes from these sources.
And yet, the good news is that Indonesia is committed to joining the global community in the fight against climate change, and to bring an end to deforestation. Last year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono publicly committed the remaining years of his second term in office to saving the rainforests. This was no empty pledge. The President already has a string of impressive commitments to his name, starting with his declaration at the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, USA, that Indonesia would reduce GHGs – voluntarily – by 26%, from ‘business as usual levels’, by the end of this decade. He followed that up by signing an agreement on forest and climate change with the Government of Norway, which immediately prompted a series of improvement policies on forest and peat land governance. Among the first policies of forest and peat land governance is in a two-year suspension of new licenses on primary forests and peat lands. And toward the end of this year together with Norway, the President will establish the REDD + building blocks, designed to create market incentives for managing natural forests and peat lands.
Real change is starting to demonstrate results. According to figures from Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry, the rate of deforestation has been declining for ten years, and now stands at around 500,000 hectares annually. This has been confirmed through studies conducted for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other independent bodies. We strive to lower the deforestation figure while still facilitating poverty alleviation programs and economic development in remote areas. But, given the complex social, economic and political make-up of Indonesia, this cannot be achieved overnight.
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Keywords: Asia, deforestation, emissions, GHG, Indonesia