Last week was an interesting week for REDD here in Indonesia. Most weeks are, to be honest. The following is an attempt to document a small part of what is happening, not an attempt to make sense of what is happening in the world of REDD in Indonesia. REDD-Monitor welcomes comments aimed at filling in some of the (many) gaps.
The week started with a visit from Jonas Gahr Stoere, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. He told us that while global climate meetings, like Copenhagen, had failed to produce legally binding agreements, REDD was one of the few areas of progress.
Stoere seems happy that all is well in Indonesia. In an interview with the Jakarta Post he said:
“It’s progressing. It has to proceed step by step because the idea is that financial resources will be unleashed according to a performance-based system. So, when there is progress on the Indonesian side, the resources will be unleashed. Once that happens in 2011 then we are ready to go. Disbursing the money is the easiest part.”
Stoere and the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, signed a declaration to boost bilateral cooperation including tackling climate change, energy security and exploring marine resources. This presumably includes exploring for oil. Over the past few years, Norwegian state company Statoil has invested large sums of money exploring of the deepwater Karama and Kuma oil and gas blocks. Drilling in the Karama block started earlier this year.
Of course, no one going to Cancun will want to talk about deepwater oil and gas exploration. “When we come to Cancun,” Stoere said, “we will explain what we have done to preserve forests. And that will be the REDD+ stories of Indonesia, Norway and Brazil.”
But setting aside Norway’s oil exploration for a moment, is REDD-Monitor alone in wondering why he didn’t mention Guyana?
The eighth meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil took place in Jakarta’s luxurious Hotel Mulia. Around 800 people, largely from the unsustainable palm oil industry took part.
German film maker Inge Altemeier, together with Rettet den Regenwald released a video, “The Sustainability Lie,” to coincide with the meeting – and to highlight the reality of destruction caused by the industry.
To muddy the water still further, Indonesia announced a new Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil scheme, which according to Agriculture Minister Suswono, “is designed to make palm oil production sustainable in compliance with Indonesian laws and regulations.” Which is more or less an admission that much of palm oil production in Indonesia is neither sustainable nor legal.
Last week, an Indonesian consultation took place on Indonesia’s Draft National REDD+ Strategy. An international consultation took place in Bali earlier this month. A number of questions remain open about the process of the consultation:
- Will comments be made public?
- How will the team drafting the REDD+ Strategy deal with contradictory comments and suggestions?
- The REDD+ Strategy is not the only show in town. How will the REDD+ Strategy attempt to coordinate the various other REDD actors, such as the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, UN-REDD, Norway and a whole host of bi-lateral REDD programmes?
One organisation, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has made its comments public:
Since the REDD+ programme envisages a payment scheme, involving a consistent cash flow to compensate for activities aiming at the reduction of deforestation, it is very likely to invite corruption and fraud. Corruption could impede fair and transparent distribution of funds, the risk being that the same mechanism today involved in illegal logging could engage in fraudulent conservation and forest development activities.
UNODC’s full comments are available here (pdf file 81.7 KB).
At the Indonesian REDD consultation, it seems that the government was keen to reassure industry that business as usual shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve. The Jakarta Post reported the Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto as saying “We have arranged many strategies to implement the REDD which will not affect our economic growth negatively.” Among these strategies are “reduced impact logging”, oil palm plantations on “degraded land” and 500,000 hectares of new industrial tree plantations a year.
During a discussion held by Metro TV in Jakarta, Hadi announced that the government had allocated up to 41 million hectares as “special forest areas”. According to Hadi, opening up these special forest areas for plantation development would still be allowed under the two year moratorium on forest and peatland conversion, part of the Norway-Indonesia US$1 billion deal.
President Obama’s visit
Of course, all these events were overshadowed by the visit of the US President to Indonesia. Before the visit, there was speculation that Obama would announce US$700 million for the Millennium Challenge Corporation. Reuters quoted an industry source as saying:
During his trip, Obama could announce how some of the $700 million allocated to Indonesia by the Millennium Challenge Corporation can be used to fund climate change and forest conservation programmes… “It will be quite substantial. It’s safe to say it will be north of $100 million on an annual basis. The U.S. doesn’t want to compete directly with the Norwegians but they do want similar big headline news.”
So far, details are few and far between of what, if anything, Obama said about funding for Indonesia’s forests.
Before his visit to Indonesia, Survival International wrote to President Obama asking the US to suspend US military assistance to Jakarta until Indonesian forces stop killing and torturing the people of West Papua. This was in the wake of shocking video footage of Indonesian soldiers torturing two villagers in West Papua. Last week, Pacific Scoop reported that a journalist was killed after researching illegal logging in Papua.