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Interview with Budhi Sayoko, Laksmi Banowati and Rogier Klaver, UN-REDD Indonesia: “REDD+ is quite a promising thing to tackle deforestation”

Interview with Budhi Sayoko (Assistant Country Director, Head of Environment Unit, UNDP), Laksmi Banowati (National Programme Manager, UN-REDD) and Rogier Klaver (Programme Officer UN-REDD Indonesia, FAO), March 2012.*

REDD-Monitor: Please provide a brief background of the work of UN-REDD in Indonesia.

Budhi Sayoko: UN-REDD is a joint programme between UNDP, FAO and UNEP at the global level as well as at the pilot country level. It started in Indonesia in 2009-2010, with a request about whether Indonesia is interested to be part of the UN-REDD Programme. I got that offer and went to meet and discuss with the related ministries. I discussed it with the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Environment and the National Council for Climate Change.

The Ministry of Forestry was interested. To futher follow-up the interest from the Government of Indonesia, a REDD readiness gap analysis was conducted by UNDP Indonesia. Then we had a series of missions, of course, that identified where the gaps might be for REDD readiness. We did a gap analysis and presented it to stakeholders, including the Council of Climate Change and the Ministries of Forestry and Environment, and NGOs, such as AMAN. In parallel, we had a joint series of missions (UNDP, FAO, UNEP and the World Bank) to discuss further the result of the above gap analysis.

In the programme, phase one was consensus building at the national level, because at the time there was no REDD+, there was no FCPF, and I think that the line ministries were still strengthening themselves. So consensus building was very important.

Second was MRV [Measurement, Reporting and Verification] and REL [Reference Emission Level] that is really the domain of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Rogier Klaver: FAO is mainly working on the technical issues of Monitoring, MRV (Measurement, for Reporting and for Verification) and REL (Reference Emissions Levels). Through the UN-REDD Indonesia programme we work with the Ministry of Forestry and other stakeholders (REDD+ Task Force, Dinas Kehutanan, universities) on developing methodologies for these issues and testing them in our pilot province Central Sulawesi.

Budhi Sayoko: And the third is about doing a demo and strengthening the local government, which is going to be the pilot of this initiative. So three things. At the national level, first there is consensus building, broad-based consultation and so on, second MRV and REL, and the third is the local governance preparedness.

REDD-Monitor: How many people are employed by UN-REDD in Indonesia in total?

Budhi Sayoko: Less than ten.

REDD-Monitor: And that’s all based in Jakarta?

Budhi Sayoko: Yes, other than the Ministry of Forestry. There is a UN-REDD project office under the Ministry of Forestry in Manggala Wanabakti.

REDD-Monitor: Could you describe what UN-REDD has achieved in Indonesia, so far?

Budhi Sayoko: There are a number of achievements. First, on the first component, consensus building, UN-REDD and the team developed a draft of the National Strategy for REDD+. That draft has been co-ordinated by BAPPENAS [Badan Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional – National Development Planning Agency]. At the same time, there was an LoI [Letter of Intent] between the governments of Indonesia and Norway. We submitted the national strategy for REDD+, after wide consultations, to the REDD+ Task Force, which is headed by Pak Kuntoro [Mangkusubroto]. I think the National Strategy will be launched sooner rather than later.

Second, under the component number two on MRV and REL, what I understand is that the team (FAO) has developed a draft on the MRV framework. It will be tested in the UN-REDD pilot province, but it is a national framework. The aim is to release this document when it is finalised.

The third is that it is already selected and agreed that Central Sulawesi will be the pilot province. The UN-REDD team met with the governor. The governor is committed, the governor went to Durban and then announced that they are committed to reduce deforestation and land degradation and so on. He is very committed even though this is an ambitious target, 3% cut of emissions.

Fourth, the project has developed FPIC [Free, Prior and Informed Consent] guidelines that will be shared to all once they are finalised.

Rogier Klaver: We did indeed develop something of a MRV framework, though to be precise this was a recommendation on Information, Monitoring and MRV for REDD+ in Indonesia. This document was submitted to the REDD+ Task Force in June last year. This however was not officially developed by UN-REDD Indonesia, but instead by the global UN-REDD programme. Of course in practice these two work closely together and UN-REDD Indonesia did support in the consultation process for the recommendation. This recommendation was not so much a technical document. It focused more on operational side of establishing an MRV system. This includes following agreements reached at CoP 16 in Cancun to implement REDD+ in 3 phases. The recommendation elaborates what that means for MRV implementation in Indonesia. It also included a proposed institutional arrangement. This ofcourse is a difficult issue, but it is always good to have a starting point from which discussions can go.

What we are doing under the national programme is to work on methodologies for the components of Monitoring, MRV and REL. Through our collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry we mainly focus on the National Forest Inventory, which is an important part of measurement. The other part being Satellite Monitoring. To avoid duplication with other initiatives we chose to focus on the forest inventory and facilitate collaboration for the Satellite Monitoring part. The forest inventory is being improved to meet the requirements of REDD+. This means that more sample plots are needed and the parameters that are measured in those plots are expanded. The design work is now done. The measurement is still pending some administrative matters. In Central Sulawesi we will measure around 50 sample plots (in addition to the existing one being measured by the Ministry of Forestry) following the improved design. In addition to the measurements we also include a quality control component. The results from the measurements will be entered in a newly developed data management system that will again support the quality of the data and the ease of use. This data is then combined with Satelite data from the Ministry of Forestry and Lapan and reported following a similar methodology as countries would use to report to UNFCCC. That report is then verified again following similar methodology as UNFCCC would use. Through this approach we simulate the whole process which would also be used in a future reporting to UNFCCC.

As you can see, the work is quite technical. We believe that this will not only benefit REDD+ but also the general forest monitoring capacity of the ministry of forestry and other stakeholders that are involved. That in turn would be beneficial for forest management in general.

The REL work focuses on the development of methodologies that are tested in Central Sulawesi. We are now at the stage where the strengths and weaknesses of different methodologies have been analysed based on actual use. The report will be discussed with local experts soon. This will be help the Government of Indonesia to decide on methodology use for REL in Indonesia. Once a methodology has been chosen we will apply that methodology in Central Sulawesi with the most recent data set to develop a REL, which will be peer reviewed by scientists.

REDD-Monitor: How much money has UN-REDD spent in Indonesia?

Budhi Sayoko: It’s not much actually, only US$5.6 million, because this is the initial REDD readiness. I think the money is almost equally shared between FAO, UNEP and UNDP.

REDD-Monitor: Has any money from UN-REDD gone to Central Sulawesi, the UN-REDD pilot province?

Budhi Sayoko: The objective is actually to get the commitment from the local or sub-national government. The money is more for technical assistance, developing regulations, capacity building, etc. The governor now has a working group on REDD+ and the project has been assisting the selected districts for REDD+. And facilitating the stakeholders, including NGOs. AMAN is also heavily involved in Central Sulawesi.

In terms of the interventions in the future, we’ll have to see the decisions made in the project board meeting, probably some time in April or June.

REDD-Monitor: How much longer will the UN-REDD programme run in Indonesia? On the website, it says it runs until June 2012.

Budhi Sayoko: Yes, June 2012. That will be more or less two years. The exit strategy is really important. In the last project board meeting it was discussed and decided the possibility of an extension for a couple of months depending on solid justifications, timeline, clear target outputs and milestones. This will be presented and discussed in the next Project Board meeting. It is expected to see activities for the continuity effort for Central Sulawesi as a UNREDD Pilot province.

When you are trying to reduce the emissions from deforestation and degraded forest, you need an action plan. A national action plan developed by all the relevant stakeholders led by BAPPENAS, was announced last year. It’s called the National Action Plan to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, RAN-GRK. RAN-GRK consists of various sectors, one of them is forestry and peatland. RAN-GRK was then used as a reference to develop RAD-GRK guidelines (Local GHG Action Plan). So when one province would like to reduce their emissions by reducing the deforestation rate, it means that this activity should be reflected in the RAD-GRK. The RAD-GRK will be developed by the province.

At the national level, BAPPENAS is doing a roadshow to all the provinces socialising the RAD-GRK guidelines. It is very strategic and timely that Central Sulawesi will also be developing the Provincial GHG local action plan. It is hoped that the plan to extend the UN-REDD project will include strategic activities with the collaboration with REDD+.

REDD-Monitor: Why was Central Sulawesi chosen as the pilot province? The rate of deforestation is a lot higher in Sumatra, or Kalimantan, or Papua than it is in Central Sulawesi.

Budhi Sayoko: There were some criteria, of course, that we used. If you see in general, there are nine REDD+ provinces in Indonesia [Aceh, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Papua and West Papua] which were chosen by the REDD+ project, and only Sulawesi is not included. Sulawesi has a very unique biodiversity thus selecting Central Sulawesi as a UNREDD Pilot Province would of course enrich the effort to reduce deforestation rate.

REDD-Monitor: Please explain how UN-REDD works at the local level with local communities and indigenous people? In particular please describe how you ensure that a process of free, prior and informed consent takes place.

Budhi Sayoko: I know that they are working harmoniously, working together with the local government, local community, AMAN and so on. I don’t know whether I could find this experience in other initiatives. There is a very nice co-operation.

Laksmi Banowati: To ensure inclusiveness, build stakeholder capacity and to create a sense of ownership by the stakeholders, the UN-REDD Programme Indonesia and the Government of Central Sulawesi formed a Working Group to coordinate REDD+ activities in Central Sulawesi. For this, Central Sulawesi’s indigenous peoples and local communities chose their own representatives for the REDD+ Working Group. The same standard was applied to NGOs focused on women and gender issues; they selected their own representatives for the Working Group. As a result of this democratic process, there are 10 representatives of local communities, indigenous peoples and NGOs in the Working Group.

The Central Sulawesi REDD+ Working Group has been active since its affirmation by the Governor of Central Sulawesi’s Decision (Letter no. 522/84/Dishutda – G.ST/2011) on 18 February 2011, and the UN-REDD Programme Indonesia is now actively supporting the Working Group’s programs. Furthermore, the Working Group just conducted an FPIC trial in one pilot location in Central Sulawesi. The whole process included a development of FPIC Guidelines by the Working Group, development of communication materials targeted for indigenous peoples and/or local communities and the trial itself which took place in the Village of Lembah Mukti. The village of Lembah Mukti was chosen because the Forest Management Unit of Dampelas Tinombo has plans to implement a programme to rehabilitate the forest, and this would affect the villagers whose livelihoods depend on it.

During the FPIC trial, the independent facilitator (who had already been trained) asked for the villagers’ consent for the programme.

REDD-Monitor: There are various safeguards that have either been put forward or promoted by various actors in REDD. However, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has not explicitly been taken on at the UNFCCC level. Which safeguards does UN-REDD use?

Budhi Sayoko: Safeguards in terms of what? Because FPIC is also a safeguard.

REDD-Monitor: Yes. But FPIC is not specifically included in the UNFCCC safeguards for REDD.

Budhi Sayoko: We use FPIC, actually.

Laksmi Banowati: The UN-REDD Programme has taken care of social, environment, governance and gender safeguard. FPIC, governance and gender safeguard have been suggested to be covered in the REDD+National Strategy. The Guideline on FPIC implementation is developed and tested on the field.

REDD-Monitor: The UN-REDD website explicitly says that REDD is going to be a carbon trading mechanism. In October 2011, the Financial Times wrote that carbon markets had come to a standstill. Since then things haven’t improved much. Given all the problems with the carbon markets, does UN-REDD still believe that a carbon trading mechanism is the best way of financing REDD?

Budhi Sayoko: This is a very difficult and a challenging question. Because even if carbon doesn’t have a value in the market, the conserving effort or minimising the deforestation rate is a must. So it has to be budgeted from the country, whether it is the national budget, or a regional sub-national budget. But because there is an option now because carbon has a value, people are thinking, “Hey, I can sell this. Thus I must conserve the forest.”

Also we should not only be focussing on the money derived from the carbon trading. We have to conserve biodiversity as well because biodiversity has a value. Not only the current value of biodiversity is important but also the future values such option values, heritage values, etc. We don’t know what is the value now but in the future I think we will know.

REDD-Monitor: Last year, the EU and Indonesia signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement on illegal logging. What do you think are the lessons learned from the discussion on illegal logging in terms of current discussions on REDD?

Budhi Sayoko: Actually, illegal logging is part of the issue of governance, corruption and nepotism and so on. I don’t know whether attempts to address that kind of framework has been able to reduce illegal logging. I don’t think so.

When it comes to REDD, the difference is about compliance. Under REDD+, I think it will be transparent. The map will be a real-time map or at least an updated one. The baseline mapping has to be developed in all REDD pilot province. If an area is intended to be a REDD pilot zone, we should understand the map, we should understand the spatial plan, we should also understand where the private sector is doing their business. We should know also which area is the domain of the Ministry of Forestry and which is the domain of the Ministry of Agriculture. And with that information in our hands, then REDD+ infrastructure and building blocks can be designed effectively.

It seems to me that REDD+ is quite a promising thing to tackle deforestation. It also depends on who is behind the initiative and who is designing REDD+. I understand that SBY [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesia’s President] is behind REDD+, and he is an anti-corruption type of person. I think all the bad practices of the past can be reduced substantially. The deforestation rate cannot be zero, but deforestation must not exceed its sustainability. The deforestation rate now in Indonesia is less than one million hectares a year. Previously it was 1.2 million hectares a year. So we’ll see. There is also a moratorium, which I think is a good tool, though we have to see how the result is.

REDD-Monitor: What is the relationship between UN-REDD and Norway?

Budhi Sayoko: UN-REDD is funded globally by the UN-REDD global, which is set up like a trust fund. And this trust fund is funded by Norway. And REDD+ in Indonesia is also funded by Norway, through the Letter of Intent between the governments of Indonesia and Norway.

So your question is the relationship between UN-REDD and Norway?

REDD-Monitor: On a week to week basis do you have a lot of meetings with other REDD proponents, not just with Norway, but the World Bank has a programme, Australia has a programme, GIZ has a programme, the UK has a programme, Japan has a programme. How are all these various REDD programmes co-ordinated?

Budhi Sayoko: There is a regular informal meeting from the donor side, at least once a month. On the government’s side there is also a regular meeting, for policy co-ordination.

Laksmi Banowati: First, UN-REDD supported the Ministry of Forestry activity to have a Demonstration Activities Coordination meeting last year (Indonesia-Australia Forest Carbon Partnership, GIZ – German Agency for International Cooperation, International Tropical Timber Organisation, … 11 projects in total). They sat together and updated their progress. We developed a proceeding consisting of their recent activities and progress.

Second, on specific topics, for example on funding mechanism, payment system, we also have a coordination meeting with other Ministry of Forestry’s partners (World Bank, Norway, REDD+ Task Force, etc.) in order to harmonise our work rather than duplicate each other.

REDD-Monitor: What do you see as the biggest risks associated with REDD? And how is UN-REDD attempting to address these risks?

Budhi Sayoko: The risk is more on the sustainability of this initiative. We are together, FAO, UNEP and UNDP, trying to assist the sectoral government and the government is assisting the local government. The commitment is there, the working group has been set up, but of course it requires follow up of this commitment. We convened a project board meeting, in March, to try to address this. Norway was there, the REDD+ task force members were there, the Ministry of Forestry, all three UN agencies and also the indigenous representatives to discuss where we would like to go. The discussion will be continued, in the project board meeting before this project ends.

One good sign is that the government (BAPPENAS and others) will assist in the development of RAD-GRK, the GHG local action plan.

REDD-Monitor: In your opinion, what needs to happen in order for REDD to succeed in Indonesia?

Budhi Sayoko: First, we have to rely on the baseline mapping identifying the real issue on the ground. Second, is to set up coherent policies, strategies, funding instrument, MRV framework and system, REDD+ Agency, all related mechanisms and SOPs. Once the infrastructure developed with a clear target, strong success indicators and can be monitored regularly, then raising awareness and capacity building.

REDD-Monitor: These would be government agencies?

Budhi Sayoko: Yes, government agencies. REDD agencies can be a combination, too. But they have to be independent, that is really important. And all the information regarding REDD+ implementation should be accessible, so everybody can see whether this is right or wrong. We will have to wait until 2016, 17, 18, when the infrastructure is set up. It will be a different Indonesia, I think!

REDD-Monitor: There’s been a lot happening on REDD in the last four years or so in Indonesia. The president has frequently said that he’s in favour of reducing deforestation. But there are still expanding oil palm concessions, there are still mining concessions, oil exploration concessions, basically the business as usual scenario. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about whether REDD can address deforestation in Indonesia?

Budhi Sayoko: Even though you have a very good tool, even though that you have a very good mechanism, a framework, or institutions that will be able to deal with all the REDD issues, I think one important thing is the political landscape, in the next government. If it is strong, then issues like overlapping laws, the energy law, the forestry law, the agriculture law, and others can be minimised.

Of course you cannot see what is happening, whether there are transactions on the ground. We don’t know. But once the structure is set up and the process is transparent, then everything is becoming clear. I believe in the system. Once you develop the system, and there are good people behind it, then it will work. Of course, it is very challenging.

Laksmi Banowati: REDD+ is a mechanism to build capacity and an approach to making development less harmful to the environment and to people. It’s the right time for Indonesia to say that the solution to reduce deforestation is proper forestry management and a sustainable palm oil industry, instead of just expansion. In the Indonesian context, REDD+ clearly goes beyond any agreements or initiatives that are going on right now.

Indonesia now issued a National Plan for Reducing Emissions (Presidential Decree No.61/2011) and it will be also followed by the development of Provincial Action. One of the activities is on the forestry and peatland. With this, I believe that this decree is a political commitment that goes into implementation.

The other decree is on a Peatland and Natural Forest Moratorium. It will be also an instrument to reduce a degradation and deforestation in Indonesia.

This interview is the tenth in a series of interviews with key REDD actors in Indonesia. REDD-Monitor gratefully acknowledges funding from ICCO for this project.

* The interview with Budhi Sayoko took place in UNDP’s office in Jakarta. The other responses were by email.

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