Steady Progress in Indonesian Climate Change Policy

September 2013
  • Indonesia is one of the world's largest emitters of greenhouse gases if changes in land use and the forestry sector are counted, and the country has been taking active steps to combat climate change. In September 2009, President Yudhoyono announced the goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 26% (or 41% with international assistance) compared to the "business as usual" level (BAU) by 2020, earlier than other ASEAN nations.

    To achieve that goal, the government adopted the National Action Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions (RAN-GRK) under a presidential decree issued in September 2011. The plan specifies actions to be taken by 2020, with annual monitoring and reporting as well as periodic reviews regarding its implementation. It also requires each state government to develop an action plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the work of formulating these plans has already been completed by every state (excluding West Papua Province).

    Among individual sectors, the Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is drawing a high level of interest both domestically and internationally. The government began to develop domestic rules concerning REDD+ early on, with the Ministry of Forestry playing a central role, and the infusion of USD1 billion in financial assistance for the advancement of REDD+ under an agreement with Norway in May 2010 has led to reorganisation and strengthening of the government's efforts. A newly formed task force on REDD+ has resulted in a moratorium in the form of a presidential decree freezing new permits for development of primary forest and peatland for a period of two years (2011), as well as the adoption of the REDD+ National Strategy (2012). Preparations are currently underway for the establishment of a new government agency for REDD+.

    A national action plan is also being developed in the area of adaptation. The government is strengthening its systems for combating climate change, including the formation of a National Council on Climate Change and the establishment of climate change offices at the level of each ministry. As an example, a centre on climate change issues has already been launched within the Ministry of Finance.

    The advancement of climate change policy in Indonesia is being actively promoted through effective collaboration with aid organisations and the use of assistance, along with political leadership from the president. Japan provides a wide range of support; for example, IGES has been involved in a project on capacity development in Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) that was commissioned by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment starting in 2003 (and later expanded to include support concerning market mechanisms), a project on investigation and capacity development with regard to Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV), a survey on progress in climate policy, and cooperative projects at the local level (Surabaya and other locations); and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also provided generous support including loans and technical cooperation projects. Indonesia is also actively responding to new issues under discussion in international negotiations. For example, Indonesia is promoting the adoption of a system for measuring and evaluating the effects of domestic mitigation efforts.

    As I have described above, measures to combat climate change in Indonesia are making steady progress, and based on the results of its domestic efforts, Indonesia has the potential to become a leader in the debate concerning international standardisation in the future. In May 2013, IGES and JICA cosponsored a seminar in Tokyo on climate change policy development in Indonesia, and the latest policy developments were discussed with Indonesian government officials. I will continue to note progress in this area and provide timely reporting on significant policies.

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