Indonesia's Climate Commitment and the New Climate Economy

The "Indonesia's Climate Commitment and The New Climate Economy" seminar and national discussion held on April 20, 2015 was a roaring success with over 250 participants packing the beautiful Floating Room (Ruang Apung) on the picturesque lakeside of the leafy UI Depok campus. The presence of Sir David King together with Prof. Emil Salim and three other speakers moderated by Dr. Jatna Supriatna, with an active audience participation resulted in a very lively discussion.

The discussion started with an address from Rector of the University of Indonesia who spoke about how higher education has a vital role to play in explaining the facts and in providing leadership to address the complex dimensions of climate change and to develop concrete sustainable solutions. It is important that for universities to be fully engaged in creating a sustainable campus culture such that all of their graduates can align their personal and professional lives with sustainability goals. Universities can provide the required knowledge and the initiative to drive national activities to move this country forward.

Prof. Salim in his welcoming remarks discussed how in addressing climate change related problems, governments, business, and civil society have to try harder in “bringing the horse” to “water” or appropriate solutions. Urban growth patterns are not just unsustainable, they are also deeply inefficient. Incentives for inclusive low carbon growth solutions coupled with those that can stop deforestation and preserve our rich biodiversity constitutes the pathway to sustainable development in Indonesia.

The keynote speaker Sir David King who is UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change and Chair, Future Cities Catapult (UK) spoke on how the UK is reducing its emissions by 80% by 2050 and wants to share experience with the rest of the world. His presentation on “Transformational Action on Climate Change: Innovation and Investment” was well received by the audience. The presentation covered many contemporary topics such as the rising global middle class mostly in emerging economies and its associated urban issues. He explored various technological and policy innovations are needed to de-fossil-ise energy grids and transport systems, conserve the “two lungs of our planet”--our oceans and our forests as the world needs to be moving toward the zero emission by 2070. One of his key overall conclusions is that government needs to provide incentives to move toward new “circular” business and economic models that will generate not only more value locally and nationally but also can out compete the present “linear” globalised models.

Dr. Endah Murniningtyas, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources & Environment from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) gave her presentation on the sustainable pathway as perceived the Government of Indonesia. She outlined the highlights of 15 flagship programs that are part of the national mitigation and adaptation plan covering programs such as sustainable consumption and production, Smart-Sustainable City, Green Procurement and Financing, Data and Measurements and others. The current national emissions reduction plan which is part of the Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN 2015-2019) that underlie these programs and their associated 33 regional components are currently undergoing revision. Once completed will be included in time for Indonesia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to be announced at the Paris UNFCCC conference in December 2015.

The next speaker Dr. Amanda Katili Niode, who is part of the Indonesia Climate Change Management Team that has provides advice on climate negotiations, gave a presentation entitled “Revisiting Article 6, UNFCCC:Education, Training, Public Awareness”. She focused on the need for education, training and awareness raising as part of the government policy so as to obtain public support to attain the global emissions reduction target and in promoting climate-resilient sustainable development.

Dr. Agus Sarsito was the last speaker representing Dr. Hadi Daryato, Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry. He spoke on “Forestry Development and National Sustainable Development”. With 30 million living below the poverty line and many living near forests, the Ministry under the Jokowi government is set out a policy that forest must provide social and economic benefits for the people living near forests and that the government is planning for a rise in contributions of forest resources to the national GDP this year to 2014. However, he maintains that diversity of flora and fauna particularly endangered species, preserving the ecosystem and maintaining watersheds and water sources are also key government policy objectives. One of the key indicators is the environmental quality index (EQI/IKLH), the current government has set an ambitious target notwithstanding the recent decline in EQI. Meanwhile, clearly deforestation has been in decline in recent years.

The full session was live webcasted on the Internet through the UI’s Twitter account (#univ_indonesia) with online audience given the chance to participate in Q&A and the full podcast is now available on YouTube on: https://lnkd.in/brh7u2z