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[KOMPAS] REDD+: Questioning the Readiness of Various Parties

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Internationally, in the context of climate change mitigation, Indonesia's name is flying as a leading country in initiatives to reduce emissions through deforestation and land degradation. Euphoria appears. Various initiatives have mushroomed, although their direct benefits are still a question for many parties.

Indonesia is targeting a reduction in national emissions of 26 percent and 41 percent below emissions without intervention. Emissions from forests, land and peat cover 78.3 percent.

After more than five years of the REDD+ initiative (reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation) in progress, there are no guidelines or regulations from the government regarding benefit sharing.

Many issues are involved in it. Starting from understanding what benefits must be shared, which financial sources are needed for this, how to involve the parties, to what mechanisms are in place to ensure the process is transparent and accountable, and so on.

"Until now there is no technical design and regulation that can really work," said Head of the Research and Development Center for Climate Change and Policy at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Etti Ginoga, after a discussion on "REDD+: Benefit Sharing Mechanism (BSM) for Customary Forests" held by ProRep , Tuesday (24/2), in Jakarta.

The keynote speaker was Sonny Mumbunan, an economist from the University of Indonesia's Climate Change Research Center and founding partner of (co-founder) Article 33. As responders, Secretary General of Fitra (Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency) Yenny Sucipto and Etti Ginoga.

According to Etti, BSM must fulfill the principles of simple, measurable, achievable targets, rational, as well as effective, timely and on target.

Yenny said, "Emission reduction commitments are not followed by budget commitments." The fund, the second smallest forestry sector, is about 25 percent for energy—the largest fund. He emphasized that BSM must be transparent and accountable.

Regarding funding sources, Sonny said, funding sources could come from the mobilization of domestic sources such as non-tax state income (PNBP) and international schemes. Distribution to indigenous communities can be through programs according to the medium-term development plan (RPJM) or work plans based on indigenous communities. However, until now there has been no agreement on where BSM should be issued.

Meanwhile, all three agree in stating the importance of involving indigenous communities in the preparation of the BSM.

According to Sonny, in Indonesia, where forests are owned by the state and decentralized forest management and fiscal decentralization apply, BSM should be sourced from public finance (state finances). The problem is that there is no agreement between the Ministry of Finance and related ministries.

Since 2007, many parties have carried out REDD+ initiatives. Most are funded by outside donors. The biggest, namely the agreement between the Indonesian and Norwegian governments via a Letter of Intent.

There are many REDD+ initiatives, but apparently many parties are not ready. (ISW)

KOMPAS edition Saturday 28 February 2015 *  Pages: 14*  Author: ISW