Govt to set up new council to manage REDD projects
Adianto P. Simamora
The Jakarta Post
The government plans to establish a special council that would prevent local authorities and middlemen from trading carbon credit on international markets without government approval.
The council will decide whether to endorse projects before they are registered at the UN office for financial incentives.
Head of a climate working group at the Forestry Ministry Wandojo Siswanto said the proposed council was not intended to discourage carbon brokers or foreign investors from developing REDD projects in Indonesia.
“The developers should first register REDD projects with the council for approval,” he told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a workshop on the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) program.
The FCPF program was developed by the World Bank to help Indonesia finance the initial development of its REDD projects. The WB has provided US$18.9 million to Indonesia to help it pave the way for the implementation of REDD programs.
The money is intended to fund analyses of deforestation, build the capacity of potential stakeholders to implement REDD projects and formulate a legal framework for the implementation of REDD.
REDD, which stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, was proposed as an alternative mechanism to cut global carbon dioxide emissions in developing nations.
Under the scheme, forest nations would receive financial incentives for protecting their forests. They would be rewarded per ton of carbon for preventing the release of that carbon.
Under the REDD plus scheme, financial incentives would also be given to projects planting trees or conserving forest areas.
Wandojo said the council would be officially announced before the international climate change talks in Mexico at the end of the year.
It is not clear whether the REDD council will be integrated with the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) set up by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the main government body to tackle climate issues.
The DNPI currently has a working group on forestry issues that has also dealt with REDD affairs.
The Forestry Ministry warned that many carbon brokers were directly approaching regents, mayors or local communities to develop REDD projects.
The government has asked local authorities not to sign any agreements with non-certified carbon brokers before receiving approval from the central government. Many local administrations are still unaware of the scheme.
The ministry’s head of research and development, Tachrir Fathoni, said Indonesia was still preparing for the full implementation of REDD in 2012.
“We are now in the process of developing policies, institutions and legal framework for the implementation of REDD,” he said.
He said the governments of Australia, Germany and Korea had developed pilot projects of REDD in Indonesia.
Indonesia was the first country to issue a regulation on REDD allowing indigenous peoples, local authorities, private organizations and businesspeople — both local and foreign — to operate REDD projects.
Indonesia, the world’s third-largest forest country with about 120 million hectares and a country prone to the impacts of climate change, expects to reap huge amounts of money from forest carbon trade under the REDD scheme.
However, many have warned the government about potential conflicts between local people deriving from unclear regulations on forest management in the country.
The government has said REDD could be effective in Indonesia if the main instruments of deforestation and forest degradation, especially illegal logging and forest conversions, can be properly addressed.
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