The example set by Norway and Indonesia in tackling climate change through REDD+ could help encourage significant progress at the Cancun in Mexico, climate talks this year, the visiting Norwegian foreign minister says.
Jonas Gahr Stoere said here Sunday that while global climate meetings, such as the Copenhagen conference, had failed to produce legally binding agreements to stop global warming, reducing emissions from deforestaion and forest degredation (REDD+) was among the very few examples of tangible progress.
He said what Norway and Indonesia could do while waiting for the climate conference in Cancun and South Africa was to demonstrate that they had made tangible progress in their REDD+ deal.
“When we come to Cancun, we will explain what we have done to preserve forests. And that will be the REDD+ stories of Indonesia, Norway and Brazil,” he told The Jakarta Post in an interview.
He expressed optimism that REDD+ would be included in the broader framework of climate change agreements during the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun from Nov. 27 to Dec. 10.
REDD+ has been called an alternative scheme to slash greenhouse gas emissions in dealing with human-enduced climate change.
Once agreed, forest nations such as Indonesia could receive money in exchange for protecting their forests. Indonesia has about 120 million hectares of rainforest.
Indonesia and Norway signed a US$1 billion climate deal in May requiring Jakarta to impose a two-year moratorium on exploiting natural forest and peatland by 2011 as well as setting up independent institutions as well as financial and measurable, reportable and verifiable schemes.
Stoere said Indonesia was on the right track.
“It’s progressing. It has to proceed step by step because the idea is that financial resources will be unleashed according to a performance-based system. So, when there is progress on the Indonesian side, the resources will be unleashed. Once that happens in 2011 then we are ready to go. Disbursing the money is the easiest part,” he said.
Stoere said Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had allocated high-quality people to work on the project.
“It’s the trust that the President inspires that has inspired us to engage [in this project]. Because when we know we have on the other side reliable people then we can make such an adventurous project work,” he said.
The minister said that unless the world took brave steps to avert climate change, everyone would suffer directly or indirectly from floods, draughts and natural disasters, as have occurred in Indonesia in recent years.
“Not in the next century but some time down the road. Indonesia and Norway are both countries that will be the first in line to suffer from climate change. We can’t simply sit and wait, we have to engage in projects that can deal with it.
We know that doing the forest thing right can complete about 25 percent of the challenge. We can really make a difference.”
On Monday, Stoere will meet his Indonesian counterpart Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa to discuss boosting cooperation in economic and political fields, as well as climate change issues.