Yudhoyono wins ‘adoration’ at Rio+20 for his green initiatives
A high-level event hosted by the Indonesian government at the Rio+20 summit in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday saw leaders and distinguished speakers commending President Susilo Bambang Yudho
yono’s style of “leading by example” in combating climate change.
The executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, Achim Muir, said Yudhoyono had won the adoration of the global community for moving forward with his green agenda despite multilateral efforts under the auspices of the UN had failed to secure a global agreement on emission reductions.
“Indonesia is a country outside the arithmetic of impasse in negotiations,” Muir said in praising Yudhoyono for his acclaimed initiatives, such as the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and a moratorium on deforestation.
The CTI is a commitment by countries in the Coral Triangle area to safeguard the region’s marine and coastal biological resources for the sustainable growth and prosperity of current and future generations.
The Coral Triangle area covers Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Papua New Guinea. It lies across a mere 1 percent of the earth’s surface, but is said to contain a third of the world’s coral and three-quarters of its coral-reef species.
“I commend Yudhoyono for the moratorium [...] The problem with our world today is that it is more profitable to log a tree than to allow a tree to remain standing; a tree is more profitable dead than alive” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who also spoke at the event.
In May 2010, Indonesia and Norway signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to reduce deforestation, according to which Norway will provide up to US$1 billion so that Indonesia can protect its forests. Approximately one year later, Yudhoyono signed a decree suspending new concession permits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
A two-year moratorium on new permits was deemed necessary to give time and attention to improving the governance of peatland areas and the forest sector in Indonesia in order that they could be significant contributors to the national goal of reducing green house gas emissions by 26 percent by 2020.
“If we look at the numbers, we have no way, no possibility to combat global warming without deforestation,” Stoltenberg said, adding that emissions related to deforestation accounted for around 15 percent of global emissions.
“Indeed, we have seen alarming cases around the world where resources competition have turned into conflict,” Yudhoyono said in his keynote speech.
Time was of the essence, he said, as the world headed toward the end of the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) time limit in 2015, and the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol this year.
Yudhoyono, along with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has been appointed co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons, which is being set up to advise the UN on planning for post-2015 development agendas.
“We need to move from a ‘greed’ economy to a ‘green’ economy,” Yudhoyono said.
Apart from Muir and Stoltenberg, other distinguished speakers at the event included Guyana President Donald Rabrindranath Ramotar, World Bank special envoy for climate change Andrew Steer, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) president Yolanda Kakabadse.
Expectations have long been low for the Rio-20 gathering, which is expected to have been attended by nearly 100 heads of state and government by the time it concludes on Friday. Overall, 193 delegations are at the event.
Many leaders, however, are more focused on the global economic slowdown and the debt crisis in