The Jakarta Post
The government hopes to prove that it has finally showed its commitment to cutting global carbon emissions by creating a national council on Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation ( REDD+ ), which will begin operating in September, after being harshly criticized by NGOs for its sluggish pace in implementing the environmental program.
'All the ministers responsible for implementing the REDD+ program have signed the draft establishing this new council. There will be further details when the Cabinet Secretariat officially announces it, possibly in September,' the Forestry Ministry's general secretary, Hadi Daryanto, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
Hadi, who is also a former member of the REDD+ task force, said that the agreement draft establishing the REDD+ council had been signed by the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Environment Ministry. The Forestry Ministry was the last to sign the draft before it was sent to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for approval.
'Our ministry waited until the other [ministries] had signed the draft first,' he said.
The REDD+ council would take over the duties of the now defunct REDD+ task force, which was scrapped by the President in late June 2013, in accordance with a government plan to create an official national council to implement REDD+.
REDD+ is proposed as an alternative mechanism to cut global carbon dioxide emissions in developing nations. Under the scheme, forested nations receive financial incentives for protecting their forests. The 'plus' in the program name refers to additional financial incentives given to countries that launch projects to plant trees, conserve forest areas or increase carbon retention. Hadi said that the new council would focus on monitoring, reporting and verifying emission reductions related to forestry and manage the incentives disbursements from developed countries.
The council would also coordinate the nationwide REDD+ road strategy alongside other ministries and institutions.
'However, the REDD+ council will not be able to take any actions. The council only has the power to report on emissions reduction projects and any program irregularities to the related ministries. It is then up to the appropriate ministry take action,' he said.
Hadi added that the council would also not be in charge of managing forest assets, as that was the purview of the Forestry Ministry.
'It's merely an independent committee that links institutions so that REDD+ implementation can be integrated and free from overlap among ministries and institutions,' he said, adding that the government planned to allocate Rp 30 billion ( US$2.8 million ) from the state budget to the REDD+ council.
Doddy S. Sukadri, an advisor in the low emission carbon development unit from the National Council on Climate Change ( DNPI ), said that the establishment of the REDD+ council had been held up due to delays in the ministerial agreement process.
'In the beginning one minister had refused to sign the draft, but I don't remember which ministry that was,' he said.
Doddy told the Post that the REDD+ council would also coordinate with the DNPI to implement the REDD+ road strategy nationwide, which would include capacity building for stakeholders and society. ( tam )