The Jakarta Post
An indigenous people's community has applauded President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's speech at the UN Climate Conference, COP21, in Paris, which cited the role of indigenous people in the fight against climate change.
The Alliance of Indigenous People's (AMAN) secretary-general, Abdon Nababan, said on Monday in Paris that Jokowi's speech at the international climate change forum surprised the community.
"This surprised us all. I'd read the text of the President's speech before and there were no words about involving people, particularly indigenous people," he said as quoted by tribunnews.com.
Jokowi specifically mentioned "climate change mitigation by involving indigenous people", during his speech in front of world leaders.
Abdon said Jokowi's statement was important for Indonesia as indigenous communities had made significant contributions to reducing carbon emissions and promoting natural conservation.
"We all know that peatland fires occur the least on customary land. Peatland fires happen mostly on concession land owned by plantation firms," he said.
Abdon said there were currently 40 million hectares of customary land forest and 50 million hectares of preserved forest.
"The forests have been long managed by indigenous people, now we just need to protect them. This means reducing emissions up to 29 percent will not be difficult as indigenous people have already done it," he said.
AMAN urged the government to cooperate with indigenous people in managing the administration of customary land mapping as well as supporting the endorsement of the bill of indigenous people's protection and recognition.
Jokowi announced Indonesia's target of lowering carbon emissions to 29 percent by 2030 as part of the country's contribution to combating climate change.
To achieve the goal, he said that Indonesia would make efforts in the energy, forest management and maritime sectors.
During his speech on Monday, Jokowi said his administration would divert fuel subsidies to more productive sectors and increase the usage of renewable energy to 23 percent of national energy consumption by 2025. Jokowi also explained that Indonesia would implement a one-map policy, a moratorium on peatland permits and forest restoration and conservation efforts. Moreover, he said Indonesia aimed to tackle illegal fishing and protect ocean biodiversity.
Indonesia has experienced devastating forest and peatland fires in recent months, causing toxic haze to blanket parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan along with the neighboring countries of Singapore and Malaysia. Slash-and-burn plantation practices and the prolonged dry season were blamed as the causes of the disaster, which also affected people's health.
Indonesia's haze crisis contributed nearly 1.4 billion tons to the country's total emissions, making it the world's third-largest air polluter after China and the US. (afr/rin)(+)
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