Tuesday, December 8, 2009


      Jakarta, Dec. 8, 2009 (ANTARA) - "Copenhagen is our time to seize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch the post-2012 climate agreement," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono once said.

        The recorded statement of President Yudhoyono to the United Nations (UN) Summit in New York, last Sept. 22, 2009, clearly reflected Indonesia's view on the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held in Copenhagen, Denmark, December 7-18, 2009.

        He even further emphasized the crucial need of addressing climate change by saying: "Remember: we can negotiate about the climate, but we cannot negotiate with the climate. We cannot ask the climate for more time."

        President Yudhoyono is scheduled to attend the COP 15-UNFCC later this month, while Indonesia's delegation led by former environment minister Rachmat Witoelar is already in Copenhagen now.

        The COP 13 UNFCCC which was organized in Bali, Indonesia, December 3-14, 2009, recommended that the Copenhagen conference should reach a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol because its first commitment period of developed countries on emission cut will expire in 2012.

        Indonesia has made climate change a key priority in its national budget for 2010, reaching half a billion dollars, which includes preservation and expansion of the country's tropical rain forest cover.

        The Forestry Ministry in Jakarta early December 2009 held a seminar themed "Best Practice Sustainable Forest Management on Climate Change (Road to Copenhagen)".

        Officially opened by Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan, the seminar dealt with such topics as sustainable forest management and mitigation policies, forests` chance to contribute to mitigating the impact of climate change , and best practices in timber forest development.

        Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said recently the government had provided Rp2 trillion in reforestation funds this year and would increase it to Rp2.6 trillion next year and to an even higher amount in the years to come.

        Speaking about his 100-day program, Forestry Minister Zulkilfi Hasan said one of his top priorities was to strengthen Indonesia's position in the Copenhagen climate talks. "We will take real actions by planting 230 million trees," he said.

        Indonesia has one of the largest areas of forest in the world, but also one of the highest deforestation rates.

        Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said in Banjarmasin last Friday (Nov. 27), the rate of forest destruction in Indonesia had reached 1.1 million hectares a year.

        He said the government could only rehabilitate up to 500,000 hectares a year. He said it was feared the gap would worsen the impact of global warming in the country as well as in the world.

        He said the weather`s temperature had now risen by four degrees making the sea level rise by 80 centimeters. If this condition was ignored, 30 million to 40 million people in the country could fall victim to the impact of global warming such as floods, and other natural disasters.

        Speaking about the COP 15 UNFCCC, Foreign Minister Marty M Natalegawa said the possibility of reaching a binding commitment at the climate change summit in Copenhagen next week was relatively slim.

        "It appears that (the climate change summit) would not be able to solve the problem because it appears the prospects of reaching a binding commitment is relatively small," the foreign minister said in Jakarta recently.

        Therefore, he added, the discussions on climate change issues might be finished at least in mid-2010.

        "Thus, our agenda on climate change will continue until 2010," he said when explaining Indonesia`s foreign policy priorities in 2010.

        Nevertheless, he added, Indonesia would still be active in trying to achieve an accord in Copenhagen, and may even contribute to reaching a solution.

        "Indonesia as host of the UNFCCC in Bali in 2007 is constantly playing a role in dealing with climate change problems," he pointed out.

        "Indonesia is not only speaking within the framework of a discourse. In Copenhagen, we will explain our efforts of reaching the target of reducing emissions by 26 percent by 2020," the foreign affairs minister said.

        Sounding more optimistic, President Yudhoyono has expressed hope that the conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark, will be able to produce a strong and positive agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

        "We wish to open a new historic page in Copenhagen with an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol," he said when receiving participants of a National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas) course in Jakarta on Dec. 17, 2009.

        He said unless a new agreement could be achieved the sea level could rise by 1.5 meters in 2100 in addition to threats of prolonged dry or rainy seasons resulting from climate change.

        "Therefore, we must reduce carbon emissions. A number of heads of state will come to the conference. It would be better if we have a plan of action to reduce carbon emissions by up to 26 percent through forestation, control of fuel oil consumption and use of transportation means," he said.

        The Indonesian head of state said he was optimistic a common agreement would be reached at the meeting.

        The Indonesian delegation to Copenhagen in a press statement on Dec. 6, said Indonesia wished to propose the Bali Action Plan (BAP) yielded in the COP 13 UNFCCC in Bali 2007, to be accepted in the Copenhagen conference.

        The Indonesian delegation hoped that advanced countries could lead mitigation efforts, while developing countries could contribute in cutting emissions by pursuing low-carbon economic development in respective countries.

        Last November 2009, Hadi Haryanto, a member of the Indonesian delegation to Copenhagen, said Indonesia would propose a new forest initiative to help local people obtain financial benefits from forest protection.

        Indonesia was ready to develop projects for the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scheme, which many expect to agree on in Copenhagen, Hadi said.

        "Indonesia will showcase its activities in REDD projects in Jambi, Central Kalimantan and East Java, in December, to show its strong commitment to saving the planet against global warming," he said.

        Around 6.2 million hectares of communal forests are eligible for the carbon reduction scheme, Hadi said.

        He said Indonesia would also propose best practices for sustainable forest management (SFM) in Copenhagen, to show its seriousness in achieving emission cuts in the forestry sector.

        Under the SFM system, Hadi said, Indonesia has its roadmap already, which includes a reduction of forest fires by 20 percent per year, combating illegal logging activities, and the certification of forest products.

        Meanwhile, speaking before participants of the Fourth Plenary Session of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) in Bandung (West Java Province), Tuesday (Dec. 8), President Yudhoyono urged APA to support the ongoing UNFCCC in Copenhagen.

        According to the head of state no country in the world would be able to deal with all problems, including climate change, by itself. Therefore, he said all parties should cooperate at global and regional order. ***3*** (f001/A/HAJM/16:20/f001) (T.F001/A/F001/A/F001) 08-12-2009 16:37:25

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