UK Opens Unit To Transfer Climate Change eExpertise

Source : Jakarta Post
May 09, 2011
By Elly Burhaini Faizal

Indonesia may not meet its development targets unless the nation makes an effort to promote green, sustainable growth, according to a top British diplomat.

According to UK Ambassador to Indonesia Martin Hatfull, Indonesia has recently pursued ambitious growth targets for its citizens who want higher standards of living, more prosperity and improvements in education and health services.

“The problem is how do you balance it with low carbon growth — because unless it is a low carbon growth, you won’t achieve the standard of improvements,” Hatfull told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the launch of the UK Climate Change Unit.

Hatfull said Indonesia had a vast potential to contribute to tackling climate change globally due to its experience in the forestry sector. which generates about 80 percent of the nation’s carbon emissions.

The Indonesian government’s planned moratorium on issuing conversion permits for primary forests and peatlands – part of a billion-dollar climate deal with the Norwegian government – has been termed by activists as a critical initiative that might contribute to halting deforestation and forest degradation.

Hatfull said one obstacle faced by Indonesia was ensuring the effectiveness of the moratorium.

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Indonesia would independently reduce its carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020, or by as much as 41 percent with international support.

Hatfull said the majority of Indonesia’s carbon emissions would come from the energy sector by 2030, including the transportation and industry sectors.

The UK Climate Change Unit was designed to provide British funding and expertise to help Indonesia meet its targets in tackling climate change and promoting green, sustainable growth.

Previously, the UK’s climate change assistance to Indonesia was managed by two entities: the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The new unit will help Indonesia tap part of the £2.9 billion (US$4.5 billion) made available to the recently established International Climate Fund (ICF).

“In the first step, we will deploy £50 million over the next four years,” Hatfull said.

“We commend the UK’s strong programs to support both mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Indonesia,” Rachmat Witoelar, the President’s special envoy for climate change, said.

Rachmat, also the executive chair of the National Council on Climate Change, added that the UK Climate Change Unit would accelerate the nations’ joint efforts on climate issues.

“We hope that in the future we will have more focused activities in tackling climate issues,” according to Lukita Dinarsyah Tuwo, the deputy chairman of the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas).

The UK Climate Change Unit is currently working with the governor of Papua to develop a high-level plan for low carbon growth and green development in the province.

It is estimated that Papua can build a carbon neutral-economy that preserves its forests with a $4.75 billion investment over 25 years.

Papua has the largest remaining natural carbon stocks in Indonesia, comprised of about 30 million hectares of forests and peatlands. Almost 80 percent of Papua’s revenue comes from primary resource extraction.

“One thing that we want to do now is to help the authorities in Papua translate that into real action on the ground,” Hatfull said.

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