Climate Change Cause ‘May Land’ Yudhoyono Top UN Post

Source : The Jakarta Post
May 30, 2011
By Adianto P. Simamora

“We must produce a Bali road map. We cannot fail,” President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said before international delegations attending the 2007 Bali Climate Conference.

He uttered the declaration after the US had rebuffed a consensus to produce a final deal.

Hours later the delegations sealed the deal known as the Bali road map, a landmark plan to cut world emissions to tackle climate change.

With the Bali success, communities lauded Yudhoyono’s leadership and many speculated that he was eyeing a top post at the United Nations (UN).

When he won his second term in office in 2009, Yudhoyono surprised the world again with his pledge to cut Indonesia’s emissions by 26 percent by 2020 using the state budget or by 41 percent with international aid.

Indonesia was the first developing country in the world to commit to an emissions reduction target at a time when the world was looking toward the rich nations to announce new emissions slashing targets.

Rumors then began to abound again that Yudhoyono would use his success at Bali to collect support from countries to run for the UN secretary-general post after his second term ended in 2014.

Incumbent UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s term ends in Dec. 2011. His successor will be elected with the approval of the five permanent UN veto-wielding Security Council members — the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and the United States — and will lead the UN office until 2016.

Members of the Indonesia Environment Forum (Walhi) and officials from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) have said Indonesia will eye the UN Secretary-General post for the tenure beginning in 2016.

“It is a public secret that Yudhoyono wants to be UN Secretary-General,” Teguh Surya of Walhi told The Jakarta Post. “Such issues have often been brought up in informal talks in discussions with officials, including from the UKP4,” he said referring to the Presidential Work Unit for Development Control and Monitoring led by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto.

Kuntoro is also head of the Presidential taskforce on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD Plus), a forest scheme that continues to be hotly debated at international forums.

An official from the Bappenas who declined to be named said Yu-dhoyono would likely use climate change as an entry point to win the UN Secretary-General post. “The issue became bigger before the Copenhagen talks,” the source said.

Yudhoyono attended the Copenhagen talks in Denmark in 2009 where he officially announced Indonesia’s emissions target.

Presidential spokesman for international affairs Teuku Faizasyah denied the rumor, saying that President Yudhoyono did not need a formal position in the international body to contribute his thoughts on global issues.

“I have never heard about this issue. I think a [state] President is too high a position for the UN post since most of the its secretary-generals are former ministers,” he told the Post.

Last year former foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda was one name floated as a secretary-general candidate.

Teuku said that the world’s nations had acknowledged Yudhoyono’s capacity as an influential leader with his contribution to many summits, from the G20 to climate change talks.

Communications expert Effendi Ghazali said that many international communities had dubbed Yudhoyono the global champion of climate change, but local activists have different views about the President, based on concerns that the government has so far poorly implemented its pledge to cut emissions.

“The plan to eye the UN secretary-general post is of course something that should be supported as long as Yudhoyono’s pledges in international forums are not just empty campaigning,” he said.

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