(1) Domestic Efforts with International Interests In February, a team consisting of personnel from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and from the West Sulawesi provincial government collaborated in efforts to extinguish forest fires occurring in Rawa Aopa National Park (<http://www.menlhk.go.id/berita-152-pengendalian-kebakaran-hutan-dan-lahan-tahun-2016-oleh-tim-terpadu-karhutla-kementerian-lingkungan-h.html>). The team reported that the fires might have been intentionally ignited by a certain group that aimed to convert the area for agricultural land. Local military and police personnel worked closely with the team to extinguish the fires. In 2016, forest fires still occurred sporadically in several provinces. According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, there were at least seven forest fire incidents in Indonesia in that year (<http://www.menlhk.go.id/berita-121-pengendalian-dan-penanganan-kebakaran-lahan-dan-hutan-kementerian-lhk.html>). The fires occurred in the provinces of Jambi, South Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra, Riau, and East Kalimantan. Yet, the forest fire incidents in 2016 were not as bad as the fires in 2015. For 2016, the ministry had already prepared a national team for combating forest fires in Indonesia. The team consisted of personnel from the ministry and from the Forestry Department of each provincial government. In addition, the ministry introduced Regulation no. 32/2016 that provides guidance on how to control forests fires and involves various government bodies in efforts to extinguish forest fires. In March, Indonesia’s anti-corruption commission announced that various government bodies had agreed to cooperate with the committee on a plan to eradicate corruption in the forestry sector (<http://www.voaindonesia.com/a/indonesia-akan-tangani-penggundulan-hutan-/3224328.html>). The plan was the result of its study that estimated that from 2003 to 2014 the commercial value of illegal logging ranged from approximately US $60.7 to US $81.4 billion, and Indonesia lost income from royalties that ranged from approximately US $6.5 to US $9 billion in the same period. The plan was in line with Indonesia’s interests for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), which intentionally maximizes the potential of its forest resources for the benefit of people. It also met Indonesia’s intention to combat illegal logging and land conversion, which triggers forest fires annually. Land conversion for palm oil plantation and other agricultural purposes has triggered forest fires that have resulted in disaster for Indonesia and its neighbouring countries. As previously reported in the 2015 edition of this Yearbook, the forest fires caused many problems for neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. The fires produced haze that exceeded health limits and forced people to stay home and schools to close. The anti-corruption commission expects that the involvement of several government agencies in its plan could boost efforts to eradicate corruption in the forestry sector. Each of the government bodies would employ its resources, thereby triggering synergy. In March, the Indonesian coal mining association announced its readiness to support the national carbon emission reduction program. According to the 2010 data, the energy sector produced 400 million tons in carbon dioxide emissions, and the National Development Planning Board estimated that emissions could reach 800 million tons by 2045 (<http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/03/17/coal-association-agrees-help-reduce-emissions.html>). At the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, Indonesia announced its commitment to meet a 29 percent emission reduction target by 2030 and up to 41 percent reduction target with international assistance. Consequently, the country needs to reduce its dependency on fossil fuel energy. This is a special challenge for the country. On the one hand, coal is considered the most efficient and effective fuel for power plants in Indonesia, but, on the other hand, coal power is considered to be one of the main sources of Indonesia’s emissions. Yet, the commitment of the coal mining association shows an initiative from the private sector to support Indonesia to meet its emission reduction target. In November, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry adopted Regulation no. 84/2016 on Climate Kampung Program (Program Kampung Iklim). A kampung is the lowest administrative organization in Indonesia’s governmental hierarchy. A kampung can be located in a village (part of a village) or in a city (a part of kelurahan). The regulation tries to empower local people and other stakeholders to be involved in various activities related to mitigation and adaptation programs. These programs are expected to benefit Indonesia’s efforts to meet its international commitment in reducing the level of emissions. The regulation provides a legal basis for various local initiatives that support climate change control at the local level. (2) International Cooperation In January, Indonesia joined several countries including Mexico, Korea, Turkey, and Australia in deploring a nuclear test conducted by North Korea (<http://www.kemlu.go.id/en/lembar-informasi/Pages/MIKTA-Foreign-Ministers’-Joint-Statement-on-the-North-Korean-Nuclear-Test.aspx>). The countries were grouped into an informal partnership called MIKTA, which is an acronym for Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Australia. In a joint statement, the countries stated that the nuclear test constituted a breach of international peace and security and was in direct violation of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), and 2094 (2013). They also urged North Korea to unconditionally implement all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and to refrain from provocative action. In February, Indonesia’s minister of environment and forestry met Norway’s minister of environment and climate met to discuss the cooperation of the two countries on climate change issues, especially Indonesia’s adaptation and mitigation efforts (Doc. 83/PHM-1/2016). Norway was one of the main international supporters for Indonesia reducing its high emission levels. The ministers also discussed various climate issues in relation to the implementation of the Paris Agreement in Indonesia, Indonesia’s policy on peat lands, efforts in preventing and combating forest fires, and empowering indigenous people. In May, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing submitted documents for three waste water management installation projects in three municipalities including Makassar, Palembang, and Cimahi. The projects were funded by Indonesia and Australia (<http://www.pu.go.id/berita/11241/Kemen-PUPR-dan–Australia-Kerjasama-Bangun-Pipa-Limbah-Raksasa-Senilai-Rp-1,9-Triliun>). In July, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences published its new innovation project to support Indonesia’s adaptation to climate change (<http://lipi.go.id/siaranpress/lipi-%E2%80%93-jica-ubah-limbah-batu-bara-jadi-bahan-baku-beton-ramah-lingkungan/15814>). The Japan International Cooperation Agency and a Japanese company, Hakko Industry, supported the research. The new innovation utilizes coal waste (also called bottom ash) and converts the waste into raw materials for environmentally friendly concrete. This is very important for Indonesia due to its high dependency on coal to produce electricity. This dependency produces massive amounts of coal waste every year. This new innovation can offer a solution to tackle the increasing problem of coal waste in Indonesia. In August, Australia announced its commitment to support Indonesia’s efforts in developing a carbon accounting system. Australia will provide Indonesia with AUD $500,000, which was part of Australia’s National Carbon Accounting System with a focus on emissions from peat land (<http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/08/03/australia-provides-indonesia-with-a500000-for-carbon-accountingsystem.html>). The support took the form of technical assistance, with Australia sharing its carbon accounting experience on how to measure the emissions lost and produced. In September, the governor of Central Java and the Denmark ambassador for Indonesia agreed to continue cooperation on waste management and renewable energy. In 2014, Denmark initiated pilot projects on waste management in six districts in Central Java and agreed to continue the projects. The projects supply renewable energy for Central Java Province (<https://m.tempo.co/read/news/2016/09/15/090804419/jawa-tengah-dan-denmark-kerja-sama-kelola-energi-terbarukan>). In October, the minister of environment and forestry officially launched phase 2 of the Forest Investment Program (FIP). This program focuses on natural resource management based on community and capacity building (<http://kph.menlhk.go.id/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=455:peluncuran-proyek-ii-forest-investment-program-fip&catid=1:berita-kph>). The World Bank provided a US $17.5 million grant and the Danish International Development Agency supported the program with 40 million Danish krone. Phase 2 of the FIP began its preparation in 2014. It involved document preparation and drafting a manual for operation. Implementation began soon after the launch. The program was a result of the fact that there are still many people living around forests and dependant on forests for their livelihood. According to the ministry, approximately 32 million people live inside or near forest areas. Ten million of them live in poor conditions and do not have legal access to exploit forest resources. This five-year program tries to empower the community by involving them in sustainable forest management programs that can protect the forest and, at the same time, can support the community to improve their lives. Phase 2 of the FIP program was followed by the enactment of Regulation no. 83/2016 on Social Forestry. This regulation enables wider legal access for people living in forest areas. Under this regulation, they have the opportunity to manage village forests and to obtain licenses to pick certain forest resources. Indigenous people who live around forests also get the benefits from this new regulation. The regulation recognizes indigenous peoples’ rights to utilize forest resources based on sustainable forests management scheme. In November, Indonesia and Australia initiated industrial cooperation in the field of forestry and agriculture. This cooperation aims to prevent forest and peat-land fires (<http://www.antaranews.com/berita/597110/australia-indonesia-bekerja-sama-bantu-petani-atasi-perubahan-iklim>). The cooperation focuses on the adaptation of the agricultural sector to climate change, which includes supporting the way Indonesian farmers cultivate their lands. Australia will share its farmers’ experience and introduce the latest technology used by Australian farmers to cultivate their lands. The experience and technology can support Indonesian farmers to limit the negative effects of climate change. In November, Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry and Environment and the Dutch Ministry on Infrastructure and Environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Climate Change, Waste Management and Circular Economy (Doc. SP.133 /HUMAS/PP/HMS.3/11/2016). This memorandum is the basis of their cooperation, which focuses on improving the capacity of stakeholders in monitoring, reporting, and verification of greenhouse emissions and increasing the efficiency of the use of resources and improving waste management by promoting a ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ program. This four-year cooperation initiated several projects including business collaboration, academic collaboration, and the transfer of technology, governance, and capacity building. Business collaboration aims to promote cooperation between private sectors in two countries. Academic collaboration aims to share knowledge and strengthen cooperation between tertiary institutions. The transfer of technology focuses on waste disposal; advance technology in extracting methane and its conversion to gas; waste separation; waste recycling and composting; solutions to various problems faced by village and small islands communities; and technology that is suitable for handling marine litter. Governance projects include developing an integrated waste management roadmap for cities and industrial sites, analysis of local government capacity to manage waste, and improving the commitment of stakeholders to be involved in waste management. Projects on capacity building focus on developing a better and more coherent policy for handling waste; mapping and data gathering for developing waste management; training; extended producer responsibility (EPR); EPR pilot projects; plastic waste management; and marine handling. (3) Oil Spill Case In August, approximately 13,000 Indonesia seaweed farmers and fishermen from eleven regencies in East Nusa Tenggara Province filed a class action lawsuit in Sydney’s Federal Court against a company that they believe was responsible for Australia’s offshore oil spill (<http://regional.kompas.com/read/2016/09/14/05462301/gugat.perusahaan.australia.soal.pencemaran.laut.timor.warga.ntt.minta.dukungan.jokowi>). The lawsuit was a result of a seven-year fight for justice by the communities of East Nusa Tenggara Province. The oil spill occurred in August 2009 after a big explosion on the Montara oil rig. The spill continued until the leak was plugged on 3 November 2009, approximately seventy-four days after the explosion. It was estimated that approximately 300,000 litres of oil per day contaminated the sea, reaching the Timor Sea near East Nusa Tenggara Province, approximately 248 kilometres from the rig. A team of lawyers from Indonesia and Australia represented the farmers in the lawsuit. The lawyers believe that Montara’s rig operator, PTTEP Australasia, was accountable for the oil spill and the devastation it had caused Australia’s neighbours. The farmers depended heavily on seaweed farming for their livelihoods. Their seaweed production was the raw material for cosmetics and other industries. They claim the oil spill crushed their production and, consequently, affected their income. (4) Special Report: Domestic Measures of Paris Agreement under a New Decentralized Scheme In December, the Indonesian minister for environment and forestry admitted that Indonesia needs to improve domestic efforts to implement the Paris Agreement in a newly revised decentralized system under Law no. 23/2014, which came into effect in January 2017. Indonesia signed the agreement on 22 April 2016 and enacted Law no. 16/2016 on 31 October 2016 as a legal method to transform the Paris Agreement into the domestic legal system. The transformation of the agreement shows Indonesia’s willingness to adopt and implement at the domestic level what has been agreed to at the international level. However, reducing emissions is a special challenge for Indonesia. This is particularly the case due to its decentralized governmental system. One individual suggested that ‘while the country’s 34 provinces will be largely responsible for delivering these reductions, we know surprisingly little about them or their emissions sources’ (<http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/06/6-things-you-never-knew-about-indonesias-emissions-and-local-climate-action>). This claim seems to suggest that the national government optimistically entered into the Paris Agreement but that it forgets the challenge of pushing its provinces to take action. The claim suggests that since Indonesia did not even have reliable data about emission sources at the provincial and local levels, one cannot expect significant and efficient actions to take place. As a matter of fact, abundant literature suggests Indonesia’s decentralized system as the main factor to drive many environmental problems such as deforestation, land conversion, and illegal mining, which contribute to Indonesia’s high emission rate. In this decentralized government scheme, the national government depends heavily on its lower government levels to meet its international commitments. The new decentralized law (Law no. 23/2014, which took effect 1 January 2017) can potentially change the situation. Before the new law was adopted, Indonesia had experienced several changes regarding decentralization. Indonesia first introduced a decentralized law after the fall of President Soeharto’s authoritarian regime in 1999 with the enactment of Law no. 22/1999. This law lasted to the year 2004 with the introduction of Law no. 32/2004. Both Law no. 22/1999 and Law no. 32/2004 transferred significant power to local government units. Under Law no. 22/199, the national government depended heavily on its more than 400 local government units to control the environment. One of the main differences between Law no. 22/1999 and Law no. 34/2004 was the authority of provinces to supervise and control local governments’ policy existing in Law no. 32/2004. However, even under Law no. 32/2004, deforestation and illegal mining were still rampant. This suggests that the provinces cannot effectively supervise and control them. One reason for this inefficiency was that Law no. 32/2004 did not equip the provinces with the authority to impose sanctions for local governments. When a local government introduces a policy that potentially or arguably contradicts the national government policies, the provinces cannot do anything. This is especially the case when it relates to local government power. For instance, when a local government decides to issue a mining license to a company, the provincial government cannot stop the issuance of the license because the lower government unit has the legal authority to issue such a license. The problem in a decentralized system is thus clear. The national government cannot just order lower government units because each level of government has the autonomy power guaranteed by various laws and regulations. This renders the implementation of the Paris Agreement unclear. Intervention of the national government to the lower government power in the name of the Paris Agreement can potentially be seen as breaking many laws and regulations. The new decentralization law, Law no. 23/2014, introduces a modified decentralized scheme. In the forestry sector, the law revokes almost all local government authority and transfers the authority to provincial governments. Local governments only have the authority to manage city forests, which are similar to city parks. In the mining sector, a similar scenario occurs. The authority of local government to issue various mining licenses is revoked and transferred to the provincial governments. Thus, the new law reduces the authority of local government, especially the authority in the sector that can contribute to Indonesia’s emissions. These changes consequently transfer personnel and other resources and were to be ready in September 2016 and effectively implemented on 1 January 2017. Thus, in the last quarter of 2016, local/city governments and provincial governments were very busy reorganizing their governmental structures. With these changes, provincial governments become the main actors to support the national government in meeting its international commitment to reduce emissions from the forestry sector. The changes in the decentralization scheme emerged almost at the same time as the introduction of Law no. 16/2016 as the domestic ratification instrument of the Paris Agreement. Can the changes in the decentralization scheme support Indonesia’s efforts to meet its lower emission commitment? The answer is not straightforward. As mentioned earlier, one individual has claimed that it was very difficult to depend on the action of provincial government due to the absence of reliable data. Yet one can also claim that the absence of such data happened under the previous decentralization scheme, where provincial governments only had limited authority in forestry and other sectors that contribute to high emissions. Under the new scheme, provincial governments have more authority and thus can do more, including collecting data that will become the basis for policy and actions. However, the statement of the Minister of Forestry and Environment that Indonesia should do more to implement the Paris Agreement suggests a mixed signal. It may suggest that problems under the decentralization scheme are massive and, thus, that Indonesia needs to significantly improve its efforts to tackle the problems in order to meet the commitments under the Paris Agreement. Yet, it may also suggest that the minister is optimistic that after the implementation of the new decentralization scheme, and at the same time the transformation of Paris Agreement into domestic law, the new strategy will take place, and it will be easier for Indonesia to reduce emissions. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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