Indonesia is one of the countries with the largest forest area in the world (third), with tropical forest types and contributions from rainforests on the islands of Kalimantan and Papua. Based on data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (2019), the forest area in Indonesia in 2018 reached 93.52 million hectares or around 49.81% of the total land area. The large area of these forests makes Indonesia an important and very strategic country for the world to conserve its forests as an effort to mitigate and control climate change.

Climate change cannot be separated from the profile of greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia. In 2014, Indonesia contributed 2.47 gigatons of CO2 carbon emissions which made Indonesia ranked fourth in the country with the highest carbon emission contributions in the world. In addition, the contribution of Indonesia’s greenhouse gas emissions also increased by 63.1% (4.5% per year) from 2000 to 2014. Most of the contribution of greenhouse gas emissions in Indonesia comes from land use systems. Emissions from the land use sector and land use change have increased at an annual rate of 5.1 percent between 2000 and 2017. The high carbon emissions caused by land use systems cannot be separated from the issue of deforestation of 8 million hectares of primary forest from 2000 to 2017, conversion of forest cover to non-forest, and forest fires in particular in 2015 which contributed more than 40% of total emissions caused by land systems in Indonesia.[1]

Indonesia’s commitment to climate change mitigation is stated on the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024 document through Presidential Regulation (Perpres) Number 18 of 2020, which was published in January. The RPJMN 2020-2024 document has seven development agendas and one of them is in the environmental sector with three national priorities which include: 1) environmental quality; 2) increasing disaster and climate resilience; and 3) low carbon development. Controlling deforestation and forest reforestation is part of the main policy in low carbon development that aims to achieve sustainable development in the economic, social, and environmental fields.

Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Indonesia held a focus group discussion (FGD) entitled “Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation on the Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024 Policy and Indonesia’s NDC Framework”, last Tuesday (18/8). This activity examines further the policies to reduce deforestation and forest degradation on the RPJMN 2020-2024. Get progress updates on the implementation of the 2020-2024 RPJMN policies, especially in reducing deforestation and forest degradation as climate change mitigation actions. As well as getting an overview of the challenges and problems faced in the framework of controlling and reducing deforestation, forest degradation, and climate change in general from policymakers and stakeholders.

Dr. Nur Hygiawati Rahayu, Director of Forestry and Conservation of Water Resources, Bappenas said that of the 120 million hectares of land, 63% of them are forest areas, where the latest data is that about 88 million hectares have not been designated as forest areas. “In the map of Indonesia’s land area, non-forest estate (area penggunaan lain; APL) is 36% or 67 million hectares, conservation forests are 12% or 22 million hectares, protected forests are 16% or 29 million hectares and production forests are 37% or 68 million hectares. Within each of these areas, 14 million hectares are categorized as critical forest. With details of 8% or an area of 5.4 million hectares in other areas of use, 4% or an area of 967 thousand hectares in conservation forest areas, 8% or an area of 2.2 million hectares in protected forest areas, and 7% or an area of 4, 8 million hectares in industrial forest areas, “she said.

The conditions and problems in forest areas that occur in Indonesia are very worrying. About 0.5 million hectares of forest cover is lost annually (1990-2017 average), 14.5 million hectares of tenure conflicts, 32 million hectares of unmanned forest areas, 30% of the 554 conservation areas not functioning as mandated. In the projected deforestation up to 2045 based on the RPJMN 2020-2024 Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment/SESA (Kajian Lingkungan Hidup Strategis; KLHS) results, each year, the forest decreases. One of the factors is the conversion of forest to land with increasing population and settlement development. If no concrete steps are taken, the forest will always be taken over.

Furthermore, this woman who is usually called Mrs. Yuke explained that several strategies are being carried out in reducing deforestation and forest degradation on the 2020-2024 RPJMN. Among them are reducing the rate of deforestation to 310 hectares/year; Planting and enrichment in production forests covering an area of 1.97 million hectares including an area of peat ecosystem that is coordinated and facilitated by restoration in 7 fire-prone provinces with a target of 300,000 hectares per year. Meanwhile, strategies and targets in low-carbon development are sustainable energy development, sustainable land restoration, waste management, green industry development, and inventory and rehabilitation of coastal and marine ecosystems.

From reading the 2020-2024 RPJMN document, Maryati Abdullah, the National Coordinator of PWYP Indonesia, revealed that the problem of deforestation is quite widespread at various levels. “We want to see the main spirit of this RPJMN for the next five years in its entirety. In terms of political will, spirit and motivation, we see that the government has put awareness of the environmental and natural resource crisis in one of the problem statements and has reflected an awareness of this. On the normative side, we see that there is a background that inspires the importance of controlling or reducing deforestation in the framework of controlling climate change and environmental damage and disaster risk “

However, Maryati reminded that when viewed from the indicators or outcomes, the RPJMN 2020-2024 is still too general, so more specific indicators are needed. Maryati also hopes that the 2020-2024 RPJMN will not only be good in context but also be followed by an implementation that can be felt directly by the benefits. For example, related to Law Enforcement (Gakkum), which is very important in conducting investigations, receiving community findings and reports, and facilitating forest monitoring communities. “We don’t want to be good at policies, but the implementation is too bad,” said Maryati.

Several FGD participants also conveyed some good inputs related to derivatives of the Environmental Quality Index (IKLH) indicators such as water quality indicators, air quality indicators, and land cover quality indicators. Even if it is attached, these are the achievements of 2015-2019. In the 2020-2024 target, I only found a general target, namely the Environmental Quality Index of 73.25 – 75.25 percent in 2024. Also related to data and target achievements in the 2020-2024 RPJMN document, as well as input to provide room for policy in implementation RPJMN 2020-2024 in the context of preventing deforestation by continuing the moratorium policy on oil palm plantation permits.

For your information, PWYP Indonesia is currently preparing a Policy Brief which is expected to provide several policy notes as well as recommendations for the RPJMN 2020-2024 and Indonesia’s NDC documents, especially in reducing deforestation and forest degradation as climate change mitigation actions. So that discussion notes in this activity become part of a more in-depth and comprehensive input for the policy notes being compiled by the team. (Ikhsan / Ary)

[1] BAPPENAS. 2019. Low Carbon Development: A Paradigm Shift Towards a Green Economy in Indonesia Full Report