Jakarta, 11th of August 112019. In response to a panel decision in 2016, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the second special report titled Climate Change and Land (8/8/19). This report shows that land use by humans accounts for more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Land is a provider of basic human needs, including food, water and other ecosystem services. Agricultural, forestry and other activities that have supported human life are responsible for around 13% carbon dioxide (CO2), 44% methane (CH4), and 82% nitric oxide (N2O) emissions from human activities globally during 2007-2016, or around 23% of the total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
The report also explains that efforts to adapt and mitigate climate change related to land can also overcome decrease and degradation and improve food security. Conservation of high-carbon ecosystems such as peat, wetlands and mangroves is still a priority effort because of its rapid impact. However, this also needs to be supplemented by responses that provide a variety of ecosystem services and functions, such as the recovery of high-carbon ecosystems, land reclamation and reforestation, although the impact requires time. In addition, there are also response options that do not require land competition and have the potential to benefit together both for sustainable development and to overcome socio-economic problems, such as agricultural land management, increasing food production, reducing food waste and eating patterns. Of course, land-based responses to adaptation and mitigation depend on the context, including the adaptive capacity of a community or region. Indonesia as a party to the Paris Agreement had submitted its commitment to climate change mitigation and adaptation in the National Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat on the 6th of September 2016.
Marsya Mutmainah, Researcher of Forest and Land Division of Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) stated: “NDC Indonesia can be said to be quite ambitious as a developing country. Unfortunately, in its implementation there is still very little support from relevant sectoral agencies. The NDC should be seen as a guide for development by the relevant sectoral agencies, not only as a matter of pride for the Ministry of Forestry and the Environment (KLHK) as a national focal point. Not only that, in 2017 Indonesia had also planned to prepare low carbon development led by Bappenas. Indonesia’s ambition as the first developing country to develop low-carbon development won praise on the international level, especially at the 24th party meeting (COP 24). Regrettably, the plan has not yet heard of its development because it was allegedly an ego-sectoral problem. Meanwhile the low carbon development plan has the opportunity to include various development policies both directly related to land and non-competitive nature of land such as energy diversification, reduction of food waste, and agricultural management structuring.” she added.
Henri Subagiyo, Executive Director of the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) stated that the IPCC Report reminded us all that efforts to respond to climate change related to land use were crucial to be immediately evaluated. Improvements in forest and land governance that have been carried out by Indonesia indeed seem to be rich in initiatives, ranging from a moratorium on primary natural forests and peatlands, peat restoration in the aftermath of the 2015 severe fires, resolution of land issues in forest areas, social forestry and conflict resolution, to a moratorium and evaluation of palm oil permits. But if we reflect deeper, in fact these various policies do not yet have clear and measurable goals. Like a puzzle, the big picture of what measures of success in forest and land governance is not clear yet. For example, in the policy of a moratorium on primary natural forests and peatlands that were reportedly signed by President Jokowi, there are still many exceptions. This shows that the various development plans as excluded have not been well consolidated, for example, national strategic project activities or vital objects, why not just remove the site from the moratorium area since the beginning. In the moratorium on palm oil licenses, the public does not yet have a clear licensing evaluation mechanism as to what is implemented in implementing the policy. Therefore, the Jokowi Government must immediately evaluate and consolidate these various initiatives. If not, it is possible to cause counter productivity, such as the emergence of the Land Bill and the Palm Oil Bill which are currently being criticised by many parties. On the other hand, the Draft Bills which are fundamental to be ratified are actually not well worked out, such as the Draft Bill on Indigenous People, the Draft Bill on Water Resources and the Draft Bill on Conservation of Natural Resources and its Ecosystems.
As such, this IPCC special report on climate change and land reinforces the fact that human activities on land are the largest contributor to emissions. However, there are also many hopes for mitigating and adapting on the ground. Finally, these hopes will not be possible if there is no political will from the stakeholders. The vision of an elected President who has been considered minimal in environmental protection will certainly be a big challenge going forward, although it is not too late for President Jokowi to immediately take strategic and measurable steps through evaluating various programs related to forest and land governance and immediately launching low carbon development initiatives.
Henri Subagiyo (081585741001)
Marsya Mutmainah (087769086093)
Dona Rahayu (082127420299)