The Government of Indonesia's commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change is realized through various innovative strategies. One of them is by developing Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) which have the potential to contribute up to 90 percent of Indonesia's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets. Indonesia, with its very high potential for natural climate solutions, is also optimistic that it can achieve its national emission reduction target by 2030.
This became the main discussion in an interactive discussion held by Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), “Climate Solutions from Nature for Nature” on Tuesday (27/10) online. Present as a speaker said Ir. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja who now serves as Chairman of the Advisory Council on Climate Change Control at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK). The discussion regarding the development of natural climate solutions to address climate change also presented the Director of Inventory and Monitoring of Forest Resources at the Directorate General of Forestry Planning and Environmental Management from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) Dr Belinda Margono, Head of the East Kalimantan Provincial Environment Service, Ence Ahmad Rafiddin. Rizal, ST, M.Si and YKAN Executive Director Herlina Hartanto, PhD.
“Indonesia is known to have a latent ability to provide solutions to climate change because of its rich natural resources. It is home to the world's largest mangrove forest, the third largest tropical rainforest in the world, and there are other natural assets—even though they are also being degraded—but can still be relied on. Other research says that if a landscape is still intact, whether on land or in the sea, it can withstand the damage caused by climate change," said Sarwono.
Developing this high natural potential is part of the commitment to achieve Indonesia's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target. The implementation of nature-based solutions also needs to pay attention to the modalities and consider the current condition of Indonesia. Belinda explained, of the five sectors to achieve Indonesia's NDC target, the forestry sector plays an important role because it bears around 17.2 percent of the total target of 29 percent. In other words, about 69 percent of the achievement of Indonesia's NDC target is the forestry sector, which covers 94.1 million hectares. He also admits that working with nature is the most appropriate strategy with the modalities that Indonesia has.
Natural climate solutions are a series of nature-based mitigation efforts that include protecting forests and wetlands, improving forest management, and restoring forest, peat and mangrove ecosystems. Indonesia together with three other tropical countries (Brazil, Congo and India) can contribute more than half of the potential emission reduction. Indonesia itself has the greatest potential, with its ability to reduce carbon emissions by around 1.4 Gton CO2e/year.
The government's commitment to reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change certainly requires support and partnerships from all stakeholders, both at the national, provincial, and district levels. In this case, East Kalimantan is the only province appointed by the central government to be involved in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility where East Kalimantan gets incentives if it succeeds in reducing carbon emissions.
“Since 2015, we have also collaborated with YKAN to form the Wehea Kelay Essential Ecosystem Area of 532 thousand ha, which now involves 23 partners, both from government partners, corporations, and the community. The goal is to protect the orangutan habitat, both in protected forest areas, as well as in production forest concessions and oil palm plantations,” explained Rizal.
Through this natural climate solution program, in collaboration with KLHK, YKAN updated the NCS studies conducted in 2017 and 2019 by conducting studies on 7 strategies or pathways. The seven pathways are prevention of deforestation of mangroves, restoration of mangroves, prevention of peat damage, restoration of peat, prevention of deforestation, restoration, and sustainable forest management. This study was conducted in collaboration with several units in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry under the coordination of the Center for Research and Development of Socio-Economic Policy and Climate Change.
“YKAN supports KLHK's efforts to achieve NDC through scientific studies to find out which strategies have the greatest mitigation potential as well as being cost effective. This cost analysis is important because, as we know, mitigation efforts require significant costs and there is still a large gap in terms of funding to meet Indonesia's emission reduction target in 2030," said Herlina.
He further explained that the role of every stakeholder is very important in efforts to mitigate climate change, including corporations and the community. YKAN also invites corporate partners to support the government's efforts, including in protecting and restoring mangrove ecosystems under the MERA (Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration Alliance) program. The community also has an important role so YKAN has developed an Inspiring Community Action for Change (SIGAP) approach.
"We believe that people should not just be spectators. At the village level, green development must also be carried out, development in harmony with nature. Because the villagers are aware that they have to protect and preserve the nature on which they depend, but they also need development,” explained Herlina.
Collaboration to restore nature and curb climate change is non-negotiable. Sarwono also reminded, “Climate change mitigation is very urgent. However, to do mitigation, you must also make adaptations. We have to work with nature and adopt a lifestyle that is a reflection of our respect for nature.”
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.