Interview with Hasbi Berliani (Programme Manager, Environmental and Economic Governance), Joko Waluyo (Stakeholders Engagement Specialist, Kemitraan-Forests Government Programme) and Avi Mahaningtyas (Chief of Cluster, Environmental and Economic Governance), Kemitraan, in Jakarta, March 2012.
REDD-Monitor: Could we start with some background about Kemitraan and the role the organisation plays in REDD in Indonesia.
Hasbi Berliani: Kemitraan was established in 2000. It was built as a continuation of a UNDP programme on support for governance reform after 1998 and the fall of the Suharto regime. The focus is to support a governance reform agenda. Kemitraan became an independent legal body in 2003 and is registered as a non-government organisation and at the same time retaining its status as a UNDP programme until the end of 2009. It started with seven clusters of programmes but now it has changed to four clusters of programmes. The four clusters are public service governance, security and justice, democratisation and environmental and economic governance. There are more than 25 programmes now on-going. Kemitraan cooperates with central and regional government institutions, civil society organisations, media, university and research institutions, independent bodies, the private sector and international organisations in 33 provinces in Indonesia
Previously, we had more than one hundred staff, but now it’s about 60-70 people.
REDD-Monitor: So REDD fits into the environmental and economic governance cluster?
Hasbi Berliani: Yes. It is an opportunity to advocate for good governance reform.
REDD-Monitor: And what role does Kemitraan play in the REDD discussions in Indonesia?
Avi Mahaningtyas: Kemitraan’s role is facilitator and convenor. Actually what we are interested in is not REDD as such, it’s forest governance reform and climate governance. What we do is to make sure that every discussion on REDD is done in a multi-stakeholder way. As much as possible we have to reach out to everyone that is going to get the impacts of what REDD will be in the future. With the current building of REDD architecture they have to be included in the talks.
That’s our role, at national, province and district level.
REDD-Monitor: Do you work with the government in organising stakeholder meetings, for example?
Avi Mahaningtyas: We work based on good governance principles to convene all sectors. It can be with government, civil society organisations and private sectors. With government agencies, the way it works is that we have a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Forestry. They are our main partner in terms of pushing reform in the forest sector. Our main thrust is how community based forest management can be the focus and not so much industrial forestry.
The good governance part has to reflect that communities have rights and access to forests. We don’t have any REDD projects. We have a formal relationship with the Ministry of Forestry and the Governor of Central Kalimantan. We are also working with the Presidential Delivery Unit [UKP4]. We work with Bupatis [Regents] who are interested to work with us. We work with CSOs [Civil Society Organisations] who are willing to engage in discussions about REDD. Central Kalimantan is a perfect example where WALHI is actually opposed to REDD but is also heavily engaged (critically) in REDD discussions in the province.
Joko Waluyo: WALHI and AMAN are also partners with critical voices on REDD+.
Avi Mahaningtyas: To put it simply, when people are in the same room, at least they have, to some degree, the same level of knowledge. So it avoids someone over-powering the other party who has simply no information.
REDD-Monitor: You said that you work on forest governance not specifically REDD. How many people does Kemitraan have working on this issue?
Avi Mahaningtyas: None work specifically on REDD. The whole environmental and economic governance cluster is twelve people. In addition, we have three senior advisors.
REDD-Monitor: What is Kemitraan’s position on REDD?
Avi Mahaningtyas: Kemitraan does not have position in REDD. Our role is as a facilitator and as a convenor. We don’t have an agenda of saying no or yes. So we’re neutral. Well, positively neutral I would say. You can’t be neutral neutral.
REDD-Monitor: Does Kemitraan have a position on carbon trading and if so, what is the position?
Avi Mahaningtyas: We have a position on good governance. So if carbon trading is not in line with good governance, transparency, accountability, participation and based on equality, then we cannot support it. If it is in line with all those things, then REDD creates the opportunity to put all of the agendas that we’ve been working on for 15 years, and the whole movement has been working on, to be discussed in the open. But no, we don’t have a position on carbon trading as such.
REDD-Monitor: Recently there was an agreement signed between Indonesia and the EU on illegal logging. Was Kemitraan involved in the discussions on illegal logging?
Hasbi Berliani: Not intensively during the process towards the VPA [Voluntary Partnership Agreement]. The Security and Justice Governance cluster in Kemitraan worked on multistakeholder preparations for the VPA and its implementation post initialising the document. Now they are working with non-state actors, especially NGOs, in monitoring the VPA implementation. We also participate in some events. The VPA has been initialled by both parties and will be continued for ratification. This year the parties agreed to conduct a trial for the implementation of part of the agreement with full implementation in January 2013.
Avi Mahaningtyas: Kemitraan as an institution is not involved in the VPA itself. The whole VPA took 12 years of negotiation. However, Kemitraan is working with the Indonesian Centre for Environmental Law on documenting and training for prosecutors and police. But we have a limited role in the illegal logging VPA.
REDD-Monitor: As observers of the process, what do you think are lessons to be learned from the illegal logging discussion for the current discussion on REDD?
Avi Mahaningtyas: Are there any lessons learned in terms of mechanisms of stakeholder engagement that have been done through the FLEGT, VPA and illegal logging that can be used within REDD? Not exactly. That model is different because FLEGT is so focussed on timber and its legality, on timber and trade, while REDD is not just about forests. It includes governance of land, livelihoods, it’s not just forests as a unit to be discussed. It’s larger and more complex in managing stakeholders and institutional relationships.
Because the scope is larger, the stakeholder engagement model will need to engage more in terms of ministries, in terms of government agencies and the private sector. It’s not just the forest ministries, but also plantations/agriculture, mining, land agency, geospatial agency and civil society organisations. Issues include human rights, indigenous peoples, women’s rights, children’s rights. All these voices need to be heard.
Hasbi Berliani: In this process of the EU Indonesia VPA they established regulations for the legality of timber for verification, called SVLK, Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (Timber Legality Verification System). In our view, this regulation is difficult to implement, especially for small-scale community enterprises. Now the government is conducting training and information distribution to stakeholders about these regulations, but it seems quite difficult to implement.
Relating to REDD implementation, I think while this instrument is to reduce illegal logging, actually permits for legal logging are counter-productive to REDD. Reducing deforestation is not only about reducing illegal logging. Implementing an effective REDD+ has to be supported by improvement of governance in natural resources, including taking significant policies such as the moratorium on issuance of new licences for primary forest and peat land, and not only making the policy, but also making sure that this policy is running well.
REDD-Monitor: What’s your opinion of the US$1 billion deal between Norway and Indonesia?
Avi Mahaningtyas: I think it’s a great way to show commitment. What I see that’s good in this is that it provides a new pathway about how things should be operated. It’s not like the usual way of funding a project with traditional steps: getting government approval, setting the purpose and objectives of the project and implementing it. I see that as a positive way of conducting business (not business as usual), as a way of involving people who are not in the mainstream of this business. It’s an opportunity.
It provides a space for people to talk about the problems of resource governance not only relating to forests. It’s also putting fundamental and important questions about how good governance has to be implemented. For example, what is the relationship between the central government and the province? What is the relationship between the province and the head of district? The paradigm of thinking at the province is that if it’s a central government project then the province just has to receive funding or costs of implementation.
The Norway involvement in REDD in Indonesia is different. It’s quite an energy consuming exercise in which everyone has to change the way they conduct business. In that sense, I actually quite like it. It’s not rigid. It’s risky, but the discussion and the process itself is valuable to get all stakeholders and players to talk to each other.
Hasbi Berliani: This is different to other demonstration activities on REDD in Indonesia. AusAID provided US$30 million, for example, to Central Kalimantan and then they developed a project in the province. But this is quite different. It includes a process about making the government and other stakeholders ready for the implementation of REDD. This process will be an opportunity, but is also challenging in improving governance in natural resources, and can be developed as a starting point in handling problems in natural resources management (such as: tenure conflicts, finalisation of the spatial plan, forest restoration and so on).
Avi Mahaningtyas: It’s also putting on the table sensitive issues like clarity of tenure and indigenous peoples’ rights, that haven’t been discussed in public before. It involves questioning the definition of forests. It involves questioning the definition of peatland. It questions how boundaries should be made. It questions the jurisdiction of law and law enforcement.
REDD-Monitor: Kemitraan was involved in organising the Governors Climate and Forest Task Force meetings in Aceh (2010) and Kalimantan (2011). Please explain Kemitraan’s role in these meetings.
Avi Mahaningtyas: Kemitraan was involved in Kalimantan as convenor, not in Aceh. My role is the national co-ordinator for the GCF Indonesia. There are two national co-ordinators. One here and Mariana Pavan in Brazil. Two among the 16 provinces and states. There was an annual meeting in Aceh and in Santarém [Brazil] and then Kalteng [Central Kalimantan]. Those are annual meetings. There are also two technical meetings every year, where they discuss specific themes such as baselines, FPIC, benefit sharing and so on. The annual meetings are usually attended by 200 or more people. The technical meetings are smaller and different actors are involved.
REDD-Monitor: There’s been quite a lot of criticism of the Governors Climate and Forests Task Force. What’s your response to these criticisms, specifically that communities were not included and that the GCF is pro-carbon trading, meaning that emissions in California will be allowed to continue.
Avi Mahaningtyas: The GCF has shifted because the government of California is bankrupt. There will be no market until perhaps 2014. Whether the carbon trade is going to happen or not what would be important is that transparency has to be there. The GCF itself commits to transparency. So in Rio there will be a launch of a database of each of the provinces involved, the forest area, what carbon credits – if there are any, and all of the basic data.
GCF plans to expand its membership so that direct sub-national to sub-national can happen. For example, if a province in Europe wants to do planting, research or sustainable energy based on forests, that can be done.
Last year there was a meeting in Aceh with the mukims talking about free, prior and informed consent. With the elections in Aceh, there could be a new governor. We don’t know what’s going to happen.
Nothing is happening in terms of money being moved for buying carbon credits at the moment. There is no money, basically. I’m not sure if carbon trading is the way that the GCF will be enacted, at the moment. But we’re meeting in Chiapas, Mexico later this year and will be discussing this.
REDD-Monitor: What role did Kemitraan play in the consultation and discussions about Indonesia’s draft REDD+ national strategy?
Avi Mahaningtyas: The national strategy was consulted at regional level, at national level and to some degree at international level. Through public disclosure and the internet, people can give their feedback. About 70 inputs to the documents were incorporated. The national strategy on REDD+ right now is in the final draft stage, waiting for a Presidential Decree to endorse it as a national document.
REDD-Monitor: Was Kemitraan involved in setting up the consultations for this process?
Joko Waluyo: Kemitraan is involved in convening and organising regional consultations for Kalimantan and that was done in Central Kalimantan. And at the national level as well. We were involved in facilitating groups so that they can convene together. What is important for Kemitraan is to make sure that all of the stakeholders, the pro and cons, can have the space to talk together. That’s what our role is.
Avi Mahaningtyas: In addition to that, my role now is advisor for the national task force on stakeholders and communication engagement. We now have to make sure that the national strategy is communicated to the provinces, the strategy and action plan for the nine provinces [Aceh, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Papua and West Papua].
Joko Waluyo: We help the team for the national strategy to go to each of these provinces. It’s six right now. The three where we haven’t yet convened a workshop are Aceh, Central Kalimantan and Riau. This process is for the province to develop their strategy and action plan for REDD at provincial level. That has to be based on what the national strategy is saying.
Kemitraan’s main concern is to make sure that all voices are heard and that many stakeholders are involved. We see this as the biggest challenge, which is to reach out and help people engage with the process.
Linked to what Avi said before, about Kemitraan not having a position, it’s necessary for us so that we can link with everyone. Because if we had a position, then most likely we would only get people that agree with our position.
The challenges in the future, whatever the scenario will be agreed by the government and all of these people, but the main challenge is to change the paradigm and translate it into behaviour. And because of that it is very important to engage everyone in this discussion or development of the scenario that REDD is going into. That can be a possibility to afford changes. Because, as an activist myself, I think that this country has to change. It’s probably not through REDD, but through every opportunity, to translate this change of paradigm that people can actually take actions based on those changes.
REDD-Monitor: What is Kemitraan’s opinion on the outcomes of REDD from the international UN discussions in Cancún and Durban?
Avi Mahaningtyas: I think it’s important. But to be honest I think a lot of people don’t understand what safeguards are. What is important is that people know about this. Safeguards must be on a rights basis and it is important to ensure that risks are well mitigated and managed, but then safeguards don’t actually have any legal power. It is a procedure that needs to be shared so that everyone can participate and share responsibility with project owners. If the Durban Platform is going to be implemented, these safeguards have to be included. It’s great that people are talking about safeguards, but whether the people who are impacted by REDD are actually sitting and talking about these safeguards is another question.
I think the Durban Platform could be stronger, given the fact that we’ve been through 17 COPs, I’m questioning as a promoter of good governance, I don’t think that that’s the best that the world leaders can achieve. It doesn’t say specific things that make me hopeful.
Indonesia has come up with exact numbers, 26%, 41% from business as usual against 2005. In the provinces, people are asking where these numbers came from. But there is a number, let’s go with that. But can it be achieved through Cancún, Durban or Doha, the next one? I’m sorry I cannot have much faith in the international process although I understand that it’s very important to lay fundamental architecture to address climate change. The change will happen locally.
REDD-Monitor: Was Kemitraan in Durban? What is Kemitraan’s role in these UN level climate negotiations?
Avi Mahaningtyas: I was in Durban. Kemitraan doesn’t have a specific role such as negotiator. Sometimes we are part of the delegation, sometimes we are an NGO, depending on access for accreditation that we can manage to get.
In Durban, we facilitated the presentation by the Governor of Central Kalimantan and their task force about what is going on in the field and their view of REDD. We participated in Forest Day and we were there to trade ideas. But not in the main negotiations. We gave inputs on documents to negotiators, but we’re not in a formal position as a negotiator.
Hasbi Berliani: In Bali we were not part of the government delegation, but participated as a representative of civil society. We organised a side event with the CSO groups to talk about the results of regional consultations with stakeholders. And then we took the message to the Indonesian delegation.
In Bali, the main message raised in the consultation with the CSO groups was how to include the positions of local communities and indigenous peoples in the concepts of the government of Indonesia. And this was explained to the delegates. Then we got the positions of the community and indigenous peoples into the visions of the concept papers on REDD from the government.
REDD-Monitor: Over the past few years there’s been a lot of discussion and a lot of activity on REDD in Indonesia. There are about 40 pilot projects. The president has publicly said very clearly that he’s in favour of REDD. On the other hand, there’s still very high deforestation, still expansions of oil palm plantation, pulpwood plantation and mining concessions. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about REDD in Indonesia?
Avi Mahaningtyas: I am optimistic, if there is a political reform to go with the bureaucracy reform. Without that I don’t think that any of what they hope for will happen.
Joko Waluyo: We have to be optimistic. We are optimistic, despite the fact that things are going on. It’s not easy. But there are hopes and hopeful leaders and champions that are willing and we have to support those leaders and champions and facilitate their work. It’s a big country. It’s a question of who you work with.
Hasbi Berliani: I am also optimistic, but still there are worries about leadership at national, provincial and district level. At national level, there is a challenge in that there is a high national target for acceleration of economic development and infrastructure through the programme called as MP3EI [Masterplan Percepatan dan Perluasan Pembangunan Ekonomi Indonesia – Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development]. That can disturb the commitment and target for the reduction of emissions from deforestation in Indonesia.
There is gap of commitments between the national, provincial and district level. Although there is a commitment from the president, at the district and provincial level they have more interest in cutting the forest for mining or palm oil plantations. I think it’s quite difficult and challenging.
Avi Mahaningtyas: REDD is challenging, but we’re optimists.
This interview is the fifth in a series of interviews with key REDD actors in Indonesia. REDD-Monitor gratefully acknowledges funding from ICCO for this project.