REDD actors in Indonesia:‭ Ten interviews

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REDD actors in Indonesia:‭ Ten interviews

‬Over the past few weeks,‭ ‬REDD-Monitor has posted a series of interviews with ten organisations involved in REDD in Indonesia.‭ ‬This post is a brief overview with some of the highlights from the interviews.

First a note about the interview process. The purpose of the interviews was not to catch people out, but to establish the organisation’s position on key issues in the REDD debate. The questions were sent in advance of the interview. Nine interviews were recorded (only the World Bank wanted to reply by email). REDD-Monitor transcribed the interviews and allowed the interviewees to re-write, edit and add to the text. Several of them passed the draft interviews to colleagues for further comments and some to their organisation’s communications department. The interviews were only posted on REDD-Monitor when they were approved by the interviewee(s).

Interview with the World Bank in Indonesia: “REDD+ has opened a space for increased dialogue on difficult forest sector policy and tenure issues”

Interview with the World Bank in Indonesia

The World Bank is involved in REDD in Indonesia through the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility,‭ ‬the Forest Investment Program,‭ ‬the Global Environment Facility and the International Finance Corporation’s Sustainable Forestry Program.‭ ‬Shortly after the interview,‭ ‬Indonesia produced a Draft Forest Investment Plan‭‬.

The World Bank does not apply the principle of free,‭ ‬prior and informed consent,‭ ‬instead following the Bank’s policy on Indigenous Peoples which requires‭ ‬free,‭ ‬prior,‭ ‬and informed consultation.‭ ‬The Bank pointed out that this is in line with the UNFCCC position on FPIC:‭ ‬“The Cancun negotiators chose to take note of the Declaration,‭ ‬but not to include‭ ‘‬free prior and informed consent,‭’ ‬which does not yet have a universally accepted definition.‭” That’s quite an extraordinary statement given the amount of work that has been done on FPIC.

The World Bank is very much in favour of carbon trading as a way of financing REDD,‭ ‬with‭ ‬200‭ ‬staff working on carbon markets at the Bank‭ (‬at a time when other banks are laying off staff from their carbon trading departments‭)‬.

The World Bank has had a long history of involvement in the forests of Indonesia,‭ ‬including a total of US$560‭ ‬million for the Transmigration Programme,‭ ‬which led to large areas of forest being cleared and on-going social problems.‭ ‬Perhaps predictably,‭ ‬the Bank didn’t mention this in the interview.

Interview with Teguh Surya, WALHI: “We are against REDD. We are against carbon trading”

Interview with Teguh Surya, WALHI

WALHI‭ (‬Friends of the Earth Indonesia‭) ‬is extremely critical of the way REDD is being implemented in Indonesia and elsewhere.‭ In the interview, Teguh Surya of ‬WALHI pointed out that the definition of forests fails to discriminate between forests and industrial plantations.‭ ‬REDD fails to address over-consumption,‭ ‬which is one of the key drivers of deforestation.‭ ‬Unless over-consumption is addressed,‭ ‬leakage will always be a problem:‭ “‬As long as the demand for raw material continues the destruction will continue,‭” ‬Teguh said‭ ‬in the interview.‭ ‬The question of carbon rights is still unresolved in Indonesia,‭ ‬which is of concern,‭ ‬given that Indigenous Peoples‭’ ‬rights are not strongly recognised in Indonesian law.

WALHI considers free,‭ ‬prior and informed consent to be crucially important in REDD.‭ This means that communities have the right to say either yes or no to REDD projects on their land.

WALHI is opposed to carbon trading,‭ ‬for the simple reason that it does not reduce emissions.

WALHI has focussed much of its criticism on the Australia-funded Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership‭ (‬KFCP‭)‬,‭ ‬because it is one of the most advanced REDD projects in Indonesia.‭ ‬While the project developers continue to claim that the project is a success,‭ ‬WALHI’s work with local communities demonstrates the clear problems that the project is causing.

Interview with Chip Fay and Steve Rhee, Climate Land Use Alliance: “It’s about land use rationalisation based on the recognition of rights of local communities”

Interview with Chip Fay and Steve Rhee, Climate Land Use Alliance

CLUA is‭ ‬an alliance of four US-based philanthropic institutions:‭ ‬Ford Foundation,‭ ‬Moore Foundation,‭ ‬Climate Works Foundation and Packard Foundation.‭ ‬In the interview CLUA explained that it focusses its funding on four areas:‭ ‬low carbon development planning‭; ‬increasing understanding or‭ “‬climate literacy‭”; ‬community rights‭; ‬and demand side,‭ ‬looking at supply chains of commodities like palm oil and paper.‭

CLUA argues that it is funding issues related to REDD,‭ ‬but not directly REDD.‭ ‬In the interview,‭ ‬Steve Rhee said,‭ “‬nothing in our strategy explicitly mentions REDD‭”‬.‭ ‬However, in‭ ‬2010‭ ‬CLUA gave a total of US$1.3‭ ‬million to McKinsey a large part of which was‭ ‬“‬to support the National Council on Climate Change and the REDD+‭ ‬Task Force on design and implementation of elements of the Letter of Intent between Indonesia and Norway‭”.[1]

In the interview,‭ ‬CLUA explained that its funding is aimed at supporting natural resource management by local communities that have little recognition of their rights over their land.‭ ‬CLUA also supports‭ ‬free,‭ ‬prior and informed consent‭ (‬for example through this report‭)‬.

CLUA does not have an organisational position on carbon trading.‭ ‬It did, however, fund The Munden Project’s critical report on REDD and carbon trading‭.

Interview with Tejo Pramono, La Via Campesina, and Elisha Kartini, SPI: “REDD is just a project that the industrial countries use to try to keep their economic benefits”

Interview with Tejo Pramono, La Via Campesina, and Elisha Kartini, SPI

La Via Campesina is one of the largest small-scale farmers‭’ ‬organisations in the world.‭ ‬It represents about‭ ‬200‭ ‬million small-scale farmers.‭ ‬SPI is the Indonesian Peasants Union and is a member of La Via Campesina.

La Via Campasina takes a‭ “‬No REDD‭” ‬position.‭ ‬It also opposes carbon trading.‭ ‬La Via Campesina takes a cynical view of free,‭ ‬prior and informed consent,‭ ‬arguing that as REDD potentially involves payments to poor farmers,‭ ‬they will inevitably agree.

In‭ ‬2008,‭ ‬La Via Campesina brought a farmer from the Harapan project in Jambi province,‭ ‬Sumatra,‭ ‬to the UNFCCC meeting in Poznan,‭ ‬where he explained the problems that project is causing for farmers.‭

La Via Campesina’s position on REDD is based on two issues:‭ ‬First the fact that any carbon trading mechanism will not address climate change because it allows pollution to continue in the North‭; ‬and second the impact that REDD has on farmers‭’ ‬livelihoods.

Interview with Hasbi Berliani, Joko Waluyo and Avi Mahaningtyas, Kemitraan: “REDD is challenging, but we’re optimists”

Interview with Hasbi Berliani, Joko Waluyo and Avi Mahaningtyas, Kemitraan

Kemitraan is an NGO that grew out of a UNDP governance reform programme.‭ ‬While Kemitraan does not specifically work on REDD,‭ ‬it forms part of the work that the organisation’s‭ ‬environmental and economic governance cluster carries out.‭ ‬Kemitraan does not have a position on REDD but works as a facilitator and convenor. Similarly, Kemitraan does not have a position on carbon trading,‭ ‬but argues that as long as carbon trading complies with Kemitraan’s position on good governance,‭ ‬then the organisation can support it.

Kemitraan organised a series of regional consultations in Kalimantan about Indonesia’s draft REDD+‭ ‬national strategy.‭ ‬Avi Mahaningtyas is one of two national coordinators for the Governors Climate and Forest Task Force.

The three Kemitraan staff interviewed all expressed optimism about REDD in Indonesia,‭ ‬while acknowledging the challenges faced,‭ ‬including the Government’s Master Plan for Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development.

Interview with Bustar Maitar and Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace: “REDD is not answering the real problems of deforestation, yet”

Interview with Bustar Maitar and Yuyun Indradi, Greenpeace

Greenpeace supports REDD,‭ ‬with conditions.‭ “O‬ur key demand is not really REDD,‭ ‬it is to stop deforestation.‭ ‬We are proposing a moratorium as the solution for better forest management in Indonesia”, Bustar Maitar said in the interview.

Greenpeace does not support carbon trading because it “is not the solution for the climate”, Maitar said.

Greenpeace welcomed the signing of the Letter of Intent with Norway as a “political stepping stone”, but remains critical of the moratorium and other aspects of the way the Indonesia-Norway REDD deal is being implemented.

Greenpeace,‭ ‬along with the other members of the Common Platform,‭ ‬supports a moratorium that is performance-based rather than limited to two years.‭ ‬It should apply to all forests,‭ ‬not just primary forest and should include a review of existing concessions.

In the interview,‭ ‬Greenpeace discussed its campaigns against Golden-Agri Resources‭ (‬palm oil‭) ‬and Asia Pulp and Paper and the relevance of these campaigns to REDD.

Interview with Frances Seymour, CIFOR: “The Letter of Intent prompted a tectonic shift in the dialogue about forests”

Interview with Frances Seymour, CIFOR

‭When asked about CIFOR’s position on REDD, Frances Seymour replied, “CIFOR doesn’t take positions on anything.” However, she added that CIFOR is in favour of the objective of reducing deforestation – CIFOR is “in the business of improving forest management with a special focus on livelihoods and good process”, Seymour explained.

‎Similarly, CIFOR does not take a position on carbon trading (it’s interesting to note that when CIFOR re-posted parts of the interview on the CIFOR website, the question and answer about double counting and carbon trading was omitted).

Perhaps the most interesting parts of the interview were Seymour’s personal opinions about the influence of the REDD debate in Indonesia, based on her experience of working in the country. The Forests Indonesia conference, for example, (with around 1,000 attendees and a speech from the President) is unlikely to have happened in anything like the same form without REDD.

‎Lou Verchot’s response to REDD-Monitor’s question about safeguards and the fact that they are still so weak at the UNFCC level was also interesting: “In some ways it is understandable. Governments are making decisions about the standards to which they will hold themselves accountable.”

Interview with Bernadinus Steni, HuMa: “REDD should be a way of supporting and strengthening the tenure of local communities and indigenous peoples that manage forests sustainably”

Interview with Bernadinus Steni, HuMa

‭HuMa’s position on REDD is in support of local communities and indigenous peoples and opposed to REDD allowing continued greenhouse gas emissions through the generation of carbon credits.

‎HuMa is critical of carbon trading. HuMa’s view is that any REDD project must respect human rights and FPIC. “If the scheme of carbon trading is rejected by communities, it shouldn’t be forced. In general we have to be critical about any scheme that comes from outside and has the potential to adversely impact local communities and indigenous peoples, including carbon trading,” Bernadinus Steni explained.

‎HuMa is a member of the civil society Common Platform.

‎HuMa is critical of the moratorium implemented as part of the Indonesia-Norway REDD deal in that it should be performance based rather than limited to a period of two years. HuMa is also critical of the REDD+ National Strategy in so far as it is “just a policy” and what is important is whether it is implemented.

Interview with Frank Momberg, Fauna and Flora International: “A community forestry REDD+ programme rolled out nationwide would have a large influence on reducing deforestation and empowering local people”

Interview with Frank Momberg, Fauna and Flora International

FFI has several REDD-type projects in Indonesia. It was interesting to hear Frank Momberg describe the history of the Ulu Masen project (and his comment that “FFI has no relationship at all with Carbon Conservation at this stage”). After several years of project design, fund-raising and development no carbon credits have been sold from Ulu Masen.

As I commented during the interview, his descriptions of the complexities of setting up REDD projects in Indonesia is all a long way from the early descriptions of REDD about putting a price on the carbon stored in forests being a cheap and easy way of reducing deforestation (and addressing climate change).

FFI remains committed to the model of financing forest conservation through carbon trading in its other projects in Indonesia and Momberg commented that “in the long term a trading system can contribute towards financing a global REDD+ mechanism.”

However, Momberg’s frustration was clear towards the end of the interview: “I find it almost a disgrace that after five years we still have no carbon credit sales from Indonesia on the voluntary market.”

Interview with Budhi Sayoko, Laksmi Banowati and Rogier Klaver, UN-REDD Indonesia: “REDD+ is quite a promising thing to tackle deforestation”

Interview with Budhi Sayoko, Laksmi Banowati and Rogier Klaver, UN-REDD Indonesia

Before researching the questions for this interview, I was not aware that the UN-REDD programme in Indonesia is due to close down in June 2012.

UN-REDD’s pilot province is Central Sulawesi. I’m afraid I’m not really any the wiser about why UN-REDD chose Central Sulawesi, apart from the fact that some criteria were used, Central Sulawesi is not one of the nine REDD provinces in Indonesia and it has unique biodiversity.

UN-REDD’s website states that REDD will be a carbon trading mechanism. Budhi Sayoko’s response to REDD-Monitor’s question about the difficulties the carbon markets are facing amounted to little more than an acknowledgement that whether or not there is a price on carbon we need to conserve forests.

UN-REDD does use free, prior and informed consent and has developed guidelines on FPIC. (UN-REDD recently held a meeting in Bogor on FPIC. Unfortunately, the meeting was organised to coincide with the 4th Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago. Not the best timing.)


FOOTNOTES:

[1] CLUA has changed its website – when I wrote this post, the link was to CLUA’s grants in 2010. Since then, the website was updated to show 2011 grants. It currently shows a series of links to pdf files of which only the Brazil Grants document is available. The link from this post is to a screenshot of CLUA’s website taken on 7 February 2012.

REDD-Monitor gratefully acknowledges funding from ICCO for this project.

PHOTO Credit: Neil Franklin.

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