Illegal logging ‘must end’ before REDD takes effect
The government should work out how to stamp out long-standing illegal logging within two years if the country wants to secure funding from carbon trading in the forestry sector, say environment activists.
They warned that failure to tackle illegal logging would also jeopardize the government’s pledge to implement the UN system of measurable, reportable and verifiable (MRV) scheme on emissions cuts.
“It will be difficult for Indonesia to claim the emission cuts if illegal logging persists after REDD takes effect after 2012,” Jatna Supriatna, director of International Conservation told reporters on the sidelines of an international conference on Muslim action against climate change on Friday.
The reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradations (REDD) schemes are expected to be an alternative to emission cuts from forestry, which contributes about 20 percent of global emissions.
Under the program, countries that protect their forests can receive financial incentives through carbon trading with rich nations.
Indonesia, the world’s third largest forested nation with 120 million hectares of forest, is a supporter of the REDD schemes, which are expected take effect after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2013.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made a promise to implement the MRV system during last year’s Copenhagen climate talks to ensure international communities that all emission cuts in Indonesia would be verifiable.
The government is currently debating how to implement MRV amid poor forestry data.
On Wednesday, the President ordered his taskforce to probe illegal logging and forestry corruption before a visit to Vietnam for an ASEAN summit to discuss climate change.
Jatna, who is also a lecturer at the University of Indonesia, welcomed Yudhoyono’s gesture but also warned the President against treating the issue as lip service for a political agenda. “The most important thing now is how to stop illegal logging within two years,” he said.
Executive director of the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) Berry Furqon agreed that tackling illegal logging should aim to protect the forest and not be used for political gain.
“We still doubt the effectiveness of action against illegal logging as long as the current gap between timber demands and production levels remains unresolved,” he said.
Indonesia has so far received funding from Australia and Norway to prepare for REDD in the field.
Indonesia secured an US$80 million grant from the Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) last month to be used to mitigate emissions from the forestry sector.
“The money will be used to ready the implementation of REDD schemes,” Ismet Hadad, chairman of the working group on financing at the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) said.
A list of five countries eligible to receive the grants, which included Indonesia, was announced at an MDB meeting in the Philippines.
Some 48 countries, including Brazil and Papua New Guinea, applied for the funds. Indonesia was the largest forest nation to win the funds.