National Policy and Legal Framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Implementation in Indonesia

National Policy and Legal Framework for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Implementation in Indonesia

Published: 2021.09.24
Accepted: 2021.09.24
10
College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan
Assistant Professor
Department of Law,National Chung Hsing University
Indonesian Center for Agriculture Socio Economic and Policy Studies

ABSTRACT

REDD+ is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (plus: role of conservation, sustainable management of forest carbon stocks in developing countries). REDD+ are measures designed to use financial incentives to reduce emissions from greenhouse gases, deforestation and forest degradation. REDD+ is a global mechanism that provides a unique opportunity for developing countries like Indonesia, which has large forest areas and faces the threat of deforestation. This article aims at discussing the national legal framework for REDD+ implementation in Indonesia. The rationale of REDD+ in Indonesia encompasses three dimensions, namely milestones, phases and targets, and objectives and goals. The legal basis for REDD+ implementation is following international policies and the hierarchy of legislation in Indonesia, considering its various problems. Implementing REDD+ in Indonesia can motivate the country's commitment to reducing emissions, accelerating initiatives at the sub-national level through multilateral financing channels. Only certain parties are excluded from REDD+ implementation; still, sustainable synergy among relevant stakeholders requires removing individual and sectoral ego by substituting with the common interests. Society should be more involved through a bottom-up approach in decision-making processes and efforts to bring about social and economic benefits, including distributing incentives and guarantees related to REDD+ implementation. It should be evaluated in terms of the extent of reducing carbon emissions and, concerning its magnitude, has laid the groundwork for future developments. Subsequently, the implementation of REDD+ would be successful if there were a common and consistent political commitment among Indonesia's central, provincial, and regency/city governments. It is required to streamline REDD+ into Regional Medium-Term Development Plan regarding Regional Autonomy Law where the government and development authorities are well distributed at the country's central, provincial, and regency/city levels.

Keywords: REDD+, policy, legal basis, framework, implementation, Indonesia

INTRODUCTION

Background

The impact of climate change has become a global concern, including Indonesia. As an archipelagic country with various natural resources and high diversity, Indonesia has great potential to be affected by the negative impacts of climate change. At the same time, it has excellent potential to mitigate and adapt to the negative impacts of the world’s climate change. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+)[1] has become a priority project for Indonesia since deforestation and forest degradation spread rapidly nationwide. As a result, the Government of Indonesia (GoI) has resolved that more than 80% of emission reductions can be achieved through forestry and peatland management.

An extended period after initial discussions on the idea of REDD in the Kyoto Protocol on 11 December 1997 followed by creating the REDD+ through international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2013 and the series of subsequent discussions, the REDD+ program has been implemented all over the world, particularly in 65 countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Indonesia has implemented the REDD+ based on the ratified Paris Agreement by Act Number 16/2016 and submitted the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) document to the UNFCCC Secretariat. This ratification, particularly concerning Article 5, recognizes the role of forests and REDD+ in the country (MoEF, 2018a).

As a policy approach, REDD+ is strategically implemented in Indonesia for three reasons (Maryani et al., 2012). First, the country is the world's third-largest forest area after the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil. Second, the forest serves as carbon stock and forestry activities as an emission source arising from the conversion of forestland into non-forestry uses and forest fires. Indonesia is a significant player, contributing one-third of all global emissions, and is the largest emitter in the world. Accordingly, reducing emissions from this country will have potential impacts to reduce emissions at the global level. Third, the forests are the home for communities such as aborigines and contribute to the national economy. Hence, it is interesting to discuss the progress of policy and implementation of the REDD+ program in Indonesia.

Objective

The objective of this article is to discuss the legal policy framework for REDD+ implementation in Indonesia. The discussion is divided into the following sections: rationale REDD+, the legal basis for REDD+, implementation of REDD+, conclusion, and recommendations.

RATIONALE OF REDD+

The rationale of REDD+ in Indonesia encompasses three dimensions: milestones of REDD+, phases and targets of REDD+, and objectives and goals of REDD+ (MoEF. 2017e).  The milestones of REDD+ started from 2005 (reduction emission) up to 2016 (ratification of Paris Agreement), followed by phases and targets of REDD+ which comprise of policies, technology, system, monitoring, budget, portfolio, and cooperation, as well as the objectives and goals of REDD+.   

Milestones of REDD+

Chronologically, Indonesia's REDD+ is anchored in certain substantial milestones. They are:

  1. 2005: Agreement on reducing emission from Deforestation at the Agenda Conference of Parties 11 of UNFCCC in Montreal;
  2. 2007: (a) Establishing Indonesia Forest Climate Alliance (IFCA); and (b) Conference of Parties 13 of UNFCCC in Bali (transformation of REDD to REDD+);
  3. 2009: Announcing the Indonesian governments to reduce emissions by 26-41% (in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania);
  4. 2010: (a) UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Cancun; (b) Introduction to basic REDD+ guidelines; (c); Signing a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the Norway government; and (d) Establishing the institutional REDD+ task force through Presidential Decree Number 19/2010 (GoI, 2010);
  5. 2011: (a) Presidential Decree Number 61/2011 (GoI, 2011) concerning the Draft Action for Reducing Greenhouse Gases, where 88% of the coverage activities is related to REDD+; and (b) Finalizing the development of a national strategy for REDD+ implementation in Indonesia;
  6. 2013: Establishment of a REDD+ management body;
  7. 2015: (a) Paris Agreement (Article 6: REDD+ as Result Based Payment); (b) National Determined Contribution (NDC) submission, namely 26% emission reduction independently and/or 41% with international support; and (c) Presidential Decree Number 61/2015 concerning Indonesia’s REDD+ program merges under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF); and
  8. 2016: Ratification of Paris Agreement based on Law Number 16/2016 (GoI, 2016a).

Phase and target of REDD+

REDD+ is a means/tool ​​to achieve equitable and sustainable development goals, in which emission reduction must be in line with the goal of green development that can prosper the community and maintain biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The phase and target of REDD+ in Indonesia consist of: (1) Preparation (the establishment of a REDD+ management body); (2) Transformation (being ready institutionally and operationally in the emission reduction verification); and (3) Contribution to verified emission reductions (realizing a national mechanism to reduce emission levels). Four aspects support those. First, Policy/Regulation: preparation of Environment and Forestry regulations on implementing procedures for REDD+. Second, Technology, System, and Monitoring: preparation of Indonesia’s REDD+ Measuring, Reporting, and Verifying (MRV) system, Indonesia’s forest reference emission levels, REDD+ international safeguard system, and national registration system for climate change control. Third, Development of a REDD+ Funding System: issuing government regulations on environmental, economic instruments, and environmental funding management institutions. Fourth, Portfolio of REDD+ Investment: prepared portfolio investment/funding for REDD+.

The four aspects as mentioned above are addressed towards green growth development, namely reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; low carbon growth; economic growth; equitable growth; social development and poverty reduction; solid communities and habitats; biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services; value natural capital; ecosystem resilience; also, climate adaptation and mitigation. Thus, there is a need for international cooperation in terms of: (1) Bilateral/multilateral cooperation/Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other development partners through various demonstration activities (2005-present); (2) Republic of Indonesia-Commonwealth of Australia Forest Carbon Partnership as well as Kalimantan Forest and Climate Partnership (IAFCP and KFCP); (3) UN-REDD+ Programme (2010-2012); (4) Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) Readiness Programme (2009-present); (5) Republic of Indonesia-Kingdom of Norway Cooperation (2010-present); (6) Forest Investment Program/FIP (2012-present); (7) FCPF Carbon Fund (2014-present); and (8) FCPF Bio-carbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscape/BioCF ISFL (2016-present).

Objective and Goal of REDD+

The objective of REDD+ is to achieve low emissions and climate resilience development through negotiations at the international level to build a strong concept at the center but focus on the ground level by involving the community. Deforestation and forest degradation represent up to 20% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions, more than the entire global transport sector (which accounts for 13%). It is consequently required three-step, namely: (1) Cross-sectoral approach considering that the implementation of REDD+ is multi-sectoral (the approach must be interdisciplinary); (2) Multi-stakeholder enhancement is essential so that the implementation of REDD+ reaches people at all levels; and (3) Comprehensive data integration and information governance are necessary for effective implementation of REDD+. Furthermore, Figure 1 illustrates the existing forest conditions and the goals of REDD+ and institutional support.

Indonesia has committed to reducing emissions through various negotiations at the international level to prevent an increase in the earth's temperature, which exacerbates the negative impacts of current climate change. The country has also carried out essential things in the phases of preparation and transition and is currently approaching the complete implementation phase of REDD+. Several architectural and infrastructure tools have been developed, and others are under development. The instruments include the National REDD+ Strategy, Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL), Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MRV), National Forest Monitoring System, Funding Instrument, Information System for REDD+ Safeguards Implementation (SIS) and progress at the provincial level, as well as other related initiatives (demonstration activity/project level by private sector, and local community initiatives).

LEGAL BASIS FOR REDD+

International legal basis

Following international policies, the implementation of REDD+ projects depends on national implementation and requires countries to consider various problems individually. For REDD+ initiatives and managing the financial flows associated with them, each country needs to design a suitable policy framework that needs to be supported by a solid legal and institutional structure (UN-REDD Programme, 2016b).

The decision mandated on Conference of Parties (COP) in 2010 states the five forest-related activities identified under REDD+ (UN-REDD Programme, 2016b). They are: (1) Reducing emissions from deforestation; (2) Reducing emissions from forest degradation; (3) Conserving forest carbon stocks; (4) Sustaining management of forests; and (5) Enhancing forest carbon stocks. The five REDD+ activities should be implemented in three REDD+ phases, namely:

  1. Development of national strategies or action plans, policies and measures, and capacity building;
  2. Implementation of national policies and measures and national strategies or action plans that could involve further capacity building, technology development and transfer as well as results-based demonstration activities; and
  3. Evolution of all the REDD + activities into results-based actions that should be fully measured, reported and verified.

The critical elements for REDD + through international legal framework require: (1) National REDD+ management; (2)    Financing; (3) Safety framework; (4) National forest monitoring system; and (5) Rate (emission) reference. These were underlined based on the decision of the Cancun Agreement (IISD, 2010) that requests all developing countries aim at undertaking REDD+ to develop the following elements:

  1. A national strategy or action plan;
  2. A national forest reference emission level and/or forest reference level; if appropriate, as an interim measure, subnational forest reference emission levels and/or forest reference levels;
  3. A robust and transparent national forest monitoring system on REDD+ activities with appropriate sub-national monitoring and reporting as an interim measure; and
  4. A system for providing social and environmental safeguards is being addressed and prioritized throughout the REDD+ implementation.

National legal basis

Indonesia's hierarchy or order of legislation refers to Article 7 paragraph (1) of Law Number 12/2011 on the Establishment of Legislation. Its Amendments is the first place and the most vital legal position (GoI, 2011). It consists of: (1) Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia 1945; (2) Resolutions of the People’s Consultative Assembly; (3) Government Law/Regulation(s) substituting for Laws; (4) Government Regulations; (5) Presidential Regulations; (6) Provincial Regulations; and (7)      Regency/City Regulations.

Concerning the REDD+ program, Table 1 presents a list of legal policy frameworks related to each other and follow a hierarchy. REDD+ project guidelines in Indonesia are regulated in Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry Number 70/2017 concerning Procedures for Implementing Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forest, and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks (MoEF, 2017).

The critical elements for REDD+ through the domestic legal framework are based on the domestic governance system of Indonesia (Denier et al., 2014). It includes (1) Horizontal and vertical coordination on anti-corruption; (2) Action land ownership rights; (3) Gender equality: (4) Society participation; (5) Information access; (6) Access to justice; (7) Carbon rights; (8) Benefit distribution system; and (9) Legal consistency and sectoral policies.

The national strategy for REDD+ in Indonesia comprises four basic principles (MoEF, 2018a). They are:

  1. Inclusiveness: the formulation of the REDD+ national strategy involves stakeholders who will either implement the policies or be affected directly and indirectly.
  2. Transparency: the process adheres to values of openness, honesty, and clarity – the public can access information concerning the stages of implementation and monitor the development of policy formulation.
  3. Credibility: the development of the REDD+ national strategy is managed by reputable institutions or individuals and is conducted with inclusive, transparent, and reliable approaches.
  4. Institutionalization: the development of REDD+ national strategy is conducted through approaches that are directed to the institutionalization of ideas, knowledge, values, legal foundations, resources, structure, and organizational mechanism, which describe the six fundamental aspects (order, autonomy, adaptability, comprehensiveness, coherence, and functionality).

IMPLEMENTATION OF REDD+ IN INDONESIA

Indonesia has natural forest areas of about 113.2 million hectares in 1990 and declines to 94.1 million hectares in 2020 (MoEF, 2020a). The significant emissions from the forestry sector and efforts to reduce impacts of deforestation and forest degradation are critical to this country. As a result, REDD+ can be assigned as a policy approach to reducing emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation along with conservation implementation, carbon stock enhancement, and sustainable forest management. 

The implementing entity for REDD+ in Indonesia is the national government, particularly the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. It is regulated in the Minister Regulation Number 70/2017 (MoEF, 2017a), which specifically aims to support the legal achievement of:

  1. Implementation of REDD+ following the requirements of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC-COP) Decision on REDD+ and consistent with national policy; and
  2. Implementation of REDD+ in full result-based payment to support Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) implementation targets in the forestry sector.

Substantially, the implementation of REDD+ in Indonesia shall be united from the Indonesia Forestry Law Number 41/1999 (GoI, 1999) which divides forest areas according to the following functions:

  1. Production forest: a forest with the primary function of producing forest products;
  2. Protection forest: a forest with the primary function of protecting life support systems to regulate water, prevent flooding, control erosion, prevent seawater intrusion, and maintain soil fertility; and
  3. Conservation forest: a forest with specific characteristics and the primary function of conserving plant and wildlife biodiversity and ecosystems. Production forest is categorized further into permanent production forest (the whole area is allocated to forest products), limited production forest (only part of the area is allocated to forest products), and convertible production forest (reserved for other land uses).

Based on the functions mentioned above, Indonesia defines 'deforestation' as a permanent change from a forested to a non-forested area caused by human activity. It also defines ‘degradation’ as reducing the quantity of forest cover and carbon stock over a certain period caused by human activity (MoF, 2009).

The implementation of REDD+ was based on a road map designed by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Figure 1). This road map aims to generate recommendations to the Government of Indonesia (GoI) for clear actions on achieving REDD+ readiness. It comprises development steps including institution, policy, methodology, and governance at national and sub-national levels. Based on this, it is expected that the Government of Indonesia may request any bilateral and multilateral collaborations to achieve the milestones of the road map.

It can be underlined that the road map involves: (1) Development of national strategy or action plans, policies and measures, and capacity building (phase 1); (2) Implementation of national policies and measures, and national strategies or action plans that could involve further capacity building, technology development, and transfer and result based demonstration activities (phase 2): and (3) Evolving into result-based actions that should be fully measured, reported and verified (phase 3). Based on this road map, Indonesia is currently within the phase of the complete implementation phase, in which all activities, including planning, methodology, policies, and pilot projects, are in place.

Opportunities

REDD+ has two essential dimensions: the vertical and horizontal dimensions (Angkawidjaja, 2020). The former refers to the overall idea to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration. At the same time, the latter is related to the scopes of various local, sub-national, national, and global actions to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increase forest carbon stocks in several developing countries. On the one hand, it is simply to quantify the value of carbon stored in forests and offer incentives for developing countries to reduce forest land emissions by investing in low-carbon pathways for sustainable development. On the other hand, developed countries pay developing countries to reduce the rate of deforestation, forest degradation, and burning of peatlands which can increase greenhouse gas emissions. Then the fee is rewarded with a certificate that can give countries the green light to produce greenhouse gas emissions.

As previously discussed, Indonesia has committed to reducing emissions through various negotiations at the international level. One of the prominent international negotiations is a cooperation between the Government of Indonesia and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway to officially work together in protecting the remaining natural forest in Indonesia through reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (MoEF, 2020b). In this cooperation, the Government of the Kingdom of Norway provides an incentive payment[2] to the Government of Indonesia based on the performance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation. This cooperation consists of three incentive payment phases (Ditjen PPI, 2021), namely: (1) the incentive payment will be used to finalize Indonesia's forestry and climate strategy and lay the groundwork for supporting policies and institutional reforms (phase 1); (2) the incentive payment aims to generate Indonesia ready to contribute to verified emission reductions and at the same time take the initiative to undertake mitigation on a larger scale through pilot projects at the provincial level (phase 2); and (3) the incentive payment Indonesia is expected to be able to implement a nationally verified emission reduction mechanism.

At least, there are five essential opportunities related to REDD+ incentive payment for Indonesia to reduce gas emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation (Seymour, 2019). First, the REDD+ incentive payment would undoubtedly increase the opportunities of Indonesia's commitment to reduce the emission by about 41% with international support. Second, the REDD+ incentive payment can be an essential source of Indonesia's motivation to improve emission reduction efforts further. Third, the fulfilment of incentive payments can push the REDD+ agenda in Indonesia. Fourth, the bilateral agreement between Indonesia and Norway can accelerate REDD+ initiatives at the sub-national level through multilateral financing channels. Fifth, REDD+ will drive the completion of international efforts for Indonesia to avoid deforestation toward reducing emission-based-reward.   

Challenges

The implantation of REDD+ has some challenges in line with reducing emissions in Indonesia. First, the existence of policies and regulations on socio-economic development is characterized by many forest-related stakeholders. The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry has received significant pressure to allocate forest areas to mining activities and oil palm plantations (Ekawati et al., 2019). Second, there is still no significant support base for conservation among the more expansive bureaucracy and little awareness of the issue among the general Indonesian public, while protecting forest merely incapable of surmounted at the level of a project (Shibao, 2015 Evans, 2019). Moreover, the REDD+'s objective of reducing emissions through suppressing forest degradation and deforestation was imperfectly achieved due to the failure interaction between the street-level bureaucrats and the target group (Lestari, 2019).

The presence of challenges of REDD+ implementation in Indonesia was related to economic development. Therefore, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF, 2018) sets inclusion of other REDD+ activities (conservation of forest carbon, sustainable forest management, and carbon stock enhancement) and carbon pools require technical assistance to identify, evaluate and develop relevant methods for measurement and monitoring. Hence, capacity building for sub-national level related to law enforcement, addressing leakage, institutional arrangement, including data management and data protocol are crucial for the success of REDD+ implementation. It is reasonable since Indonesia implements an autonomy policy in each regency and city all over the country.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Fundamentally, Policy Legal Framework for REDD+ Implementation in Indonesia aims to manage natural resources sustainably as a national asset for the nation's welfare.  The development of REDD+ can be delineated as an experiment in bringing together carbon abatement, equity development, and biodiversity protection in the country. The scheme of REDD+ provides broad benefits for communities, industry, environmental conservationists, and others since the applied practices will continue to provide access to economic development toward poverty alleviation through sustainable forest management.

The REDD+ scheme is in the form of positive incentives based on performance to which it contributes proportionally according to the successfully reduced emission level. The individual and sectoral ego must be substituted for common interests. Even though the REDD+ is an option and not an obligation for the community, it principally emphasizes the maximum benefit to society and environmental improvement. Hence, society should be more involved in decision-making processes and efforts to bring social and economic benefits, including distributing incentives and guarantees related to REDD+ implementation. In other words, it is required to generate a bottom-up approach towards effecting policy implementation. As a result, it should be evaluated not only in terms of the extent of reducing carbon emissions but also concerning the magnitude of it has laid the groundwork for future developments.

Above all, the implementation of REDD+ would be successful if there were a common and consistent political commitment between Indonesia's central, provincial, and regency/city governments. Regarding Regional Autonomy Law, where government and development authorities are well distributed at the central, provincial, and regency/city levels, there is a need to streamline REDD+ into Regional Medium-Term Development Plan.

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UN-REDD Programme. 2016a. Key Decisions Relevant for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD+). UNFCCC Secretariat. Geneva.

UN-REDD Programme. 2016b. Towards A Common Understanding of REDD+ Under the UNFCCC: A UN-REDD Programme Document to Foster A Common Approach of REDD+ Implementation. UNFCCC Secretariat. Geneva.


[1]REDD+ is a United Nations-backed framework that aims to curb climate change by stopping the destruction of forests. REDD stands for "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation." The symbol of “+” signifies the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (UN-REDD Programme, 2016a)

[2] The incentive payment is based on a Letter of Intent (LoI) between Indonesia and Norway by calculating the forest emission estimation based-official deforestation data from the Government of Indonesia. It was noted that the Government of the Kingdom of Norway previously paid for the 4.8 million tons of CO2 emissions at an average value of US$ 5 per ton agreed in the previous REDD+ transaction with other counties (Seymour, 2019). Indonesia is set to receive US$ 56.15 million from Norway, the first payment based on the results of the Southeast Asian country’s efforts to preserve its vast tropical rainforests to curb carbon dioxide emissions (Nicholas, 2020).

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