Will Indonesia's next president maintain its climate commitments?

14 May 2014

JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) ­– Indonesia’s widely publicised commitment to cut carbon emissions is likely to be maintained by its next president, an environmental law expert says, even as activists push for long-term protection for the country’s forests and greater recognition of the conservation efforts of forest people.

At the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent on its own by 2020, and by 41 percent with sufficient international help. The president is due to leave office after elections scheduled for July 9.

Despite initial criticism from Indonesian activists who felt that their government was offering too much in comparison to developed nations that failed to meet their commitments to cut emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, Indonesia’s goal was lauded by the international community and attracted support from developed nations through investments in REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programmes.

The most prominent support came in the form of a $1 billion REDD+ agreement between Indonesia and Norway in 2010 which included a moratorium on logging for two years, which came into effect in 2011. The emission cuts targets were made legally binding the same year through a Presidential Instruction, although in theory this could be rescinded by an incoming president.

Yudhoyono recently urged his successor to continue his administration’s commitment, which he said had shown positive results in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

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