Local Capacity Building to Enforce Indonesia’s Climate Change Policy
Olivia D. Purba
Indonesia is widely known as one of the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, yet the country is also vulnerable toward the impacts of climate change due to its geographical locations and geological conditions.
Taking opportunity from its unique state, Indonesia has been playing a successful role as the global leader on climate change issues. In 2007, Indonesia made a big success as the host of Conference of Party (COP) – 13 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali which resulting the most appreciated Bali Action Plan.
In 2009, the world was stupefied when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono pledged to reduce 26-41 percent of emission from business as usual by 2020. In this case, Indonesia was among the first developing countries to commit to the ambitious target.
Although leaving a decent image internationally, Indonesia still has plenty of homeworks when it comes to the implementation of the climate change policy. In order to keep playing a good card in the climate change international negotiation forums, Indonesia needs to successfully implement its domestic climate change policy.
Indonesia has been designing several policy frameworks on climate change issues, but not yet done a significant implementation. Indeed, the task becomes more difficult when considering that Indonesia also needs to maintain the 6.8 percent target of economic growth this year.
In order to balance the emission target and the economic growth, Indonesia is seeking to apply the Low Emission Development strategy (LEDs), a country-specific national strategy which promotes economic growth while reducing greenhouse gas emission trajectories through mitigation activities.
The implementation of LEDs could be done nationally by designing action plans in each of targeted sectors such as manufacture, transportation, energy, forestry, etc. It could also be carried out locally by exploring the potential of emission reduction from the main sources of economic income in each of the provinces.
So far, the government has already implemented the LEDs pilot project in three of most potential emission reduction provinces: East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan and Jambi.
From the study of LEDs pilot projects conducted by the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC), it is found that the core problem in implementing LEDs in Indonesia lies in the complexity of the bureaucracy system. Several government authorities such as the Environment Ministry, Forestry Ministry, President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4), National Development Planning Body (Bappenas) and NCCC have overlapping responsibilities in handling the issues.
As a result, instead of developing the strategy and action plans, the conflict of interests between these government agencies hinders the implementation of the climate change policy.
To respond to the situation, the central government has given the responsibility to the local authority to establish an independent body that manages the implementation of LEDs. Giving the responsibility to handle the LEDs activity to the local government is the most effective way to enforce the climate change policy since the vast decentralization in Indonesian government system makes the bulk of responsibility to deliver services lies mostly in the authority of the local government.
Nonetheless, the idea of establishing a new institution is not going to abruptly solve the whole implementation problem for the fact that many of the local officials are still blind on how they could demonstrate LEDs in their own area. Indeed, many of them lack basic knowledge about the climate change issues.
If the condition does not improve in the near future, both central and local government will rely heavily on the assistance of technical expertise that mostly comes from foreigners. In the long term, this condition could become the biggest stumbling block for the implementation process of the climate change policy nationally.
To improve the situation, Indonesia needs to build its local human resource capacity, especially to understand the whole frame of climate change issues. In this case, the capacity building should be emphasized on the local authority that comes from the main emission reduction target provinces.
In fact, the local capacity building is the key point in reaching the successfulness of LEDs demonstration in the provincial level for the fact that local authority is the one who understand the strength and weakness of their area. Their inherited knowledge about their area will ease the effort to find the LEDs potential and making priority based on analysis of impact and appropriateness. Thus, providing long term training for the local authority to broaden their knowledge on the climate change issues is of no doubt the best solution to enforce the domestic climate change policy.
Not only an emerging issue, the impacts of climate change play a significant role to Indonesia. The successfulness of implementing climate change policy domestically will not only bring a good credibility for Indonesia in the international forum, but it will also help Indonesia to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is the time for Indonesia to build more human resource capacity especially on the issue which is highly impactful to the nation.
Olivia D. Purba is a research assistant at the new School of Government and Public Policy in Jakarta.