Sunday, 30 May 2010

Norway fund requires ‘BRR-like agency’

Norway fund requires ‘BRR-like agency’

Aditya Suharmoko, The Jakarta Post, Oslo Sat, 05/29/2010

Indonesia will immediately set up an agency similar to the now-defunct Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) to oversee the US$1 billion fund to be provided by Norway to help reduce deforestation.

“It should be established before December,” former BRR head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, now chairman of the Presidential Working Unit for Development Supervision and Control, said Wednesday evening in Oslo.

Earlier that day, Indonesia and Norway signed a letter of intent (LOI) to reduce deforestation in Indonesia, where forests covering the equivalent of 300 soccer fields are eradicated every hour, according to Greenpeace.

The LOI includes three major points: capacity building in which Indonesia needs to set up an agency to monitor the reduction of deforestation; pilot projects in which Indonesia and Norway will choose what forests will receive top priority; and result assessment.
President Susilo Bambang Yu-dhoyono praised Norway for assisting Indonesia in reducing defores-tation.

“With Norway’s contribution of course we can do better and achieve better results. With this we can achieve what we are aiming for,” the President said after the signing of the grant.
Norway will fully disburse the grant only if the result comes as expected. “We pay for the results, it is quite simple,” said Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg during the signing.
Kuntoro, who is the top candidate to lead the new agency, said a BRR-esque agency could ensure such programs be effective.

“Most important is the [agency’s] head can directly report to the President and has an equivalent position to a minister to ensure any decision can be taken to the highest level,” he said.

BRR, which oversaw funds to rehabilitate Nias and Aceh after the earthquake and tsunami in 2004, is considered an effective agency in which corruption could be prevented.
President Yudhoyono stressed the central and local government should manage the grant appropriately, without “any cheating”.

Kuntoro confirmed the President’s statement, saying the signing emphasized the need for effective monitoring.

“What we need to underline is trust. The person who wants to help must be able to trust that his aid is used as designated. Such a monitoring system has been introduced to our government system by using GIS-based mapping, in which all physical projects coordinate as a basis”.

GIS stands for geographical information system, a system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages and presents data that is linked to location. It is used in cartography, remote sensing, land surveying, photogrammetry, geography, urban planning, emergency management, navigation and localized search engines.

Kuntoro said BRR used such a GIS system, which had been adopted by the government since.
He added Indonesia would learn from Brazil how to implement the system in supervising carbon emissions.

Brazil has also received a grant from Norway to reduce emissions.
Kuntoro was confident Indonesia could establish the agency within six months. “I think we need to stress in issuing regulations and preparing fund management,” he said.
Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan said Indonesia would offer forests in Papua, East Kalimantan, Riau and Jambi under an MRV mechanism. MRV stands for measurable, reportable and verifiable, meaning every ton of emission cuts will be assessed by independent auditors.
Riau has approximately 700,000 hectares of forests and Jambi 100,000 hectares, said Zulkifli. He did not mention the scale of forests in Papua and East Kalimantan.