Personal note: Another Indonesian government fiasco
People may not receive cash from REDD scheme
Adianto P. Simamora, THE JAKARTA POST, JAKARTA Sat, 06/19/2010
Local people involved in efforts to protect forests may not receive money in cash since the government's ongoing forest carbon scheme pilot projects did not use a cash handout system.
Forestry Ministry director for environmental services Tony Suhartono said the government had not settled the financial mechanism of the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scheme.
"We may prevent directly providing cash to local people to promote sustainable REDD projects," he said Tuesday.
Tony said previous projects in West Kutai, East Kalimantan, when the government gave concessions to local people showed the risk of handing out cash.
"The local people cut trees in their concession areas and sell it to get money. It renders the project unsustainable," he said.
Millions of Indonesian rely on forests for their livelihoods.
The government has said the high poverty of people living near forests was the main driver of deforestation, leading to illegal logging.
Data from the ministry showed the deforestation rate breached 1 million hectares per year.
The government said REDD could be effective in Indonesia if the main instruments of deforestation, especially illegal logging and forest conversion, were properly addressed.
The REDD scheme was expected to be an alternative to cutting emissions to deal with climate change.
Deforestation contributes some 20 percent of global emissions.
Under the scheme, forest nations would receive financial incentives from rich nations to stop converting their forests to prevent the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
The government is developing REDD pilot projects in the forests of Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, East Java and West Nusa Tenggara provinces.
The governments of Australia, Germany and Korea have developed REDD pilot projects in Indonesia.
The projects would assess, among others, the drivers of deforestation, institutional and legal frameworks and the establishment of REDD incentive mechanisms.
The Environment Ministry said money from REDD schemes should be used to empower local people to encourage them to protect forests.
"The money could be used to improve education, health and infrastructure in the local area," Masnellyarti Hilman, the deputy minister for environmental damage control at the Environment Ministry, said.
Indonesia has signed a new agreement with the Norwegian government to reduce deforestation in Indonesia's forests and peatland.
In turn, Norway pledged to provide US$1 billion that would be disbursed based on emission reductions in the forest sector. It is unclear how much would be allotted to local people.
The government would set up a special agency to manage the money.
Indonesia was the first country to issue a regulation on REDD allowing indigenous people, local authorities, private organizations and businesspeople - both local and foreign - to operate REDD projects.