Sharing REDD+ benefits to meet Indonesia’s climate targets

Dialogue explores incentives to achieve FoLU Net Sink 2030 goals
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Measuring peat surface elevation change. Photo by Sigit Deni Sasmito/CIFOR

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The Indonesian government is committed to transforming its forest and land use (FoLU) sectors to become a net carbon sink by 2030. It’s a laudable goal – but what will motivate forest owners and users to make and maintain the necessary shifts?

To help answer that question – and others – the University of Indonesia’s Research Center for Climate Change (RCCC-UI), the Center for International Forestry Research – World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), and partners are conducting a series of virtual policy dialogues, under their co-implemented Global Comparative Study on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (GCS REDD+).

The project is focused on fostering the co-creation of knowledge and learning exchange at all levels, and ensuring policymakers and practitioners have access to – and use – the information, analyses and tools needed to design and implement effective, efficient and equitable REDD+ policies and actions.

As part of the fourth phase of GCS REDD+, the Science and Policy Dialogue series seeks to tailor research to country-level needs, policies, and targets for forest-based climate mitigation.

Dialogue series

A first dialogue was held on 16 December 2021, on the theme ‘From COP26 to G20: How research can support aligning forest, finance and development planning in Indonesia’, and raised the need for more focused research to support the commitment to FoLU sector transformation to achieve the 2030 net carbon sink target, which the Indonesian government made late in 2021. The second Science and Policy Dialogue on the topic, ‘Improving REDD+ information to advance REDD+ architecture’, which took place on 25 April 2022, sought to explore information resources and gaps to that end. Then, on 3 August 2022, a third dialogue took place, which examined the incentivization element of transformation, namely through the use of benefit-sharing mechanisms (BSMs) at national, subnational, and local levels.

Moira Moeliono, a CIFOR-ICRAF Senior Associate, framed the challenge at hand. “In Indonesia, we have already moved forward by having a specific organization or institution for [benefit-sharing], and we have a lot of benefit-sharing data already,” she said, “but translating this national policy into implementation at the local level is not always easy, especially given that sharing considered to be fair at the national level may be considered unfair at the subnational or local level.”

Endah Tri Kurniawaty of the Environment Fund Management Agency (BPDLH) shared lessons learned from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) REDD+ results-based payment (RBP) Project BSM Plan, including the legal and policy frameworks, institutional arrangements and governance elements. “When the community is engaged with implementation of REDD+, we are certain that they need to be assisted,” she said. “We realize as a government we cannot fully provide assistance to the community; that’s why there are many supporters who are present on site and collaborating with the government in this regard.”

Pathur Rachman As’ad from the Economic Bureau, Provincial Secretariat for the Government of East Kalimantan, also shared experiences from the implementation of the REDD+ emission reduction program and corresponding BSM in East Kalimantan, which began in 2020.

Dewa Ekayana of the Fiscal Policy Agency in the Indonesian Ministry of Finance then responded to the previous presentations. “I see this is an effort so that in the future our national budget and local budget will emulate this process to be more transparent and accountable, performance-based, etc.” he said. He wondered about how to avoid double funding, and reflected on continuity and funding for the East Kalimantan project, which is currently only funded up until 2024.

Dewi Rizki of the Partnership for Governance Reform (Kemitraan) inquired about enabling conditions and access for communities to the RBP. “There will be challenges regarding how the community has an institution that may access the fund and how to ensure that the fund can be portable,” she said. “This will be the challenge for the intermediary agency so that the community can access the fund.”

Benefits take many forms

In the second session, Sepdinal, the Head of Sub-National Project Management Unit (SNPMU) Bio Carbon Fund (BioCF) Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes (ISFL), gave an update on Jambi’s BioCF-ISFL preparation and its BSM design, which is shaped around three key criteria: effectiveness, efficiency, and equity.

Next, Taryono Darusman of PT Rimba Makmur Utama listed lessons from the Katingan-Mentaya project, which works to restore ecosystems (through activities such as reforestation, peatland rewetting, forest protection and fire prevention) in order to reduce emissions, eradicate poverty, and protect habitats. The project raises funds through carbon offsets sold on the voluntary carbon market. The presentation centred around the many forms that benefits take within the project, such as provision of sanitation services, drinking water, healthcare, infrastructure such as roads and bridges, support for religious and cultural groups, and education opportunities in the form of scholarships. “There are a lot of variations [in benefits],” he said, “it’s not like ‘one size fits all’, because we want the beneficiaries to be as diverse as possible.”

CIFOR scientist Stibniati Atmadja then facilitated a discussion on the previous presentations with Efrian Muharrom, an environmental specialist at the World Bank; Prof. Daddy Ruhiyat, head of DDPI East Kalimantan (the Provincial Council on Climate Change); and Fredi Yusuf of Indonesian Conservation Community Warsi (KKI Warsi) about the preceding presentations, including issues such as eradicating double counting, distribution and capacity building at the village level, fund allocation and criteria, and identifying stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Sonny Mumbunan, a scientist at RCCC-UI, wrapped up the discussion with some emerging points that need to be explored and developed further, including: an operational definition for BSMs and their link with results-based payments; the definition of performance in this context; the way that beneficiaries are identified; the extent to which communities participate and make decisions regarding BSMs; and subnational differences in context. Mumbunan praised the participants and speakers for the dynamic discussion: “I think it’s very good for all of us,” he said; “it’s refreshing, but we also learn from the process.”

This research is part of CIFOR’s Global Comparative Study on REDD+. The funding partners that have supported this research include the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad, Grant No. QZA-21/0124), International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU, Grant No. 20_III_108), and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (CRPFTA) with financial support from the CGIAR Fund Donors.

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