The two most pressing mitigation areas in Indonesia are agriculture, especially palm oil cultivation, and forest management. Several research organizations bolster Indonesia’s technical ability to address forestry management and agriculture. Apart from public research organizations that actively collaborate with the Indonesian government, there is also a strong presence of independent organizations that produce climate research and solutions. These organizations – both public and independent – provide information to Indonesian society on a broad scope of environmental topics ranging from peatland management to coastal fisheries.
One independent research organization that should be appraised for its in-depth work and broad range of studies is the World Research Institute Indonesia (WRI). WRI Indonesia is a subsection of the World Research Institute which is a global research organization. WRI receives its funding from numerous foundations as well as government-run organizations around the world. The mission at this particular organization is to inspire society, through their research and innovative theoretical solutions, to pursue a more sustainable environment. Being based in Indonesia, this organization researches and provides solutions to the quandary of efficient, reliable, and sustainable development in Indonesia. One example of their work is a recent publication titled “Intensification of Smallholder Palm Oil Plantations: Where Do We Begin?”. This study states that Indonesia is planning on increasing its production of palm oil to 60 million tons per year by the year 2045. This would require an additional 6.1 million hectares of land for cultivation. This increase in production and land use negatively affects the environment as most of Indonesia’s deforestation is a result of palm oil cultivation. The study suggests that a way to decrease the negative effects of excessive land use, Indonesia should intensify smallholder palm oil plantations. The study argues that because there is an inequality in productivity between large plantations and smaller plantations the productivity of smaller plantations should be intensified, reducing the need for more space by making the most out of already existing plantations.
Another Indonesian research organization is the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). CIFOR is a large, Indonesian-based research organization that also holds offices in various other countries. The majority of research conducted at CIFOR surrounds forestry, one of Indonesia’s most pressing mitigation problems. CIFOR is an independent organization that receives its funding from charity foundations, other research organizations, and branches of government around the world. Their mission is to provide research on pressing issues surrounding forest and landscape management in order to “protect the environment” and “improve human well-being”. An example of a study conducted by CIFOR is “Drivers of Forest loss in Papua and West Papua”. The study discusses factors that drove forest loss in Papua and West Papua between 2001 and 2018 and provides each factor with a percentage that represents how much they contributed in terms of hectares. It also touches on the decline in forest loss in recent years. Studies like this are important as they provide up-to-date data that closely monitors progress and identifies the most pressing issues.
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Indonesia has a plethora of research to address climate change and mitigate GHG emissions. Many groups, such as WRI and CIFOR, provide independent research on Indonesia’s many biomes and ecosystems and the anthropogenic impacts that disrupt their function. However, it is unclear how well these studies are integrated into government policy, planning and implementation.
We recommend Mr. Nasi improves the range of studies conducted at CIFOR. We recognize that the focal point of the organization is forestry, however, many topics can be explored on the subject of renewable energy in relation to forestry. An interesting topic could be the potential impact of wind farms on birds in Indonesia’s rainforests. In 2019, less than 15% of Indonesia’s energy came from renewable sources. The aim is to have 23% of energy derived from renewable sources by 2025 and 31% by 2050, but their use of non-renewable sources has only grown since setting this goal. Creating case studies on how Indonesia could meet energy demands through renewable sources would help generate solutions to Indonesia’s dependency on non-renewable energy.
We urge the Ministry of Environment to consider establishing a government-funded research organization that is separate from the ministry. Not only does this show commitment to reaching Indonesia’s climate mitigation aims, but a government-funded research organization would be able to be more effective in implementing its initiatives and focusing on areas of mitigation that tend to be ignored. Once again on the topic of renewable energy sources, Indonesia’s plan for innovation and renewable energy sources is not as progressive as the plan for forestry conservation and sustainable palm oil cultivation. Considering the scale at which Indonesia emits carbon, it is imperative that all factors contributing to carbon emission be addressed regardless of whether they are the main drivers or not. Investing in a research organization that places renewable energy sources as its focal point would be beneficial to Indonesia’s climate mitigation progress.
Director of WRI Indonesia – Nirarta Samadhi
Director General of CIFOR – Robert Nasi
Minister of Environment and Forestry – Siti Nurbaya Bakar
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Indonesia Country Manager Ruby Orim