Indonesia reports reduced deforestation, triggering first carbon payment from Norway

Source: press release, 17 February 2019

The Minister of Environment and Forests of Indonesia, Siti Nurbaya Bakar and the Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, Ola Elvestuen (photo: Snorre Tønset)
The Minister of Environment and Forests of Indonesia, Siti Nurbaya Bakar and the Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, Ola Elvestuen (photo: Snorre Tønset)

Indonesia confirms that carbon emissions from deforestation declined in 2017. When the emission figures are independently verified, Norway will guarantee payments to Indonesia for approximately 4.8 million tonnes of CO2. This will be the first payment for reduced emissions during the climate and forest partnership between the two countries that started in 2010. Halting deforestation is essential for the world to meet the Paris Climate Goals.

Meeting in Jakarta on 16 February, the Minister of Environment and Forests of Indonesia, Ms Siti Nurbaya Bakar and the Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, Mr Ola Elvestuen, announced that the two countries were launching a new phase of their landmark bilateral climate and forest partnership that started in 2010. The two countries have agreed to the rules for results-based payments from Norway to Indonesia for reduced emissions. With that, Indonesia will be the largest rainforest nation to receive payments for reduced deforestation at the national level.

“I am glad during the last four years, the Indonesian government led by President Joko Widodo has managed to undertake a series of corrective measures in the forest and land use sector. The bold measures have resulted in significant reduction of deforestation, forest degradation, as well as GHG emissions,” says Minister Siti Nurbaya.

She adds, “I’m also pleased that Indonesia and Norway have agreed on the rules for results-based payments. With these developments, we are ready to step into the third phase of the partnership, in which emission reductions on the field is rewarded by Norway.”

“Indonesia has embarked on bold regulatory reforms, and it is showing results”, says Minister Elvestuen. “It may be too early to see a clear trend, but if deforestation continues to drop, we stand ready to increase our annual payments to reward Indonesia’s results and support its efforts.” The minister’s remarks came at the end of a successful weeklong visit to Jakarta and a West-Papua, where he met Governor Dominguus Mandacan and visited mangrove forests.

Indonesia has implemented a number of critical reforms and actions in the forest and land use sectors over the last few years. The government has introduced new measures to protect forests, including a ban on destroying primary forests and peatlands. In 2018, president Jokowi announced a policy to drive future increases in palm oil production from existing plantations instead of opening new forest areas. Indonesia has embarked on a comprehensive legal review of existing forestry and agriculture concessions, and increased law enforcement efforts against forest crimes. Importantly, the Adat and other local communities have gained rights to land.

Following an independent third-party verification of the annual emission reduction numbers Indonesia, Norway will guarantee payment for a portion of the result. Assuming the verified result matches the reported result for 2016-17, the first payment would be for approximately 4.8 million tons CO2. In 2010, Norway pledged to support Indonesia with up to USD 1 billion depending on results. So far, about 13% of this pledge has been spent to support the efforts of the Indonesian government to address deforestation.

Indonesia has the world’s third largest tropical rainforest. The total emissions from deforestation and peatland destruction has put Indonesia amongst the world’s top emitters, but Indonesia has set ambitious targets for reducing its emissions from deforestation. It has called for international partnerships to increase its ambitious contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement and reduce emissions by up to 41% by 2030.