Norway-Indonesia signs MoU on emission reductions, supports mangrove rehabilitation in Balikpapan Bay

The Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya accompanied by Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment, Espen Barth Eide and the Secretary of the Peat and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM) discussing with BRGM Deputy explaining the mangrove planting location in Sotek Village, Penajam District, North Penajam Paser Regency, East Kalimantan, Sunday (11/9) (Photo: Ministry of Environment and Forestry)

Jakarta – Indonesia and the Kingdom of Norway signed a memorandum of understanding on efforts to reduce emissions from forestry and other land uses in Jakarta (12/9).

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Partnership in Support of Indonesia’s Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use (FOLU) was signed by the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya Bakar and the Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, Espen Barth Eide.

Indonesia previously ended an agreement with Norway on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in September 2021. The previous collaboration stated in the Letter of Intent (LOI) in May 2010 agreed to fund a total of USD 1 billion for the reduction of emissions from verified deforestation, forest degradation and peatland conversion.

This collaboration was terminated by the Government of Indonesia after “the absence of concrete progress in implementing the Norwegian government’s obligation to realise the Result Based Payment (RBP) for the realisation of Indonesia’s emission reduction of 11.2 million tons of CO2eq in 2016/2017, which has been verified by international institutions.”

After the signing, Bakar emphasised that the new MoU does not only reflect the partnership and results-based agreement between the two countries. However, it includes broader engagement with climate and forest management issues in Indonesia.

“The MoU emphasises the importance of real and direct benefits to the community, as well as for Indonesia’s progress in accordance with governance by prioritising the principles of transparency, accountability, inclusion, and participation. As reflected in Indonesia’s efforts to continue to strengthen the participation of indigenous peoples in the management of sustainable forests, among others through the establishment of the Job Creation Act as the legal basis,” said Minister Siti, referring to a law ratified and signed by President Joko Widodo on November 2, 2020. The law was aimed to ease doing business and improve the investment ecosystem.

Balikpapan Bay mangrove rehabilitation

Previously, Sunday (11/9) Eide planted mangroves in Sotek Village, Penajam District, North Penajam Paser Regency, East Kalimantan, as a form of his support for the rehabilitation of mangrove areas in Balikpapan Bay.

The Minister of Environment and Forestry (LHK) Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Deputy Minister of Environment and Forestry Alue Dohong, Head of the Peat and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM) Hartono, Director General of Sustainable Forest Management (PHL) KLHK Agus Justianto, Director General of Watershed Control and Forest Rehabilitation (PDASRH) KLHK Dyah Murtiningsih.

Minister Bakar said that the arrival of Norway’s Minister of Climate and Environment Espen Barth Eide, signals a new cooperation plan between Norway and Indonesia in the field of climate and environment, especially REDD+. Indonesia is one of the countries with the largest mangrove area in the world.

“Sotek Village is one of BRGM’s working areas in accelerating mangrove rehabilitation. While in Balikpapan, we will discuss mangrove rehabilitation and of course about Indonesia FOLU Net Sink 2030,” said Bakar.

Sotek Village is located in Penajam District, Penajam Pasir Utara Regency. Last year, the rehabilitated area reached 65 hectares (ha). The mangrove forest ecosystem in Sotek Village is outside the State Forest area or categorised as Area of ​​Other Use (APL), so it is vulnerable to landuse changes.

Previously, the mangroves in Sotek Village were damaged due to illegal logging and the conversion of mangrove forests into ponds. The surrounding community also often uses mangroves by processing it into charcoal, so that it has a higher economic value. This year, the target for mangrove rehabilitation in Sotek Village is planned for an area of ​​20 ha.

Meanwhile, Minister Eide said that mangrove ecosystems and forest areas in general have a very important role for the whole world, as controlling the impact of climate change by absorbing emissions.

Head of BRGM, Hartono added, the arrival of the Minister of Climate and Environment from the Kingdom of Norway is proof of international support for Indonesia to rehabilitate mangroves. “Rehabilitation plays a major role in restoring damaged mangrove ecosystem areas, so that they will be able to absorb and store carbon. Therefore, the mangrove ecosystem plays a key role in meeting Indonesia’s NDC targets,” said Hartono.

The mangrove ecosystem has a very important function for the environment and the economy of the surrounding community. Mangroves provide knowledge and opportunities to see wildlife.

Mangroves are one of the most effective ecosystems for capturing, absorbing, and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere (blue carbon). A well-maintained mangrove ecosystem can store 3-5 times more carbon than ordinary terrestrial forests.

“Carbon stored in Indonesia’s mangrove ecosystems is estimated at 3.0 Gton CO2e. Then the carbon stored in mangroves and seagrass beds in Indonesia is estimated to reach around 3.4 Gton CO2e, about 17% of the world’s blue carbon reserves,” he said. (Hartatik)

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