AGREEMENT CALLS FOR ENDING DEFORESTATION, INDONESIA CALLS IT “UNFAIR”
COP26 is underway in Glasgow, including a major agreement to end deforestation by 2030, among other initiatives (BBC). Over 100 nations signed the pledge, including Brazil, Canada, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. About 85% of the world’s forests are located in the signatory countries. While enforcement procedures are not detailed, the pledge includes almost $19.2 billion in funds, including funds for supporting indigenous communities and addressing wildfires. Experts are hopeful about the agreement's potential, but highlighted a previous 2014 agreement that did nothing to slow deforestation, to emphasize that commitments will need to be kept.
After Indonesian President Joko Widodo signed the deal, the country seemed to back away from the commitment. Environment Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said definitions of deforestation vary, so the commitment “to zero deforestation by 2030 was ‘clearly inappropriate and unfair’” as it imposed European standards on Indonesia (BBC,Reuters). She noted development is still the country’s priority. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil; it also produces paper and has emerging electric vehicle and nickel industries that will require land (Reuters). Indonesia’s vice foreign minister, Mahendra Siregar, said the country reads the pledge’s language as “no net loss of forested land,” essentially “‘sustainable forest management . . . not end deforestation by 2030’” (Reuters). Instead, Indonesia plans to have a “carbon net sink” in the forestry sector. Environmentalists there are protesting and raising questions about the country’s commitment to reducing emissions (Al Jazeera).