Despite reaching agreement with Brazil and DRC, Indonesia lags behind in moving the initiative forward, Greenpeace Indonesia says.

Greenpeace Indonesia regrets the Indonesian government’s absence at the Three Basins Summit in Brazzaville, Congo on October 26-28, 2023, where leaders discussed efforts to save tropical forests from damage and destruction.

The forum brings together leaders from the world’s three largest tropical forest regions: the Amazon, Congo, and Borneo-Mekong-Southeast Asia.

Countries in these three basins are home to more than 80 percent of the world’s tropical forests and two-thirds of global biodiversity. Saving the tropical forests in these three regions is critical amid the current climate and biodiversity crises.

“This is very disappointing. The Three Basins Summit is needed to formulate concrete steps and global cooperation to protect tropical forests,” said Arie Rompas, head of the Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaign team, quoted on Tuesday (31/10/2023).

“The Indonesian government should be actively involved in strengthening this cooperation, because we need a global alliance, and Southern countries must cooperate more closely to fight the climate crisis,” Rompas continued.

In November 2022, the Indonesian government reached an agreement on cooperation to save tropical forests with Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The alliance was formed on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali.

However, Indonesia seems to lag behind Brazil and the DRC in moving the initiative forward.

Greenpeace said preparations for the 2024 elections were one of the reasons for Indonesia’s absence from the summit. Policies regarding global initiatives such as those discussed at the summit are said to be ‘the authority of the next government’.

Tropical forests in the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Indonesia need to be protected from deforestation to make way for monoculture plantations, infrastructure, logging, and mining.

Data from Atlas Nusantara shows in 2023, the deforestation rate in Indonesia increased with gross deforestation of 208,000 hectares, a 19 percent increase compared to 2021.

Indigenous peoples protect tropical tropical forests

Efforts to save tropical forests cannot be separated from recognizing the significant role of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLC).

IPLCs protect 75 percent of forests. In spite of this, their role and knowledge regarding nature and biodiversity protection have not been sufficiently recognized.

In addition, of all global forest management project funding in the past decade, only 17 percent involved IPLCs.

Greenpeace Indonesia also criticizes false solutions to save forests through market schemes, such as carbon trading or carbon offsets.

Carbon markets provide a red carpet for environmental polluters to escape responsibility. This scheme will only allow them to continue to produce greenhouse gas emissions, instead of taking concrete actions to curb emissions and change their behavior.

“Leaders must stop using market approaches like carbon trading. Instead, leaders must focus on and seriously engage Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who based on data and facts on the ground, have proven to be the frontline guardians of nature and biodiversity,” said Rompas.

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