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258 14 Big commitments, small results: environmental governance and climate change mitigation under Yudhoyono Patrick Anderson, Asep Firdaus and Avi Mahaningtyas Under the Yudhoyono presidency, the environment featured in Indonesia ’s national and international politics with a prominence it had never previously achieved. It was not just the slew of new policies and initiatives; President Yudhoyono himself seemed to take the issue more seriously than any previous Indonesian president. This was most dramatically demonstrated at the G20 conference in Pittsburgh in 2009 when he announced to the world that, by itself, Indonesia would reduce its carbon emissions below business-as-usual projections by 26 per cent by 2020, and by 41 per cent if the country received international support. With some 80 per cent of Indonesia’s emissions the result of forestry and land-use change, in 2010 Yudhoyono issued a two-year moratorium on the issuing of new permits to develop primary forests and peatlands, a proscription that covered 74 million hectares of forest land and that was subsequently extended until 2015. At a conference in 2011 he promised to ‘dedicate the last three years of my term as President to deliver enduring results that will sustain and enhance the environment and forests of Indonesia’ (Lang 2011). In 2013 he established a national agency for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. For these and other reasons, Yudhoyono has sometimes been lauded at home and abroad for his environmental commitments and achievements. Upon stepping down as Indonesian president, he goes on to become the chair Update book 2014-15.indb 258 19/04/2015 11:39 am Environment and climate change under Yudhoyono   259 and president of the Global Green Growth Institute, an international organisation with a mission to promote environmentally sustainable economic development. This chapter assesses Yudhoyono’s environmental record by considering two major initiatives that took place during his time in office: the passage and implementation of a new environmental law, and the introduction of plans for climate change mitigation. The new Environment Law, the aim of which was to provide environmental protection and management for the benefit of all citizens, resulted from the efforts of a broad coalition in parliament, including Yudhoyono’s party, and created big opportunities to improve environmental management. Addressing climate change was very much Yudhoyono’s own issue, which he promoted at home and especially abroad. The president and his government were able to bring in new environmental and climate policies and link them to public participation and anti-corruption efforts. Under the president ’s guidance, the government opened itself to public participation and much greater transparency in environmental and forest governance. The ambitious policy framework took Yudhoyono’s government further than any previous administration in the environment sector. Implementation of the new laws and policies required strong leadership to challenge established power bases in the sectoral ministries and undue influence from industry. Yudhoyono did not rise to that challenge, however, instead letting the Ministry of Environment and the new climate change agencies struggle to fulfil their mandates. Implementation of the Environment Law and climate commitments was hampered by Yudhoyono’s failure to push through reform efforts against resistance from sectoral ministries and associated industries. Meanwhile, despite all the initiatives, the climate change policies had limited effect. After falling in the early 2000s, the rate of deforestation doubled during Yudhoyono’s tenure and has yet to fall. During the same period Brazil halved its rate of forest loss, due in part to stronger leadership and more transparent and accountable government institutions. There was a yawning gap between President Yudhoyono’s environmental commitments, and the results. In the first section of this chapter, we assess the Environment Law of 2009. Although the law was a landmark in environmental protection and facilitated court action to prevent environmental destruction, its implementation was severely hampered by governmental paralysis when it came to introducing critical implementing regulations and law enforcement. In the second section we describe Indonesia’s new policy framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Next, we look at several policy steps the government took to reform the management of Indonesia’s forests and so pursue the climate change agenda. Though the policy change was significant, in every area there were significant Update book 2014-15.indb 259 19/04/2015 11:39 am 260  The Yudhoyono Presidency: Indonesia’s Decade of Stability and Stagnation problems of implementation. In the fourth section we assess the results so far of Indonesia’s attempts to reduce its greenhouse...


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