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Addressing Climate Change through Better Governance: Forestry and Electricity

On May 11, WRI hosted an official side event at the 15th meeting of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. The Government of Indonesia was represented by Mr. Hoetomo, Deputy Minister of Environment for Compliance, Government of Indonesia. The event focused on transparency and public participation in the electricity and forestry sectors, and highlighted Indonesia's efforts in these areas.

Speakers:

WRI's Smita Nakhooda announced the publication of Empowering People: A Governance Analysis of Electricity, a report by the Electricity Governance Initiative based on case studies in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. This report makes the case for greater attention to how electricity sector decisions are made -- and the need for greater public involvement and scrutiny. Policymakers, regulators, citizens, and the international community are grappling with the challenges of providing access to reliable and affordable electricity, and addressing major environmental challenges. After a decade of experimentation it is now clear that the problem as well as the solution lies less in ownership of the electricity industry, and more in how the sector is governed. On the whole, policy and regulation are more likely to be successful if they are open to public scrutiny. PowerPoint

WRI's Fred Stolle picked up on similar themes of the lack of accountability and transparency within the forestry sector in Indonesia, highlighting problems of illegal logging and decentralization. He expressed hope that climate change was creating both new opportunities and awareness of the detrimental environmental impacts of current forestry practices, but also cautioned that leakage, permanence of sequestration, and payment distribution remain significant challenges to sustainable forestry management in the country. PowerPoint

WRI's Lalanath DeSilva described how Indonesia and other governments were making and honoring commitments as part of the Partnership for Principle 10 to improve public participation and access to information in decisionmaking about the environment. He noted the key role that these factors play in sustainable management of forestry and electricity sectors. PowerPoint

Deputy Minister Hoetomo spoke on Indonesia’s efforts to promote transparency and accountability within the electricity and forestry sectors by living up to its 2006 PP10 commitments and taking into account the recommendations of the EGI team working in Indonesia. The Minister recognized the need to reform policy and regulatory processes and take a closer look at the environmental and social aspects of decisions made in the two sectors. He also recognized the lack of legal mechanisms that would help clarify some of the ambiguity regarding the role of the government and coordination of various ministries in the processes. Deputy Minister Hoetomo affirmed Indonesia’s commitment to increasing transparency and coordination between the public sector and civil society to discover a pragmatic approach and solution to the multidimensional crises (food, water, energy) facing Indonesia.

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