Posted by: Hendra Siry | 4 March, 2010

RI Should ‘Vie For’ UNFCCC Top Post

Article by Adianto P. Simamora

Indonesia, the host of the much-hailed Bali climate change conference, should run for the UN’s top post on climate change, which will be vacant after its chief, Yvo de Boer, resigns in July,  observers said. Legislator Muhammad Safrudin from the House of Representatives’ Commission VII overseeing environmental affairs said Indonesia should seek support from other countries to vie for the post.

“Indonesia has a number of noted figures on climate change issues such as Rachmat Witoelar or Emil Salim. We need to take part to make climate talk successful,” he told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. Rachmat was the president to Bali’s Conference of the Parties (COP) 13 in 2007. Emil is a former environment minister and a respected environmentalist.

Safrudin added that Indonesia’s experience in making the Bali climate change talks a success could be a significant asset in winning the post. “As a country vulnerable to climate change, Indonesia needs a breakthrough to resolve the problems and this can be achieved if Indonesia takes the lead in global talks on climate change,” he said.

De Boer, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), announced his resignation last week, which takes effect in July. The Dutch de Boer, who has led the organization since 2006, will join accountancy firm KPMG as its global advisor on climate and sustainability. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s special assistant on climate change, Agus Purnomo, said the post should be awarded to developing countries. “It is time for developing countries to head the post to help break the deadlock on climate talks,” he told the Post.

Agus said that de Boer’s decision to resign was his prerogative, but that it came at the worst time for climate change negotiations. He said that the post had thus far been filled by representatives from developed nations, a situation blamed for the failure to reach a legally binding treaty on emission cuts in Copenhagen last year. “With the upcoming conferences to be held in Mexico this year and South Africa in 2011, we hope a binding treaty can be reached with the leadership of developing countries,” Agus said.

Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) climate expert Armi Susandi and of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia climate change and energy director Fitrian Ardiansyah echoed Purnomo’s calls to give the post to developing countries. “The climate talks need a fresh breakthrough that could come from developing countries. Indonesia has the ability to lead this post,” Armi told the Post. Indonesia hosted the UN climate conference in 2007 with the resulting Bali roadmap used as a basis for the Copenhagen talks.

The Bali roadmap requires that a new legally binding treaty for emission cuts should be reached by 2009. But the Copenhagen conference failed to result in such a treaty, despite the presence of more than 100 heads of state. Activists blame the lack of political will from developed nations to reach a binding treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.

Source: The Jakarta Post, February 22, 2010

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