President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his United States counterpart President Barack Obama are slated to talk on climate change issues, and aiming to set up the first regional climate center in Indonesia. Under the plan, Indonesia will become a hub for scientific data and a training center on climate change issues for five countries in Southeast Asia — Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines and Indonesia — and 17 nations in the Pacific, including Australia, New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Fiji.
“We hope the US will provide technical assistance, financing and technology transfer facilities to support the establishment of the regional center on climate change in Indonesia,” Yudhoyono’s special assistant on climate change Agus Purnomo said Monday. Obama, who spent a small part of his childhood in Jakarta, will visit the country this month.
Agus, who is also the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) secretary, said the regional center would be a hub for climate information especially on issues related to oceans and forests as well as on mitigation and adaptation programs. He said Obama and Yudhoyono would also discuss a comprehensive partnership on capacity building and technology transfer to help more accurate forecasting of climate phenomenon in Indonesia. “We are in dire need of such technology to help us make more accurate forecasts on climate phenomenon. Many natural disasters — floods, landslides and harvest failures — in Indonesia reflected that without adequate technology it was harder to forecast events due to climate change,” he said.
Head of the climate change division at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Advin Aldrian said Indonesian officials, chaired by the Research and Technology Ministry, had visited Washington to discuss cooperation. “We have made a draft proposal to be submitted during Obama’s visit,” he said without elaborating. “However, the government plans to conduct more scientific research on oceans and forests and their role in climate change. The United States has increased their support to help us in this research,” he added. Indonesia led the way by formally tabling issues on oceans and climate change in Copenhagen last year.
During the global environment ministerial meeting in Bali last week, Yudhoyono was given an award by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for his leadership in promoting ocean and marine conservation and management. The US has provided financial assistance to implement the Coral Triangle Initiative agreed in the Manado summit last year. In terms of forestry, the US has provided funds to protect the forest including through the debt-for-nature scheme.
Both Indonesia and the US are currently negotiating a second deal in the debt-for-nature scheme by which funds would be used to help conserve forest areas in Indonesia. The two countries signed the first debt-for-nature deal last June, swapping US$30 million of Indonesia’s debt that could then be used to conserve around 7 million hectares of forest in Batang Gadis National Park in North Sumatra, Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Central Sumatra and Way Kambas National Park in Lampung.
Source: The Jakarta Post – March 2, 2010
By Adianto P. Simamora