An independent review shows that the Letter of Intent between Indonesia and Norway on climate and forest issues has had a very beneficial impact on REDD+ developments in Indonesia. Three of Indonesia’s six agreed deliverables under the forest partnership with Norway have been achieved or are close to completion. But a moratorium on new forest conversion concessions and key new institutions are delayed.
An independent evaluation by a third party identified by international tender is a mutually agreed output under the Letter of Intent (LoI) to reduce emissions from deforestation, entered into by Indonesia and Norway during the Climate and Forest Conference in Oslo in May 2010. The review will be used to inform decisions on the funding level for 2011. In their report, the Finnish consultancy Gaia (www.gaia.fi), in association with Creatura Ltd, notes that the USD 1 billion partnership has the potential to yield valuable benefits for Indonesia and important greenhouse emission gains for the world. Building the capacity to deliver these emissions reductions, the whole LoI process is also having an important educational impact, and has brought to the fore many questions about the conditions for succeeding with REDD+, that are now being asked in Indonesia for the first time.
The review specifically evaluates delivery on the first, preparatory, phase of the LoI, which revolves around six agreed outputs, originally to be delivered by the end of 2010: (1) establishing a national REDD+ Agency with a robust mandate to reform forest governance in Indonesia, (2) introducing a two-year suspension on new concessions for conversion of peat and natural forests, (3) designing an independent institution for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions from forest and land use change, (4) establishing an interim financing mechanism, (5) developing, through multi-stakeholder participation, a national REDD+ Strategy that addresses all key drivers of deforestation, and finally, (6) selecting a province with significant forest cover and potential for mitigation in which to pilot a payment-for-delivery approach for later nation-wide application.
The review notes that while the latter three have been delivered or are close to completion, the first three are delayed, closely inter-linked and have met with significant resistance from vested interests. It finds that sufficient progress has been made to justify further work on remaining deliveries under the USD 30 million already transferred and managed by UNDP. Funding beyond that already committed in 2010-2011 would need to be justified against the delivery of remaining agreed outputs, although the delays seen so far should not impact negatively on the eventual payments for preparation-phase deliverables when those are in place.
The review recommends extending the preparatory phase, and use the extra time to build broad support for the forest governance reform agenda. For the next phase, extending from 2011 to 2013, the review recommends focusing on the quality of the processes rather than an exclusive focus on outputs and dates, engaging more actively with the Indonesian Parliament, identifying degraded forest lands available for further expansion of forest-based industries, and encouraging other donors to join the partnership.