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Re-organize Sustainability Strategies in the New Government

Doc. InfoSAWIT/ Edi Suhardi - Sustainability Analyst
Re-organize Sustainability Strategies in the New Government

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – The Government of Indonesia that would be led by President Prabowo Subianto would face more difficult challenges when geopolitics and climate change occur. That is why to realize the vision of Indonesia Emas 2045 as same as the election slogan of Prabowo-Gibran would be impossible if applying the conventional ways. It would be significant for the new president to introduce the new cabinet that would consist of the experts but not the political party representatives. This is about to develop the new government structure which gets more efficient that the professional would do within the good integration.

For the economy still depends on areas and natural resources, such as, mineral and coal mining, and palm oil plantations, the new structure and cabinet formation should focus on three strategic goals. The first, sustainable economic development which means to balance economic contribution with environmental impact mitigation through the principle "polluters pay principle" and encourage investment in environmental initiatives.

The second, carbon emission reduction which means to accelerate the shift from commodity economic – base, especially coal and mining, to green technology and manufacturer. The third, professional and effective bureaucracy institutions, which means, to develop/establish Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and Ministry of Natural Resource and Renewable Commodity to lead the climate change issue and manage natural resources sustainably.

So far, palm oil has successfully transformed from raw material export commodity to be additional value – derivative products. This is the model about how one industry transformed with the government’s involvement minimally but supported by conducive policies. The government should also replicate the successful stories of palm oil to other commodities, including the mining. The commitment to develop smelter and battery for electric car, and delivering incentives for its use would be very positive. But the program should continue by developing other supporting infrastructure ecosystem.

Until now, two main products, such as, coal and palm oil would become the main motors of economic progress and turnover of exports for the country. In 2023, coal and palm oil contributed 14 percent and 12 percent for each to the export turnover. Palm oil is taken as sustainable and renewable but is still taken as controversy because of its impact for the environment.

The government should introduce innovative ways and the alternatives to balance economic contribution by minimizing the environmental impacts. Meanwhile, the dependence on coal should get solution by implementing the principle “polluters pay principle” that obliges those in charge on pollution or carbon emission to pay or deliver compensation that causes carbon or damage the natural environment. In carbon taxes, the government should encourage the mining companies to invest in environmental initiatives both in natural - base and technology - base.

The companies should cooperate with conservation or social forestry organizations. They have to invest in sustainable cultivation and apply natural process to solve the social and environmental issues. With the collaboration with technology solution providers, such as, research institutions or pre-commercial startup companies, the coal companies can invest in renewable energy, reduce carbon capture or capture projects and carbon storage to balance carbon emission and become carbon neutral and encourage domestic sector in technology to be the pilot project – phase in the same time.

These would accelerate the transition from the economy in commodity – base particularly coal and mining, to the environmental technology and manufacturer. On the other hand, palm oil has successfully developed from raw material export to be additional value – side products, contributed about 90 percent of the total exports. This is the model to transform industry by involving the government minimally but supported by the supporting policies.

Palm oil itself got more diversification in food products, fuel, and personal care products as its downstream industries developed. Meanwhile the challenges are the limited materials and tend to be stagnant because of political situation and market standards. The government should answer these challenges by doubling the productivity and supporting palm oil plantation expansion within sustainability standard. The increasing population and middle – class economy should expand the markets nationally. On the other hand, the alternative natural resources get more limited and Indonesia has no capital needed to maintain economic progress without the contribution from commodity sectors.

The government needs to re-consider the national – scale commitment to get emission reduction target in Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in 2030 compared to the 2009 baseline, which was 31 percent with its own efforts and 43 percent with the international – scale helps. In nowadays condition, we should not hope the international – scale helps because energy transition partnership did not keep its commitment.

That is why the strategies to get emission reduction and transition should get clarification through the agreement with many countries. The government should advocate common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) both internally with the countries and globally to promote climate change and fair trade. Energy transition and electric vehicles should go do but the ways to get scientific support to formulate emission calculation method and carbon absorption needs to be done.

It needs to continue bureaucracy and institution reformation. The first is by formulating the central government institutions which are right with the program needs. Knowing the urgency from every available issue, it would be very important for the new government to re-structure its authority and function of some ministries to facilitate the smoothness of sustainable natural resource as same as the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The authority on everything that has something to do with land should be trusted on to one ministry, which is, Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial, which is the perfect of National Land Agency nowadays. This ministry should be in charge on managing every land allocation and spatial plans for every mainland including forests and non – forests.

Ministry of Climate Change and Environment should be established to lead the management of climate change action plans and the implementation as the way to fulfill green-house as emission reduction target that would cover conventional ways in land, water, and natural conservation management sustainably and new ways, such as, encouraging investment in climate change mitigation with technology – base solution.

The new cabinet should have the new portfolio, which is, Ministry of Natural Resource and Renewable Commodity that would be in charge to reulate and manage plantation industries, such as, palm oil, rubber, industrial plant forests, and renewable energy. This could imitate the successful stories in Malaysia that manage the main forest products that support economic progress.

The new government needs to have re-organize sustainable development strategies massively. To develop expert cabinet, focus on three strategic goals, replicate the successful stories of palm oil, reinforce its national – scale commitment to get emission reduction, advocate CBDR UNFCCC principles, and continue energy transition and electric vehicle (industries) would be crucial to do to realize Indonesia Emas 2045. (*)

By: Edi Suhardi/Sustainability Analyst

Disclaimer: this article is a personal opinion and the writer himself is fully in charge and it has nothing to do with InfoSAWIT.