Businesses seek role in environmental policy-making

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

As the government prepares to unveil its National Action Plan (RAN), a road map to guide the effort against global warming, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) has called for a say.

Chairman Mohammad Hidayat said Monday that Kadin had appointed a team of 15 industrial leaders to participate in drawing up the plan, which is to be made public in the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bali next week.

The RAN plan will consist of a set of guidelines to help Indonesia mitigate and adapt to climate change.

According to the Environment Ministry, which is responsible for it, the plan incorporates the country's triple-track development strategy of pro-poor, pro-job and pro-growth, but adds another dimension: pro-environment.

The plan encompasses preservation of forests and carbon capture, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30 percent by 2025.

However, for fear of having its interests neglected -- especially on issues of energy efficiency, spatial planning and tax incentives -- the Kadin team wants to be a part of the sustainable development coordination process, contributing ideas and suggestions.

"We need a comprehensive approach towards sustainable development that takes into account both environmental issues and the interest of industry," Hidayat said in a discussion with the Environment Ministry on Monday.

Hidayat said the effort to create balance between the environment and industrial growth had been marred by disputes and a lack of coordination between government agencies.

Regulatory ambiguity and discrepancies -- for example between central and regional government levels, he said, discouraged many companies from shifting to renewable sources of energy for production.

Also speaking at the discussion, Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Sofyan Wanandi urged the government to create a comprehensive policy on the use of energy and how it will shape the future of industry.

"The government's approach in addressing the energy issue has always been ad hoc and tends to look for scapegoats if there are problems,"

"Having learned from past experience, even if we have a good plan, implementation is always an issue. I'm honestly skeptical about the action plan, especially on the implementation level," Sofyan said.

On the issue of spatial planning, Franky Wijaya, the CEO of Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, one of the major players in the palm oil industry, said the government must discuss land allocation matters, both with industry players and NGOs, in order to get an objective view on all related issues.

"For our industry, it is important to get a hold of exact spatial planning -- which areas are allocated for preserved forest and which are for production, to avoid disputes."

Similarly, at the UNFCCC negotiations in Bali, 180 country representatives will map out a plan for climate change mitigation and adaptation, ahead of the expiry of the Kyoto framework -- the first CO2 reduction arrangement -- in 2012.
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