Helen Clark: Keynote Speech on the “The Transformative Potential of REDD+: A Global Legacy in the Making”

Sep 24, 2014

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Keynote Speech
on the
“The Transformative Potential of REDD+: A Global Legacy in the Making”
United Nations, New York

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this meeting.

At the outset, let me recognise President Yudhoyono for his leadership on this agenda and for championing an ambitious and far-reaching vision of REDD+ both globally and in Indonesia. Your presence here, Mr. President, reaffirms the very strong commitment you have made to Indonesia’s REDD+ agenda.

I also recognize Pak Kuntoro and Pak Heru for their critical role in making Indonesia a first mover country in moving beyond the REDD+ Readiness Phase.

I also commend Norway for its strong leadership on REDD+ for a number of years. It’s engagement with tropical forest countries, including Indonesia, is an inspiring model for the new global partnerships which are so vital to the post-2015 development agenda.

In my comments today I will look at the lessons learned from the REDD+ experience globally and in Indonesia, and at how we apply these going forward.

Changing values
Deforestation and forest degradation are driven by many factors, but there is one common theme: the value attributed to forested land has traditionally been less than that attributed to cleared land.

REDD+ is about changing that and building a new concept of wealth and progress based on recognition of the true value of the natural capital of forests.

This understanding is the foundation of Indonesia’s vision for REDD+: ‘Beyond Carbon, More than Forests’.  REDD+ for Indonesia provides a route to achieve emissions reductions and to lift human development.

Indonesia recognises that this involves changes to values and behaviour. Sustainable development must be something that we believe and practise. Working with young people is a good place to start. I applaud the ‘Million Green Youth Ambassadors’ programme of the National REDD+ Agency in its work to bring about a change in values.

Strengthening governance
In Indonesia, the approach to REDD+ will differ from province to province. It is important therefore that the governance institutions for REDD+ are designed in ways which respect the different needs and priorities of communities across this vast nation.

At the Forests Pavilion yesterday, the Indonesian Vice Minister of Agriculture described how the government is  prioritising the empowerment of smallholder farmers to produce sustainable palm oil. This is being done through the national platform on sustainable palm oil, by building the capacity of rural smallholder farmers (many of whom are indigenous communities) to produce sustainably with a view to benefiting three million smallholders and improving the 'GDP of the Poor' in the process.

The moratorium which Indonesia placed on the award of new licences for conversion of primary natural forests and peat lands into plantation has been an important step towards improving management of forest resources. It aimed to stop business-as-usual and to buy time for implementing reforms. The One Map initiative to produce a single, comprehensive map of Indonesia containing all relevant information linked to forest licensing and land-use claims is also a crucial building block for Indonesia’s REDD+ Programme, and has impacts far beyond forest carbon sequestration.

There will be a range of approaches to forest governance across the eleven REDD+ partner provinces in Indonesia. Each will be a model to be drawn on by other provinces in Indonesia, and by other countries.

Inclusive development
REDD+ is strongly linked to issues of human rights and participatory governance. To achieve sustainable development, social empowerment must feature alongside economic and environmental objectives. Many of the poorest and most marginalized communities live in or depend on forests. Their livelihoods must be secured in a deforestation-free future.

UNDP recognises the work of the Government of Indonesia and AMAN (the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago) on support for empowerment of indigenous communities.  The process of translating the Constitutional Court Ruling on the land rights of ADAT (customary) communities has brought together representatives of all relevant ministries in the country to ensure a “whole of government” approach.

Going forward, we encourage Indonesia’s government and civil society partners to give even higher priority to mainstreaming gender in REDD+ implementation. Women are more vulnerable to the impacts of deforestation and forest degradation than are men, both directly, in that they are responsible for household provisioning, and indirectly because they are poorer than men. Women’s meaningful participation in REDD+ programming will make those programmes more effective. Women have unique knowledge and skills relating to forest management.

UNDP  commends the Government of Indonesia for designing a REDD+ programme whose scope and ambition takes into account the complexities and challenges of the development issues presented by forest governance and climate change mitigation.

We acknowledge the vital supporting role of the government’s partners, in indigenous communities, civil society, the international community, and the private sector.

As Indonesia moves towards the next phase of its REDD+ programme, it is our role, as partners, to offer the best support we can, including finance, and also our political support, technical expertise, and our innovations.

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