Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia: We Respect Indonesia's Decision
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - JUST two days after assuming the office of the Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia, Rut Krüger Giverin had to swallow a bitter pill in learning that the Indonesian government had terminated the cooperation agreement to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). On September 1, 2021, via a diplomatic note by the foreign ministry, the Indonesian government ended the decade-long collaboration citing Norway’s failure to pay US$56 million for a result-based contribution for the 11.2 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction Indonesia had achieved.
“For diplomats, this is also an interesting challenge as to how to start from zero to rebuild a good relationship again, to create trust and respect and slowly get back to working together.’’ Said Giverin during an interview with Tempo at her office on November 16.
Giverin reiterated that the Norwegian government understood the Indonesian government’s decision. On September 12, Indonesia and Norway inked a fresh Memorandum of Understanding in Partnership in Support of Indonesia’s Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Forestry and Other Land Use. The agreement signed by Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide and Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya in Jakarta was followed by the contribution agreement signed by Giverin and Environment Fund Management Agency (BPDLH) Chief Djoko Hendrato on October 19.
For around an hour, Giverin explained what she had done to restore the climate change cooperation as well as the challenges that lay ahead in the energy transition.
How did you rebuild cooperation with Indonesia after the REDD++ agreement was terminated in 2021?
For diplomats, Indonesia is a very interesting country to work in. Sometimes it’s a bit challenging but very interesting as well. And what we do in Indonesia is very important, not just for Norway and Indonesia, but for climate and forestry issues which are of global importance. So, for us, it gives a lot of motivation.
What is your reaction to the termination of the cooperation?
We respected the decision and we looked forward. And then we tried to find ways to work together again. We tried step by step to build trust and equal partnership. I had many discussions with my colleagues in the foreign ministry and the environment ministry, and a lot of people. I met and discussed with the ministers. That’s what diplomacy is all about. We need to take step by step to build trust so we can have an equal partnership based on common understanding and respect. Norway is a small country. Indonesia is a globally important country, not just in forestry but in general. For Norway, it’s important to respect and talk with Indonesia to deal with the challenges. In reducing emissions from the rainforests, Indonesia has delivered fantastic results over many years.
What measures have you taken?
When the LoI (letter of intent) was terminated, Norway said two things. We said we respected the Indonesian government’s decision and that we were very ready to discuss anytime as to how we could continue our support. So, slowly but surely we started to hold meetings and discuss how we could move forward together. We also had a new government in October last year. Our environment minister is very committed to making this cooperation work. Strong political commitment from our minister is very important. He came here last September and signed an MoU (memorandum of understanding). Now the discussions are continuing at the ministerial and ambassadorial levels.
What is the difference between the current scheme and the previous REDD+?
The previous agreement was signed in 2010. It was a long time ago so I think it’s only natural to have it updated. The main element in the new agreement is that we rely on Indonesia’s own system and we provide result-based fund contribution. The fund will be channeled via the BPDLH and fully managed by Indonesia.
After the contribution agreement with the BPDLH on October 19, is there any ongoing discussion?
The BPDLH prepared a detailed work plan and an investment framework. Basically, we support the FOLU (forestry and other land use) Net sink 2030 plus which was developed by the Indonesian government. The MoU is not just about the result-based payment, but also about a broad partnership regarding the issues of common interest.
(FOLU Net Sink 2030 is the target condition in 2030 where the carbon emission reduction from the forestry sector and other land use will have been balanced with or higher than the emission absorption.)
How will Norway monitor the fund use?
The BPDLH already has a very good reporting procedure. It has its own reporting system that we will follow.
What do you think of the FOLU Net Sink 2030?
Climate change is the biggest challenge the world is facing. It is a global problem and you cannot solve it on your own. You have to solve it through unilateral collaboration. If we look further, we have to acknowledge that to overcome climate change effects globally, we have to protect the rainforests given their crucial role in reducing emissions. So, that is the thought. Today, Indonesia is a world leader in protecting rainforests. What Indonesia does has an impact on the whole world. So, for Norway, it’s very logical to support Indonesia because what Indonesia does matters to the world and to us.
What does Norway benefit from supporting Indonesia in this?
Norway is strongly committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement. That is an international commitment. We recognize the crucial role Indonesia is playing at the global level.
Read the Full Interview in Tempo English Magazine