Walhi Critics of Indonesia's Plan to Leave the Paris Commitment

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (Walhi) assessed the statement of the Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan who said the Indonesian government threatened to leave the Paris Agreement inappropriately.

The statement is retaliation or a step of resistance for the release of the delegated act of the European Union (EU) Commission related to oil palm discrimination.

Walhi said that such statements should not be said carelessly. The maritime ministry should conduct discussions and internal government communications before issuing the statement.

“Our reaction from a statement that we think is haphazard, is not based on deep and erroneous thoughts when delivered by a coordinating minister,” said Walhi spokesmen Yuyun Harmono at a press conference in Jakarta, on Friday (03/29/2019).

As is known, Indonesia’s involvement in the Paris Agreement is a commitment of President Joko Widodo as stated at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris, France in 2015. Widodo, at the time, confirmed Indonesia’s commitment to being involved in efforts to tackle climate change which is a global problem. Under the Paris climate agreement, Indonesia has committed to reducing unconditional greenhouse gas emissions by 29 percent and conditionally by 41 percent by 2030.

Walhi asked the president to give a direct reprimand to Panjaitan because the Paris Agreement which had been ratified by Indonesia was the result of an agreement between the executive and parliament.

“We think President Widodo must strongly rebuke Maritime Affairs Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan for the statement issued and threaten to leave the Paris Agreement. Luhut is not a president who can arbitrarily issue such statements,” he said.

Walhi says Panjaitan’s threat that was delivered openly to the media also showed a weakness in coordination within the government related to the issue of climate change and improvement of oil palm governance in Indonesia.

Moreover, the agreement negotiated by 195 representatives of the country has been ratified through Law No. 16 of 2016.

In addition to contradicting President Widodo’s commitment, Minister Panjaitan’s statement was considered to be overstepping the House of Representative’s authority because it was not approved by the parliament.

“Why is it haphazard? Because it is not seen in a deep context. Because we know Widodo in 2015 stated his involvement in Paris’s commitment and this at international events. What contribution did emission reduction mean the government, President said Indonesia contributed 29 percent with its own business and 41 percent assistance international,” he said.

Walhi stressed that the commitment of a president cannot be immediately denied by a minister. Moreover, the statement is basically not to defend the people in general but those related to oil palm.

“This is a contradiction, the president said that he was involved in reducing emissions at the global level, the minister did it for the sake of trade and economic interests and openly represented the interests of the people, but the interests of oil corporations,” he said.

Panjaitan previously emphasized that Indonesia would emerge from the Paris Agreement related to climate change due to discrimination in crude palm oil (CPO) in the EU

Senior Economist, Faisal Basri criticized the plan and considered that the government’s steps were not right. The government should introspect why the EU can discriminate against palm oil products.

“I had a discussion with Commission Eradication Commission. How rude is this” first read “why the EU boycotted our oil? Because there are lots of overlapping land for palm oil including thousands of hectares of land which should be the forest. So the issue is the environment,” he said.

In addition, according to him, what is more, appropriate to solve the problem is not the Maritime Coordinating Minister Pandjaitan, but Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. Because the problem is diplomatic relations between countries, he added.

“If so, submit it to the Minister of Foreign Affairs because there have been negotiations between countries. Because if there is anything, this is not just a matter of oil palm, diplomatic affairs as a whole,” he said.

If all EU allegations prove wrong, the most appropriate step is to bring the case to the World Trade Organization (WTO). “Do we see that the EU accusations are true or not? If the accusation is untrue, bring it to the WTO,” he added.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com