Number : S. 302 /HUMAS/PP/HMS.3/4/2016
*171 Countries Sign Paris Agreement, 13 Countries Deposit Their Instruments of Ratification
23 April 2016 - As the representative of President Joko Widodo, the Minister of the Environment and Forestry, Dr. Siti Nurbaya, signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at a High-Level Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement held at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday (April 22, 2016). The event was hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who organized it according to the mandate of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP-21) in December 2015. As per the request of the UN Secretariat, the Minister of Environment and Forestry acted as Co-Chair of the final session where she delivered her national statement.
The Paris Agreement is a monumental global agreement on tackling climate change. The commitment of individual countries is expressed through a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) for the period from 2020-2030, in addition to any action prior to 2020. The Paris Agreement is supported by 195 countries, in contrast to the pre-2015 period, which was marked by an absence of key countries such as the US and Australia.
The Paris Agreement will enter into force only when ratified by 55 countries that produce at least 55% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. It is expected that this threshold will be reached in the not too distant future, given the high level of participation in the Agreement Signing Ceremony. 171 countries signed the agreement while 13 countries (mostly small island developing states) immediately deposited their instruments of ratification. Countries with high emission levels, such as the US, China, EU, Russia, Japan, and India, all signed the Paris Agreement.
In her remarks, the Minister of the Environment and Forestry emphasized that Indonesia may be prepared to become one of the first 55 countries to ratify the agreement. This would be subject to consideration of the importance of the environment, according to the 1945 Constitution which stipulates the need to provide a good environment for all the country's citizens, as well as the importance of the support of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI).
The Minister went on to point out that Indonesia is fully aware that forestry and land use are among the most significant sectors in curbing climate change, not least because 65% of Indonesia's total area of 187 million km2 is covered in forests, which are hugely rich in biodiversity.
In her remarks, which received a very positive response, the Minister also described the consistent measures undertaken by the Government of Indonesia in the context of controling climate change. For example, Indonesia established the Peatland Restoration Agency in January 2016 as a prompt reaction to the massive land and forest fires of 2015. Indonesia has also extended its policy of a moratorium on licensing in primary forests and peatlands. Furthermore, the Indonesian President recently declared a moratorium on licensing for palm oil and mining activities. Local governments have responded positively to the President's directive, with the Governor of Aceh imposing a moratorium on palm oil and mining in the Leuser Ecosystem, and the East Kalimantan Governor imposing a moratorium on coal mining.
The Minister also explained that Indonesia has attempted to engage all components of society (the private sector, students, local governments and community groups) in participating in climate change-related action, encompassing the issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation, including through a national program called PROKLIM (The Climate Village program).
The Minister of Environment and Forestry concluded her remarks by saying, "History has noted that it is possible to achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while still achieving economic growth, as has been shown by a number of developed countries. Indonesia encourages such developed countries to show leadership by raising their ambitions, before and after 2020, both in reducing emissions and in providing support to developing countries in the form of finance, technology and capacity building, in order that we can attain the target of keeping the rise in global temperatures below 2