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"In 3 years we would have solved this"

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Helena Varkkey

on 31 January 2017

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Transcript of "In 3 years we would have solved this"

"In 3 years we would have solved this"
Jokowi, ASEAN and Transboundary Haze
Haze priority issue for Jokowi
Became President a month after Indonesia ratified the ATHP
Entered office during severe haze season
Only president to go on the ground
Studied forestry
Keraf as advisor (former Environment Minister, ATHP pioneer)

Requested ASEAN to give him 3 years
3 years full cooperation with ASEAN?
leave Indonesia alone for 3 years?
Efforts to Combat Haze
MOFE merger
Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG)
Law enforcement
Linking fire activity to KPI
Haze Emergency Task Force
Context of the ATHP
Limited success of ATHP often blamed on Indonesian non-ratification
ASEAN Coordination Centre for Haze
Fire-fighting cooperation
Addressing sensitive issues
2015 relatively haze-free, BUT more likely due to weather
winds not blowing north
La Nina dampened hotspots

ASEAN cautiously hopeful
tacitly accepted Indonesia's timeline
BUT commentators say 3 years is 'ridiculous'

Should ASEAN give Indonesia the breathing space?
The next El Nino cycle will tell
Jokowi & ASEAN
Jokowi seems serious about resolving haze, BUT...
SBY adminisation actually ratified ATHP
Would Jokowi have done the same?

MOFE merger
Before merger:
MOE a junior ministry
licenses given out without ecological considerations - haze more likely
After merger:
hoped for improved response to environmental issues
all permits under one roof - formally ordered ministry to tackle permit problems
presidential instruction - no new development on peatlands, including clawback (but not decree)
MOF traditionally more powerful
further complicate coordination
presidential instruction of no legal basis
Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG)
rehabilitate >2mil hectares by 2019
to increase resilience against fires

Plan of action:
mapping of burnt and degraded peatlands
presidential decree to speed up One Map
BUT still slow
determining best way to restore peatlands
BUT some scientists do not think it will work
2017: start of restoration works (state budget)
Law Enforcement
MOFE and police to work together to revoke licenses
executives from 7 companies arrested
revoked/suspended licenses of 27 firms
victory in high-profile cases (Kallista Alam, Nasional Sago Prima, Bumi Mekar Hijau)

BUT sometimes police do not cooperate
Riau police issued Letter of Order to Stop Investigations on 15 companies (lack of evidence)
linked to decentralization
central initiatives overruled by local administrators
protect wrongdoers (patron-client relations)
Linking fire activity to KPI
Attempt to reduce patronage
if fire activity detected, official removed from position
if none, promoted

BUT only limited to military and police
local administrators not answerable
Led by MOFE
National Police and Army, National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPT), Transportation Ministry, regional task forces

To overcome previous weaknesses
lack of financial support
lack of coordination with center
slow fire suppression due to slow permission to fly
Haze Emergency Task Force
BUT most initiatives focused on central level
Many root causes are local (limited clout)
decentralization of land management
patronage culture
ASEAN Coordination Centre for Haze
delayed ACCH and Secretariat in Riau
ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta overburdened

hoped for more ownership, coordination
BUT only one Workshop on the Preparation for the Establishment of the ACCH
no further updates
Fire-fighting cooperation
once fire spotted by ASMC, states could move in without diplomatic clearance
BUT only if both countries ratified

By law, provinces must declare emergency before requests for diplomatic clearance
BUT emergencies often declared late
Addressing sensitive issues
cannot influence land/forest policy, law enforcement
only applicable to ratified states

no indication that Jokowi's new policies done with ASEAN consultation
MOFE Minister absent from 2015 and 2016 COP meetings (sent energy advisor)
difficult for member states to advise and share best practises

Ratification has made little difference (at ASEAN level)
Not geared towards fulfilling ATHP responsibilities
Strengthening ability to manage fires without ASEAN
Gone wary of regional pressure?
Deliberately making it difficult to engage?
HENCE: three years of non-interference?
Turning away from ASEAN?
"if it is not beneficial, I won't do it...we'll still meet but not too much"

first foreign trip to China not, ASEAN states
not supportive of other initiatives
eg. ASEAN Economic Community's goal of a single market and production base
Turning away from ATHP?
Since ratification, Indonesia more reluctant on bilateral engagement
eg. Malaysia-Riau collaboration
defensive and aggressive attitudes at ASEAN
MOFE minister reluctant to accept meetings with counterpart
turned down fire-fighting assistance in 2015

"Indonesia has things under control...foreign help would be insignificant"
Understanding Jokowi
Way for Jokowi to forge his own path?
SBY focused on multilateralism, regional norms
Jokowi on nationalism, inward-looking "pro-people democracy"
merely fulfilling election promises?
seriousness about haze related to nationalistic concerns (people's well-being, not the region's)
very concerned about Indonesians living closest to the fires

Jokowi's political background?
fast rise from Governor of Jakarta
lack of political experience at international level
overconfidence on relying on internal means
underestimation of complexity of governing big country
confidence of 'mental revolution' to overcome patronage
BUT notoriously hard to dismantle or destroy
Helena Varkkey, University of Malaya (helenav@um.edu.my)
Full transcript