31 January 2023

Strengthening Blue Carbon Ecosystem Governance Needs Integrated Policies

Indonesia has lost 50 percent of its mangroves in the last three decades. The absence of integrated policies makes it difficult to protect mangrove forests, one of the blue carbon ecosystems that support the lives of coastal communities.

On the 2nd Day of the Seminar, Ir. Hartono, Head of BRGM in his remarks appreciated the IOJI study which included recommendations that BRGM is currently working on. To strengthen mangrove regulations, BRGM together with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry are preparing a legal umbrella for mangrove management in the form of a Government Regulation on the Protection and Management of Mangrove Ecosystems.

In many coastal areas of Indonesia, people “are very dependent on the ecosystems available in mangrove forests,” said Program Director of the Mangrove Ecosystem Restoration AllianceIndonesian Nature Conservation Foundation (MERA-YKAN), M. Imran Amin. At the same time, blue carbon ecosystems (EKB) are vulnerable to rampant socio-economic activities, as well as conflicts over the use of space and resources.

The reminder was delivered in a webinar following the launch of the IOJI study entitled “Blue Carbon Ecosystems as Critical Natural Capital: Blue Carbon Ecosystem Governance in Indonesia” on 30-31 January 2023.

“Effective and sustainable management of mangroves can strengthen the income of coastal communities and the state,” he warned. Not only by the government, management must also involve the synergy and active participation of all stakeholders.

This means that EKB governance should also involve the local community in an essential way (meaningful).

However, what often happens is that people still feel uncertain about tenure security in the EKB area closest to them. Tenure security includes matters related to land ownership and use. For example, community access to resources, the right to enjoy the benefits of the nearest ecosystem and the right to participate in its management.

Director of Conservation and Marine Biodiversity of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Firdaus Agung stated that the blue carbon ecosystem management scheme by communities in coastal areas can be carried out in two schemes. Each is:

  • Partnership with a conservation area management unit – through the establishment of community use sub-zones
  • Identification and determination of customary law community management areas and identification of sea space utilization for livelihoods – through facilitating the determination of customary management areas and suitability of sea space utilization activities for local and or traditional communities.

In order to maximize these efforts, coastal communities need a sustainable funding scheme; good for their lives and livelihoods as well as for the surrounding coast.

Sustainable Financing

Sustainable financing in the EKB area “requires optimal budget politics. Currently, the government’s budget allocation for protection and forest agendas is still limited,” said Senior Researcher at the Indonesia Budget Center (IBC), Roy Salam. He gave an example of financing which is only 0.3 percent of the total IDR 724 trillion of environmental balance funds.

He noted several challenges in EKB’s sustainable funding innovation. Among them are (1) the rigidity of the bureaucracy in translating strategic documents, (2) concerns about the transfer of knowledge and (3) the implementation of funding policies at the local government level.

Dr. Sonny Mumbunan, Coordinator of the Center for Climate and Sustainable Finance at the University of Indonesia, assessed that the development of an equitable benefit distribution scheme is often accompanied by an ambiguous selection of instruments or schemes. An example is the definition of costs and benefits. In addition, the spatial position of the related community ultimately determines the “just” aspect.

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