JAKARTA – Indonesia’s foreign minister on Thursday defended her country’s objection to a global deforestation pledge made last week, promising during a visit by her British counterpart to “walk the talk” on climate commitments.
Indonesia, home to a third of the world’s rainforests, was among 137 countries at the COP26 climate summit in Britain that signed an agreement to end deforestation by 2030.
But days later Indonesia backtracked, making clear that its own interpretation of the pledge was less absolute https://reut.rs/3bY2PND than ending deforestation completely.
Highlighting progress in reducing deforestation to its lowest in two decades, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss that Indonesia would transform its forest and land-use sectors.
“Indonesia’s concrete achievements on forestry sector is beyond doubt,” she told a news conference in Jakarta after meeting Truss.
“I underlined that Indonesia does not want to be trapped in rhetoric. We prefer to walk the talk.”
Forest fires had dropped by 82% in 2020, while emissions in 2019 fell by 40.9% compared to four years earlier, she said.
Environmentalists criticised Indonesia’s chaotic about-face, saying it was at odds with the Glasgow declaration.
Environment minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, who attended the summit, had caused a stir by saying the pledge that Indonesia agreed to was “clearly inappropriate and unfair”.
Vice foreign minister Mahendra Siregar later said the pledge did not mean deforestation would be halted completely, but referred instead to “sustainable forest management”.