Tempo - 13 May 2020
Indonesia, EU hopeful on green agenda amid pandemic
By Dio Suhenda
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has revealed that hopes remain high in maintaining their diplomatic and economic ties with Indonesia, geared to fulfill the Commission’s Green Deal.
As stated by Chief of the European Commission Executive Vice President’s Private Office, Diederik Samsom, the European Union (EU) Green Deal, first presented in December 2019, is a set of environmental and climate policies aiming to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
"The Green Deal is different. For once, politicians did not go for the feasible; we set out ambitions to what is necessary to preserve our environment for the future. We set a range of targets with high ambitions about our ecosystem,” Samsom explained, in an online seminar, held on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.
However, according to Samsom, the environmental pact is currently going through a number of changes as the set of climate policies adjust to the pandemic. Specifically, the deal aims to integrate its green agenda with economic recovery plans by prioritizing the investment goals within the Green Deal.
“For example, the ‘renovation wave’ part of the Green Deal, a plan to renovate homes for the future; we put that front and center. Those investments deliver jobs especially to Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and they deliver lower energy bills to those living in the houses,” he explained.
The European Commission, Samsom explained, has planned to take a dominant approach and increase the standards of commitment to the Green Deal, including for the Commission’s trading partner. “We are trying to raise the playing field for everybody,” he remarked.
Although commitments to environmental concern may not be popular outside of Europe, the European Commission hopes to foster new global standards in environmental awareness with their trading partners, including Indonesia.
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) has stated that the Green Deal remains relevant and in line with the nation’s sustainable development programs. According to KADIN Deputy Chief for International Relations, Shinta Kamdani, Indonesia targets to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by 29 percent in 2030, and 41 percent with support.
“Green economy is important and not a new concept. In 2012, the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) created guidelines for the green economy. Today, the green agenda has been adjusted and carried out as sustainable development goals and recent economic development agendas,” explained Shinta, in today’s online seminar.
Although Indonesia is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, Shinta pointed out that Indonesian businesses remain open to European support, especially in addressing the market demand for Crude Palm Oil.
“We do need support in terms of fulfilling the standard and get more capacity building in this sector. As we have the IEUCEPA (Indonesia—European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement, I think this is an area we can look at for cooperation opportunities,” she said.
As a number of business sectors have been ground to a halt by the pandemic, KADIN sees the pause in operation to be an opportunity to develop a more green agenda, as businesses transform post the pandemic.
As a result, Shinta has reminded the Central Government and all the relevant ministries, through Bappenas, to include a green agenda in their COVID-19 recovery policies for all business levels.
“It’s important that COVID-19 should not be an excuse to leave the agenda behind. It’s important that we use this as a momentum, while businesses are transforming and as the government is looking for the new normal,” she added.