H.E. DR. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
THEMATIC PLENARY OF
THE HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
NEW YORK, 24 SEPTEMBER 2007
Let me begin by thanking Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for convening this timely event and for placing climate change on top of this year's UN General Assembly agenda.
We meet at a time when world public opinion has never been as focused on the issue of global warming as it is today. There is now a much bigger window of opportunity-bigger than Kyoto-opened by a surge of public consciousness of climate change.
The question is whether we have the sense of urgency to make the necessary choices and take the crucial initiatives that will curb global warming.
I believe we can. And we will. But first we must dare to think outside the box. We must all recalibrate our perspectives and adopt a fresh approach. While we uphold the principle of "common and differentiated responsibilities," let us all do more and do things differentiy.
I am heartened at the recent Vienna Climate Talk, where Parties to the Kyoto Protocol finally recognized the need for industrialized countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
There are local entities that are pursuing bold mitigation targets that far exceed national, regional and international targets. Their message to the world is clear: you do need not wait for the signing of a global consensus to do more to reduce greenhouse emissions.
We the developing countries can also do more. We should create building blocks in the form of innovative and forward-looking national strategies covering mitigation and adaptation, while taking advantage of the opportunities opened by emerging low-carbon economic incentives.
These building blocks should take into account market mechanisms and other enabling mechanisms such as fiscal and regulatory approaches that can reduce the cost of mitigation and he'p mobilize the required investments.
What we need most can be summed up in one word: technology. We must therefore figure out how developing nations can obtain that technology-either from the developed countries or from one another. In this regard, APEC has done right to establish an Asia-Pacific Network for Energy Technology.
In the same spirit, Indonesia and Norway have developed cooperation on carbon sequestration technology to reduce emissions from our oil drilling.
We should also look closely into mitigation opportunities by conserving, preserving and expanding the world's carbon sinks contained in our forests.
Indonesia has therefore taken the initiative of launching a Special Leaders' Meeting of Tropical Rainforest Countries today here in New York, where countries blessed with large tracts of tropical rainforests will gather and formulate a constructive proposal to strengthen the role of forests in reducing global warming.
We are doing this as a moral imperative and a matter of national interest. And because these tropical rain forests serve a critically strategic role as our planet's carbon sinks, the so-called "lungs of the earth", these forestry initiatives deserve
stronger support and more meaningful incentives.
Let us therefore encourage the carbon market to give a better price for each ton of carbon saved. Let us also encourage multinational companies to support the endeavours of rainforest countries at reforestation and preventing deforestation.
Indonesia is working closely with Australia, South Korea and the United States in promoting reforestation in kalimantan and Sumatra. We are also cooperating closely with Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam in the "Heart of Borneo" project, which covers some 22 million square kilometers of lush tropical rain forests.
Aside from forestry measures, there is an array of mitigation options that we must explore-- including increased energy efficiency, nuclear power, biomass energy and other forms of fuel substitution. We have all the technology to make mitigation work. What we need is the right attitude-- the optimism to give technology a chance to work wonders.
Another challenge that every community must face is adaptation. In this regard, let me now draw your attention to the plight of small island states all over the world. They cannot simply build seawalls like The Netherlands has done to protect their citizens from rising sea level. They must rely on the support of the international community to avoid disappearing in a watery grave.
Consider also that around these small islands is a vast expanse of coral reefs that will be severely affected by the warming of the oceans. This is the Coral Reef Triangle, covering an area of 5,7 million square km, stretching from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Solomon Islands. It is home to over 70 percent of the world's coral species, and is the source of livelihood of over 120 million people.
That is why Indonesia has launched the Coral Triangle Initiative for Corals, Fisheries and Food Security. I am grateful that APEC is supporting this initiative.
At the forthcoming 13th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Third Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which will both be held in Bali in December, we will have the opportunity to assure present and future generations that their prospects have not been dimmed by climate change. We can give that assurance if we have the political will to meet an enormous moral obligation with a sincere heart.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org