Are we neglecting people’s importance?

A Lubuk Beringin villager, Siti Bainor, shows a palm nut fruit at Lubuk Beringin vaillage, Bungo district, Jambi province, Indonesia. Photo by Tri Saputro for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

A Lubuk Beringin villager, Siti Bainor, shows a palm nut fruit at Lubuk Beringin vaillage, Bungo district, Jambi province, Indonesia. Photo by Tri Saputro for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Does climate change not matter? Are we still neglecting the importance of people?

Both of these questions are constantly discussed in countries worldwide, and they create cooperation too. However, it’s not only cooperation that is necessary, but also participation — particularly participation from people, not only from the government, related organizations, and NGOs. Transparency must be maintained in cooperation with people.

Southeast Asia reportedly contains some of the largest rainforest areas in the world. If we counted the value of ecosystem services that are given by forests, it would be around $2 billion, according to a session at the Forests Asia Summit entitled “Climate change: Low-emissions development and societal welfare ­ trade offs, risks and power struggles in forest and climate change policy arenas”.

In other words, it is a shade economy — referring to an economy that does not physically exist and in which value comes not from money but from benefit — because no one would pay for carbon and preventative ecosystem services.

Meanwhile, food conversion — when a food is substituted food with an alternative food because of problems like high cost or low productivity — needs about $135 billion but, if we look at the sector’s economy, the profit obtained is only $1 billion. So people have a crucial role; through them, the market will develop if people, or human resources, are good.

Valuing the role of people is practiced in Latin America, according to the summit session, where forests are monitored and protected using software like the MRV satellite, used specifically to monitor Latin American forests. The software does not need internet. It was developed by Latin America itself and succeeded in collecting a great deal of data about the changes in forests and ecosystems. It is surely of priceless benefit to the government.

In another part of the world, southeast Kenya is protecting its people with land amounting to 200,000 hectares, as of 15 years ago, said speakers in the summit session. Menaces in this region include agricultural expansion, charcoal combustion, and illegal dislodgement. The methods of these issues are implemented ensuring that everything is fair and transparent.

Another lesson we can take is from Norway. The country has a significant convention about mitigating climate change. The way it has developed new technology has become an example for other countries. However, helping to reduce the impact of climate change is the most important thing. Norway has made a cooperation agreement with Indonesia. Norway believes in benefiting people who received this resource, and showing concrete benefits.

Climate change is a complex problem. “We as a company believe transparency is the most important thing, so [people] believe us too,” said PT Rimba Makmur, a company that was represented during the session in question. It is a must that we include people in order to reduce the impact of climate change. Good forest management, involving people, will support a reduction in the impact of climate change. It is also related to supporting economic growth.

Benefits for society in green economics include cohesion, security, land tenure, land use and diversified income. Cooperation and participation are crucial to make this succeed.

Farrah Putri Aprilia is a student of Bogor Agriculture University, Indonesia.

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