The implementation of REDD+ in Indonesia has the potential to cut the rate of deforestation, reduce green-house emissions and support the livelihoods of local forest populations. The scheme has already received substantial funding from multilateral organizations, bilateral agreements, national budget and other sources. The most significant funding commitments are the USD 2 billion loan commitments from the World Bank/JICA/AFD for the development of climate change policies including REDD+, and the USD 1 billion grant commitment from the Government of Norway through the Letter of Intent signed with the Government of Indonesia (GoI) to support Indonesia's Climate Change program including REDD+.

In their study on Mencegah Risiko Korupsi dalam REDD+ di Indonesia1 (Preventing the Risk of Corruption in REDD+ in Indonesia), CIFOR asserts that the risk of corruption exists when there is a large amount of money and when the market and the fund flow mechanism are still just starting and growing.

In 2011-2 Transparency International Indonesia (TI-I) conducted a corruption risk mapping on REDD+ development and implementation, which identified potential risks for corruption to be tackled in order for the initiative to be successful in Indonesia. The main risks identified included: risk of state capture in the policy making process; risk of redistribution of REDD+ revenues to favour vested interests; bribery in forest licensing processes and REDD+ procurement processes; and fraudulent manipulation of MRV data.

Beyond the central level policy development, the long-term success of the REDD+ program will depend to a great extent upon the translation and implementation of REDD+ policies within the forest rich regions of Indonesia. It was with this in mind that in 2014, TI-Indonesia set out to evaluate the progress and obstacles to the local preparedness for REDD+. TI-I’s study to assess the preparedness of provincial governments to prevent the risk of corruption in the REDD+ program was conducted in four provinces namely Jambi, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Central Sulawesi. These provinces were selected because the provincial governments have already signed an agreement either with the UKP4/REDD+ Task Force or with the BP REDD+ to implement the REDD+ program.

TI-I’s research found that over the last five years the four target provinces have yet to show significant improvement in the implementation of forest governance policies, forest and land licensing and rehabilitation. Key issues that persist include the uncertainty of forest areas and the lack of transparency in the forest and land rehabilitation process, as well as the lack of an effective mechanism to resolve the various conflicts over state forest/land2. Bribery and extortion related to the licensing of natural resources is a serious ongoing challenge to the effectiveness of REDD+, and found to be prevalent in nearly the entire licensing process.3

The implementation of national policies which are directly related to the REDD+ implementation such as the forest licensing moratorium have been actively promoted at the national level, but have not yet received adequate support from regional governments4. The implementation of revisions to national policies related to forest area stipulation and licensing—in this case initiated and coordinated by the KPK in form of a Memorandum of Understanding of 12 Ministries—has been met by varied responses. In general, the Indonesian Forest Concession Association (APHI) has supported the process since it has simplified the implementation of licensing processes5. However, the implementation of policy revision at central government has yet to be fully implemented in regions.

By considering the description of the corruption risk that may occur in the REDD+ program in Indonesia, TI-I submits recommendations to the GoI through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia that the government both central and local levels need to make efforts and implement initiatives to prevent corruption by creating and developing an effective and implementable system of corruption prevention in the REDD+ program. The development of this corruption prevention system is a strategic initial step as well as a priority since the implementation of the REDD+ program in Indonesia have just begun or will be commenced soon and it can be implemented through elaborating or operationalizing the principles, criterions, and indicators of Indonesia’s REDD+ safeguard or PRISAI in the form of guidelines and policies, consider in the PRISAI there have already been several principles, criterions, and indicators that can be related to the corruption prevention standard and system of the REDD+.

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