Leveraging action on deforestation for water, energy and food security in Indonesia

Leveraging action on deforestation for water, energy and food security in Indonesia

Indonesian Tropical Forest

This project examines how Indonesia can transition away from its current 'business as usual' development model and achieve its water, energy and food security goals without further deforestation. In doing so, it identifies opportunities and challenges for the necessary coordinated development strategies that recognise and account for the true value of natural resources, their ecosystem services, and the inherent resource trade-offs between sectors.

Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and aims to become one of the world’s top ten largest economies by 2025. Yet rapid economic development has gone hand-in-hand with environmental degradation, and threatens to undermine these economic gains. Recognising the need for sustainable development, the Government of Indonesia’s current medium-term development plan (RPJMN 2015-2019) seeks to increase development without environmental degradation. Water, energy and food security are at the heart of
the nation’s economic development strategy. These goals are inextricably linked to their reliance on properly functioning ecosystems. Forests
and peatlands are widely recognised as offering a low-cost pathway to securing water, energy and food security while guaranteeing biodiversity protection, and supporting efforts towards emissions reduction and climate change mitigation goals.

Achieving the RPJMN goals will require a holistic and integrated approach that recognises the interdependency between water, energy and food and systems and their reliance on natural resources. This approach has been coined the ‘Water-Energy-Food (WEF) nexus’.

“Indonesia’s natural capital base is being eroded, with corresponding impacts on the country’s food, water and energy security, and, ultimately, on the prosperity of all Indonesians.” Bappenas Green Growth Program

This project aims to use a WEF nexus approach to identify the challenges and opportunities for Indonesia to achieve water, energy and food security targets in ways that align with its long term development strategy, particularly its efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation. 

In particular, the project uses a water-energy-food (WEF) nexus approach to: 

  1. Understand the role of forests and their ecosystem services in supporting water, energy and food security. This includes an in-depth study on understanding the links between deforestation and flooding in Aceh 
  2. Identify and evaluate resource trade-offs and synergies across different sector targets. For example, with finite agricultural land area, improvements in productivity may not be sufficient to achieve self-sufficiency in multiple food crops and oil palm production targets
  3. Assess opportunities to improve coordination between and within different sectors and scales in balancing environmental protection and economic prosperity. This includes assessing how Indonesia’s existing governance frameworks facilitate or hinder cross-sector coordination and lessons from REDD+, a climate mitigation strategy focused on reducing deforestation and degradation that Indonesia has pursued since 2007. 

This is a collaborative project between the Global Canopy Programme and the Wildlife Conservation Society Indonesia. It is funded by The Climate and Development Knowledge Network www.cdkn.org