PROJECT: Mobilising efforts to reduce deforestation for water, energy and food security in Indonesia
Project Reference: RSGL-1402
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 these medium-term 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’.
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.
In particular, the project uses a water-energy-food (WEF) nexus approach to:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The research was led by the Global Canopy Programme, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Indonesia. It builds on a CDKN-funded project investigating the trade-offs, strategic priorities and entry points for the water-energy-food nexus in Latin America and the Caribbean and WEF security in Amazonia. CDKN is also funding research examining the current institutional arrangements and challenges for achieving integrated water-energy-food planning and decision making in Kenya.
Update and resources
The research produced recommendations for advancing water, energy and food security in Indonesia, which are detailed in the three reports and briefing notes, linked under Project Highlights below:
- How can Indonesia achieve water, energy and food security without eroding its natural capital?
- Aceh and the Archipelago Economy: Protecting forests for water, energy and food security
- Lessons from REDD+ for achieving water, energy and food security in Indonesia
Recommendations emerging from this research, and that in Latin America (see above) were shared at a COP22 side event.
An academic article on coordinating sectoral policy targets to secure food security and enable sustainable development was also submitted to a journal for publication.
CDKN funding: £280,000