Indonesian officials visit Creswick to learn about forest management

Thirty government officials from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry have visited the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences’ Creswick campus to improve their knowledge in measuring, reporting and verifying emissions from forested land.

“For the second year in a row the School has run a Master level subject, called Forest Measurement and Reporting (REDD+), to assist developing countries such as Indonesia to implement the REDD+ scheme,” says Principal Subject Coordinator Dr Luba Volkova.

REDD+ – Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation – has been negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a financial mechanism to help developing countries reduce forest deforestation and consequently, their greenhouse gas emissions.

The purpose of the course is to support participants to analyse the current status of all aspects of Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) for REDD+ in Indonesia to establish a set of demand-driven priorities to fill gaps and enhance the excellent work already completed by the Government of Indonesia. Indonesia ranks in the top ten countries for forest area in the world and with a population of over 250 million people, it depends heavily on land for agriculture, timber production and mining. Improving forest management and the enhancement of carbon stocks is a clear priority for Indonesia, which has voluntarily committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 26 per cent on its own efforts, and up to 41 per cent with international support by 2020.

The participants also visited the Woodward Centre in Parkville to give presentations on the progress with the gap - analysis for REDD+ implementation in Indonesia. At the Centre students were greeted by senior academics from the Faculty including Deputy Dean, Professor Aleks Owczarek and Head of School, Professor Ian Woodrow. The event was attended by senior staff from the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy including the Director of International Partnerships Mr Anthony Bennie. Mr Bennie was impressed with the spirit of collaboration between officials from different departments of the Ministry and the high standard of the gap analysis presentations.

“The course combines the world’s best capacity building material for REDD+ MRV, made available by several Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) partners, including SilvaCarbon, The UN-REDD Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) & The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS),” says Julian Fox, Team Leader, National Forest Monitoring, FAO.

“Moreover the teaching materials have been compiled and presented within the framework of the professional teaching structures of the University of Melbourne.”

The training material was based on the GFOI online resource known as REDDcompass. REDDcompass contains material prepared by an international team of authors from all GFOI partners. The course is an innovative approach for coordinating across and within agencies to plan and implement MRV of greenhouse gas emissions from REDD+ activities. The guidance material presented is consistent with the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility methodological framework, and is also assisting to inform the REDD+ specific concepts into the 2019 refinement of the IPCC good practice guidance.

The course was financially supported by the Australian Government through the Department of the Environment and Energy and implemented by FAO and the University of Melbourne.