Budi N

Budi N

Budi Nugroho P.

 

24
March

Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Indonesia Vincent Guérend stated that the EU market, comprising 28 member states, is completely open to palm oil.

"We should not forget the big picture. The EU market (28 member states) is completely open to palm oil. There is no such thing as a ban on palm oil," Guérend noted in a statement received here on Friday.

This delegated European Commission regulation is neither the beginning nor the end of a policy process, rather it is just one more step on a long and collective journey towards sustainable development and carbon neutrality, Guérend remarked.

The EU is the second-largest market for Indonesian palm oil, after India but before China.

Most of Indonesia's palm oil enters the EU with zero or very low tariffs, specifically 22 percent at zero duty and 55 percent below 5.1 percent. The same cannot be said for other importing markets, Ambassador Guérend pointed out.

"As a defender of the rules-based order, we comply with the WTO rules and abide by its rulings," he noted.

In this regard, the EU views RED II and the delegated act as being WTO compatible since RED II establishes sustainability criteria for biofuels and biomass that are global, objective, and non-discriminatory, the ambassador stated.

These sustainability criteria do not single out any specific biofuel or feedstock.

The REDII sustainability criteria identify sustainable biofuels that are eligible for public support or accounted against the EU and national renewable energy targets.

They do not limit the market access of imported biofuels to the EU, Ambassador Guerend remarked.

He revealed that the EU is committed to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, both in its internal and external policies. This is joint endeavor for the EU, all EU member states, and Indonesia.

Our doors have always been open and will remain so for frank discussion and dialogue with the Indonesian government and other stakeholders on this issue, the ambassador stated.

"We also expect that the establishment of a joint working group between the EU and relevant ASEAN member states to address issues relating to palm oil will serve as another avenue for discussions," Ambassador Guerend remarked.  (ant) 

24
March

The European Union (EU) is committed to ensuring the sustainability of bioenergy, and is advancing toward its 2020 and 2030 energy and climate targets.

"We also continue to build an Energy Union with secure, affordable and sustainable energy," Ambassador of the EU to Indonesia Vincent Guérend said in a statement here on Friday.

As part of our comprehensive policy framework, a new binding, renewable energy target for the EU for 2030 of at least 32 persons was agreed upon between the European Parliament and the EU Member States in June last year through the adoption of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII).

Biofuels are an important element of the EU’s renewable energy policy. However, rules are needed to ensure the production of feedstock for biofuels is sustainable and does not cause deforestation through indirect land use change (ILUC), Guerend remarked.

The Renewable Energy Directive (a modality of the EU law), which is already in force, therefore includes a new approach, ensuring that crops used for the production of biofuels are not sourced from recently deforested areas or peatlands – no matter where they are produced – and they have not merely displaced other production to high-carbon, high-nature value areas, elsewhere either, Guerend said.

He said that no specific biofuel or feedstock is targeted. All vegetable oils are treated equally. Palm oil is not identified as a bad biofuel.

The Directive mandates the gradual reduction of certain types of biofuels in keeping with the renewable energy targets, Guerend said.

For the implementation of this directive, the European Commission adopted on March 13 a delegated act (a European Commission Regulation), as requested by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU (the EU Institution representing Member States).

Both institutions have, during a two-month scrutiny period, a right to express objections, after which, if none are received, the text will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union, he said.

The delegated act, accompanied by a report, is based on the best available scientific data (2008-2015). The reference period starts in 2008 because this is the cut-off date contained in the EU sustainability criteria for biofuels. The year 2015 has the latest available consistent data.

The data shows that palm oil has been associated with the highest level of deforestation and over the period 2008-2015, 45 percent of the expansion of palm oil took place in high carbon stock areas, he said.

This is not comparable to other feedstock. Palm oil that is certified as low ILUC risk can continue to benefit from incentives. Exemptions, for example, include planting on unused lands. Another exception is for smallholders, noting the importance of smallholders in Indonesia and Malaysia.  

Guerend said that the delegated regulation has set a threshold of two hectares for smallholders to ensure that their tenure and independence over land is secured.

This finding is based on the FAO smallholder farmers' data portrait - which provides a comprehensive, systematic and standardized overview of the profile of smallholder farmers across the world. Palm oil farms with 25 or 50 ha cannot be deemed "small" or family-run anymore; they would typically employ 5 to 10 professional full time workers.

Indeed, the productivity factor of palm oil is higher than that of other crops but the factor used in the formula to determine the ILUC is calculated based on the energy content of traded products of different annual crops such as soy, rape seed and sunflower, compared to palm oil.

The European Commission will reassess the data, and if appropriate, the methodology in 2021 and will carry out a revision of the delegated regulation in 2023. At that moment, any efforts undertaken by Indonesia (such as a revamped  ISPO, the moratorium, the one map policy, or the recently adopted national action plan) will be taken into account, Ambassador Guerend said. (ant)

25
March

The Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) held a declaration of joint commitment ahead of the convening of open campaigns to ensure that the parliamentary and presidential elections will run fairly, honestly, democratically, and with dignity.

"With this joint commitment, we must maintain the convening of peaceful and dignified elections," said Chairperson of Bawaslu Abhan Nur In Jakarta on Saturday.

The declaration was attended by Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, Chair of the National Campaign Team (TKN) of the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin pair, Erick Thohir, Deputy Chairperson of the National Winning Body (BPN) of the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pair, Mardani Ali Sera, and the commissioners of the General Elections Commission (KPU).

Abhan stated that a commitment was needed to safeguard the elections from the practices of money politics, and the spread of fake news.

"The people's good understanding in politics is our common hope and an investment in democracy that is very important for this nation," Abhan said.

Therefore, Abhan stressed that in campaign advertisements, as well as open campaigns or mass gatherings due to kick off  on Sunday (March 24) , the elections' participants  must prioritize the ideas of vision and mission rather than proliferate black campaigns in the form of fake and slanderous news.

"This year's elections must present a political practice that  truly educates the life of a dignified nation," Abhan said.

Furthermore, Abhan also called on the people and elections' participants to remain vigilant and improve togetherness and cooperation to create peaceful and fair elections without being disrupted by political turmoil.

"The dignified and peaceful elections are a non-negotiable price. Whoever wins the elections is our brother," he said.

The declaration was also attended by the representatives of the State Civil Apparatus Commission, Indonesian military and police, and Attorney General's Office.

25
March

Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry would increase the production capacity of wind power plant (PLTB) in Sidrap District, South Sulawesi within the next two to three years.

"The power plant in Sidrap would be expanded," the ministry's Director of Renewable Energy Harris said in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara on late Saturday.

"Currently the power plant only has the capacity to produce 75 megawatt (of electricity). It would be increased by 50 to 60 megawatt, so it could produce 125-130 megawatt of electricity," Harris said.

Sidrap wind power plant is the first wind power project in the country and the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia.

It has 30 windmills each with 80-meter high tower and 57-meter long propellers. Each tower produces 2.5 MW of electricity.

Sidrap wind power plant is the first commercial plant of its kind developed by PT UPC Sidrap Bayu, and it can power up to 150,000 households with 450 KVA of apparent power capacity.

The power plant located in Sidenreng Rappang (Sidrap) District of South Sulawesi is said to become a pioneer for the development of renewable energy in Indonesia.

President Joko Widodo when inaugurated the power plant in July 2018 has expressed hope that the development of Sidrap wind power plant would help the government to reach its target of 23 percent contribution of renewable energy to the country’s electricity production by 2025.