Indonesia and other countries that significantly contribute to the world’s high carbon emissions must take concrete steps to address climate change, United Nations representative to Indonesia Anita Nirody said on Thursday.
“Climate change is happening now, and it is happening to all of us. Not only to a few people, but the impact of climate change will also be felt by all human beings,” she said during a post-Ramadan gathering with the press in Central Jakarta.
Nirody stressed that climate change needed to be addressed together and that Indonesia, as one of the world’s largest stakeholders on the environment, must fight alongside the UN to overcome the pertinent issue.
“Indonesia is a very important player because it impacts global policies that [deal with] climate change. What Indonesia does will impact not only the country but also the world,” she said, lamenting Indonesia’s high rank among global contributors to carbon emissions.
Indonesia has been named the world’s fifth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases by the Washington-based World Research Institution, “mainly due to the conversion of its forests and carbon-rich peatlands”.
And while Jakarta has in recent years stressed the importance of integrating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with its national agenda, Nirody said that more investments are required in order to achieve progress in the realization of SDGs in Indonesia.
“Progress cannot occur only with the work of one institution or even the government. The UN needs partnerships with the private sector, the media, youth and civil society organizations,” she argued.
“This is a big agenda and [it] needs integrated action to implement it.”
She noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently took part in a campaign on climate change by posing in knee-high water for the June issue of Time magazine. The picture was taken just off the coast of Tuvalu, a tiny Pacific nation considered one of the countries most vulnerable to rising global sea levels.
“What the secretary-general was doing was ask world leaders to come [up with] concrete plans on how they are going to [address climate change]. It is not about speeches and conferences and talks, but concrete [action]. So, this effort will result in ‘one step for all’,” Nirody explained.
The UN is expected to hold its Climate Change Summit on Sept. 23, with the secretary-general and all UN member countries participating, including Indonesia.
“The secretary-general has always said that we need to have Plan A because there is no Planet B. The Earth is the only planet we have,” she said.