RDI Collaborate with Lancaster University in Reviewing Indonesia’s Forest Fire Management
On August 24, 2021, RDI organized a webinar in collaboration with Lancaster University, with support from the University of Malaya, Institut Pertanian Bogor, and the World Resource Institute. This webinar, titled "Transboundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia: Impact and Forest Fire Management in Indonesia," was convened to facilitate a discussion forum centered around policies, implementation strategies, best practices, and experiences related to disaster risk management concerning fires and community-led initiatives. The primary goal of this webinar was to disseminate information regarding the significant challenges associated with forest fire preparedness, mitigation, and response in Indonesia and neighboring countries.
The guest speaker for this webinar was Dr. Emmanuel Tsekleves from Lancaster University, who delivered a presentation titled "Addressing Transboundary Haze Pollution in South East Asia through Community Engagement in Indonesia." His presentation highlighted several crucial elements in forest fire management, including an understanding of the multifaceted drivers of conflicts, the importance of community engagement to enhance public awareness, resilience, and preparedness in forest management, and the necessity for a new approach that prioritizes proactive measures through co-design and community involvement rather than reactive post-action responses.
The subsequent presentation was delivered by Prof. Dr. Ir. Bambang Hero Saharjo from Bogor Agricultural University, titled "Peat Fires versus Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Reduction." He discussed how peat fires have severe negative impacts, are challenging to combat, generate significant GHG emissions, and disrupt the ecological environment. He emphasized the need for multi-level collaboration involving all stakeholders and setting clear targets to reduce GHG emissions caused by peat fires. Prof. Bambang also noted that GHG calculations should not heavily rely on IPCC emission factors, as many of these data points are overestimated. Instead, it is preferable to base GHG calculations on field-based scientific data.
The third presentation was delivered by Dr. Helena binti Muhammad Varkkey from the University of Malaya, titled "Haze in Southern Southeast Asia: Regional Effects, Cooperation, and Engagement." This session explored how the impacts of transboundary haze pollution extend beyond the environment to affect the socio-economic and political context in the region. Various initiatives have been undertaken to address this issue, including the ASEAN Transboundary Pollution Act of 2003, which specifically addresses the haze problem.
Following the presentations, there was an in-depth discussion and a Q&A session featuring Dr. Arief Wijaya and Dr. Ir. Lailan Safina, M.Sc. The discussion highlighted the interconnectedness of peat management and transboundary haze pollution. Ultimately, the participants agreed that effective forest fire management requires sustainable management of peat and land, multi-stakeholder and multi-sector collaboration, community engagement, a heightened focus on technological monitoring aspects, and a prioritization of socio-economic (agricultural) considerations in the development of new solutions.