Indonesia's Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice

Down to Earth No.82, September 2009

A DTE interview with Giorgio Budi Indrarto, Coordinator of Indonesia's Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice.

How is Indonesian civil society addressing climate change?

Climate change is not new for us. In fact, we have been talking about it since the beginning of the environmental movement in Indonesia. It is not an isolated issue but an accumulated impact of unsustainable development.

The momentum created in the run-up to COP 13 in Bali in December 2007, led to the birth of the Indonesian Civil Society Forum on Climate Justice, known as CSF. It was set up by a group of CSOs in Indonesia to address COP 13. As we are an open forum, CSF membership has up to now been quite flexible, however, we are now about to make changes to give us a clearer structure as an organisation.

Twenty nine civil society organisations (CSOs) are part of CSF. From the outset CSF has aimed to be both a pressure group and reference group centre for information at the same time. We want to be involved in the negotiation and deliberation of national regulations on climate change.

To achieve these aims, CSF has 3 working groups:


  • A field team which monitors livelihoods affected by climate change-related crises at grassroots level. It also supports grassroots initiatives to address climate change.
  • Our Intervention team aims to influence policy-making at national level and in the international arena, relying on the information provided by the field team.
  • The third group, the campaign team, works to amplify the voices from the grassroots, to put government decisions on climate change issues under the spotlight and to apply pressure where needed.

What is CSF's take on the series of negotiations leading up to Copenhagen? We haven't seen any positive developments up to Bonn Talks 3 (August 2009). Negotiators are buying time by delaying decision-making. Take REDD as an example: since Bonn Talks I we have seen REDD 'growing' to become REDD+. Since COP13 in Bali, we have remained consistent with our stance that developed countries have the responsibility to cut their emissions to avoid more than a 2°C increase. CSF also campaigns for HELP (see box), our common call since Bali. The four pillars of HELP should be used to measure mechanisms being negotiated at the UNFCCC. Unless it meets the HELP criteria, any mechanism will be viewed as a bogus answer to climate change.


What does CSF think of the Government of Indonesia's (GoI) position in the international climate change negotiations?

In our view, GoI's position is very weak in the negotiation process. For example, in Poznan, GoI clearly didn't have any coherence on various measures under discussion (adaptation, mitigation, financing). On REDD, for instance, GoI is very keen to implement REDD without considering the complexity of national forest management. On adaptation, GoI hasn't made much progress since Poznan, even though Indonesia is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and hence action is urgently needed. To move forward, the government should make it a priority to tackle underlying problems at home, then it can gain a stronger standing in the negotiations.


What is CSF's agenda for Copenhagen and beyond?

Up to Copenhagen our target is to raise the issue of climate change and to push for the adoption of HELP by GoI as the framework for its policy-making and reference point during negotiations. Having one foot in the official camp (eg via the intervention team), we can intervene on policy-making by providing inputs to the negotiation text. On the other hand, being a pressure group, we will keep campaigning on the urgency to adopt HELP as a framework. In short, this is how we keep the balance between working from within and pushing from the outside. All this work should be done at all levels including with local communities at grassroots level. Indeed, our campaigns and intervention work have been informed by reports about the real situation on the ground.

We don't see the Copenhagen summit as our ultimate goal. Instead it is a milestone in the negotiation process, providing there is no breakdown in the talks. Our focus remains on national policies, how they answer public needs.


How widely known is CSF in Indonesia?

Communities who work with CSF member organisations should know us. Beyond that, it varies. More importantly, however, we welcome any interested party to join us. Our target is to get the widest possible engagement of civil society.


H uman security
E cological debt
L and Tenure
P roduction and consumption

HELP is a framework to ensure climate change measures, including negotiations on climate change, meet the basic requirements of human security and especially those of vulnerable groups.

Natural resources management should respect human rights to ensure security of land tenure.

The Ecological debt of developed countries should be paid to lessen the burden of developing countries, at the very least by emissions reductions at home.

Lastly, the patterns of production and consumption have created inequality. The impacts of climate change have been a hindrance to the economic progress of developing countries.



CSF's website is at
Email: DTE is a member of CSF.