On January 23rd, Indonesia’ Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) and the US’ Forest Service (USFS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to bolster Indonesia’s forest and Land Use (FOLU) Net Sink 2030 plan.1 The agreement will see both nations collaborate in the areas of sustainable forest management, forest carbon governance, forest and land fire control and education and training.
The USFS has extensive experience in forest management, and fire control, mitigation and prevention, which will provide Indonesia with the technical expertise necessary to achieve its climate change objectives. Aligning with growing urgency amid the threat and realization of climate change, the MOU also recognizes the importance of preserving forests to increase carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation. Furthermore, the inclusion of education and training within the agreement will position Indonesia towards a sustainable long-term approach by empowering local communities and stakeholders.
The agreement comes after a fire-riddled 2023, during which land and forest fires were the largest contributors of emissions in Indonesia.2 Strengthened by the heat and drying conditions resulting from the El Niño climate phenomenon, data from the KLHK indicated that fires scorched nearly 1 million hectares (an area 15 times the size of Jakarta) of land and forests in Indonesia in 2023.2 The worst fire season since 2019, the fires represented a fivefold increase in size since 2022.2 Furthermore, the Malaysian Government detected smoke from Indonesian fires as a factor in its worsening air quality, indicating the severity of Indonesia’s fire problem.2 Attention from industrial players will be essential, and pending innovation within Indonesia’s fire management processes and techniques, the nation will struggle to achieve its FOLU Net Sink Plan by 2023 or make a significant dent in its greenhouse gas emissions. As such, the agreement comes at a much-needed time, and, as it has taken place during the wet season, will hopefully allow the Indonesian fire services to prepare for the upcoming dry season of 2024.
 U.S. Embassy Jakarta, (2024), “U.S. and Indonesia Sign Landmark Agreement in Support of Indonesia’s Forestry and Land Use Goals,” US Embassy Jakarta, January 23. Retrieved: https://id.usembassy.gov/u-s-and-indonesia-sign-landmark-agreement-in-support-of-indonesias-forestry-and-land-use-goals/
 Jong, Hans Nicholas, (2024), “2023 Fires Increase Fivefold in Indonesia Amid El Niño,” Mongabay News, January 10. Retrieved: https://news.mongabay.com/2024/01/2023-fires-increase-fivefold-in-indonesia-amid-el-nino/