Press Release

GGGI President Addresses OECD Forum in Paris

18197586790_5e9d37d35f_zPARIS – June 02, 2015 – GGGI Council Chair and President of the Assembly, Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, addressed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Forum today. Opening the Forum session, The Urgency of Now: COP 21 and Beyond, Dr. Yudhoyono spoke of the importance of improving government policy processes and institutions in order to translate the vision of green growth into reality.

Below is the full text of the speech.


Address by H.E. Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Indonesia’s Sixth President

At the OECD FORUM 2015
Session: The Urgency of Now: COP 21 and Beyond

2 June 2015

Distinguishing Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you here in Paris for the OECD Forum 2015 to discuss how we can collectively move beyond COP 21, and the challenges facing governments in adjusting policies and institutions towards green growth.

This is a subject dear to my heart. In my previous position as President of Indonesia, within 10 years, I progressively evolved my development strategy from “pro-growth, pro-poor, and pro-job” to become also one of pro-environment. By the time I stepped down, the goal of “sustainable growth with equity” was already firmly placed at the heart of our national development.

Along with other leaders, I also labored to advance the COP process and all collaborative efforts to address climate change. The Bali Road Map, declared at COP-13, was particularly memorable for me.

In my current capacity as Council Chairman and Assembly President of the Global Green Growth Institute – or GGGI – I am pleased to be able join efforts to support countries move towards a model of strong, inclusive and sustainable development.

GGGI was launched as an international organization in 2012, and since then its global activities have grown considerably.

Today, the Institute has 29 programs operating in 19 countries, with a focus on four areas we consider essential in transforming economies: energy, green city development, land-use and water.

GGGI has been particularly active in assisting developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries. We do this in several ways.

We help them develop institutional capacity to move towards green growth by way of better planning, regulatory, financial and institutional frameworks.

We help them increase green investment flows by designing and implementing bankable green investment projects.

And we also help developing countries acquire greater knowledge and benefit from the lessons learned by others through North-South dialogue, as well as through engagement with international stakeholders and private sector partners.

All in all, we believe that the more developing countries move towards green growth, the better the prospects for COP process.

We are all holding our breath in anticipation of what will happen here in Paris at COP-21 at the end of the year.

The global climate negotiations have certainly come a long way, but a successful outcome of COP-21 is not pre-ordained. Much will depend on the myriad of consultations, compromises and deals that will take place between now until December. We have gone too far, worked too hard, and risked too much to fail in Paris.

Today, there should be no more debate about whether climate change is real or imagined. It is already scientifically established that climate change is happening, that it has been caused by human activities over the last 2 centuries or so, and that we have a small window of opportunity to pre-vent the situation from getting worse.

That window is called COP-21.

The decisions by COP-21 in Paris must enable the human race to reach our ultimate goal: to curb global warning, and limit the rise of global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Anything short of that, as we all know from scientific findings, will lead to human catastrophe.

And that can only be done if we have a legally binding, ambitious global climate treaty that would ensure a green future of low-carbon society and economy. Sustainable development and green growth models will have to be mainstreamed world-wide.

We therefore have no other option but to work together to ensure the success of COP-21.

Without underestimating the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead, there are several keys to success that I believe are important.

First, is international cooperation and partnership.

It seems that this has become ever more urgent in the face of continuing difficulties in the world economy, with a number of nations facing domestic pressures, turning them to be more inward-looking — in some cases, rendering climate issue to be secondary. We therefore need to galvanize a “now or never” global campaign to raise public interests both in developed and developing countries about the supreme importance of COP-21 in Paris. We must make the argument forcefully that what happens in Paris in December will have direct, long-term impact on everyone’s future livelihood.

Second, all stake-holders must be on board.

This means Governments, scientists, NGOs, environmentalists, business, the general public – all must be included, all must engage and contribute their part. Indeed, no growth model of any kind can be viable unless everybody is on board. Support from all the stake-holders is the only way the global climate agreement becomes politically sustainable and economically viable.

Third, assistance from developed countries to developing countries is still essential.

It is true that the developing world is rising in terms of its economic capacity, confidence and innovation. However, overall, developing countries will not able to meet their climate obligations all on their own. In Indonesia, for example, we have assessed that we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 % with our own means, and 41 % with international support. Thus, developing countries in general will need a helping hand from developed countries. This will also reinforce the sense of global solidarity and fairness that will boost support for the global climate treaty.

Fourth, sufficient financing and technology sharing.

This, as we all know, has long been key issues in the climate negotiations. My understanding is that after all these years, despite encouraging progress, there is still not enough of financing and technology sharing to ensure an effective global climate treaty. We need to close this gap, and we need to muster the necessary political will for this, because such political will presently is not self-evident.

If we can ensure these things, then I think success for COP-21 is within sight.

If and when we manage to cross that bridge, the one thing more important than the results we achieve at COP-21 is that governments will ‘walk the talk’ by ensuring that their virtuous words are translated into concrete actions. The sum of these actions must simultaneously advance economic growth, environmental sustainability, poverty reduction and social inclusiveness.

We know that developed and developing countries alike are genuinely committed to the goal of achieving low-carbon growth and sustainable development that benefits all, but the challenge is moving towards implementation.

Here, we understand that all countries face unique policy choices about how best to pursue sustain-able and inclusive growth in accordance with their specific individual circumstances. We recognize that there is no “one size fits all” that would be applicable across all economic, environ-mental, and social dimensions.

Yet, there is a strong case that every country – developed and developing – can develop a green growth model that in the long-run is more durable and more profitable for business – and much more so that the current models of growth that drive the depletion and destruction of natural resources and lead to increased inequality can be diminished.

I know, because there is a good example in Indonesia about this.

In East Kalimantan, GGGI has done work that practically demonstrates that infrastructure investments can be made “greener” without compromising economic and social benefits. This work found that substituting coal with biomass and other renewable energy sources can have a net benefit of USD 3.8 billion – which is equivalent to 10 percent of the province’s GDP.
This is only a tip of the iceberg. There is a growing body of evidence from around the world and from organizations such as the OECD and GGGI that green policies need not be detrimental to employment, and that a global shift toward a clean energy economy can create millions of green jobs for workers around the world.

Such transitions to green growth will not occur easily. Inevitably, there will be bureaucratic, and political, resistance. Which is why a whole new mindset will need to be enabled. The country’s leadership has to take the lead. Investments have to be made in green industries. And Government ministries must work together as opposed to working in different silos.

Ministries have traditionally focused on either economic, environmental or social issues and developed their expertise accordingly. As such, ministries cannot necessarily account for the impact of policy outcomes in areas outside of their respective portfolios.

In short, Governments in developed and developing countries need to improve the effectiveness of their policy process and institutions in order to translate the vision of green growth into reality.

We must emphasize multi-directional knowledge sharing and learning between developing and developed countries. GGGI, together with our partners in developed and developing countries, the private sector and civil society, is supporting this effort.

This includes through multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, a joint effort between GGGI, OECD, UNEP and the World Bank, as well as the New Climate Economy.

I look forward to sharing the knowledge that GGGI has accumulated and is applying in developing countries, as well as learning from the knowledge of other speakers to test my Institute’s own thinking and apply in the countries where we work.

In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Moderator, Speakers, Discussants and Participants for joining us today and engaging what is sure to be an insightful and extremely valuable discussion.

Thank you.