JAKARTA, Indonesia (Landscape News) – Following up the Masterplan for Renewable Resources-Driven Green Growth launched in last year’s Bonn Challenge High Level Meeting in Palembang, Indonesia’s South Sumatra province is hosting the Sustainable Districts Festival (Festival Kabupaten Lestari) this week.
The festival will feature the #IndonesiaInnovate fair in Palembang on July 24 and 25. The Bonn Challenge is a commitment to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030 made during U.N. Climate talks in 2014.
“#IndonesiaInnovate aims to provide a collaborative space for local regency governments to learn about civil society’s solutions (for turning environmental problems into opportunities for economic empowerment), exchanging knowledge and technology, and presenting these innovations attractively,” said Gita Syahrani, executive director of the Sustainable Districts Forum.
Up to 24 innovators will present technology, institutional leadership, and needs for investment and access to markets in a session on community-driven sustainable enterprise, or another on data management for sustainable regencies. The former features value-added business solutions to conservation, energy and land management issues. The latter introduces innovative multi-sectoral engagement platforms for managing vital data regarding sustainable development goals.
Expected presenters Gita mentioned include wicker crafting social enterprise Du’Anyam, non-profit appropriate technology distributor Kopernik, and forestry research institution the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). Shortlisted innovations include a sustainable international fashion brand based on sugar palm leaf weaving traditions, low-cost technology for creating clean water supplies, organic waste processing for sustainable agriculture, and forestry/biodiversity monitoring systems.
“#IndonesiaInnovate is not meant for setting up watchdogs, but for making ongoing civilian innovations for sustainable livelihoods visible to regency governments who are ready to attract new investments for green growth,” explained Gita. This allows regency governments to identify potential civil society partners for advocating relevant agenda such as social forestry, land tenure and the management of natural resources and their ecosystems, she added.
According to Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning, South Sumatra contributed 2.8 percent to Indonesia’s national economy in the second quarter of 2017, making it Sumatra’s third-fastest growing province. Gita attributed this to South Sumatra’s focus on priorities such as improving innovation-driven productivity, accelerating value-added exports and services, and increasing the carrying capacity of natural resources and environments. The Sustainable Districts Festival aims to stimulate the participating regencies and their provinces to follow South Sumatra’s example, added Gita.
#IndonesiaInnovate also aims to help regencies strategically focus their green growth goals to create meaningful impact for local communities, added Gita.
“For instance, if a regency sets infrastructure goals, what does it mean? Is it about building a road for the sake of it? Or can it be tied in to the distribution of renewable energy to rural communities with budding SMEs (small-to-medium-enterprises)?” Gita said, adding that such a goal would require the regency’s initiative to foster multisectoral collaborations engaging rural SMEs needing electrification, suppliers of affordable renewable energy, and construction contractors.
The Sustainable Districts Festival is jointly funded by the participating regencies: Musi Banyuasin (South Sumatra), Sintang (West Kalimantan), Siak (Riau), Sigi (Central Sulawesi), Batanghari (Jambi), and Labuhanbatu Utara (North Sumatra)—as well as contributions from philanthropic donors and strategic partners.
The Sustainable Districts Festival is to coincide with the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO’s 30th Session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and Biosphere Programme (July 23 to 28), and the South Sumatra Landscape Festival (July 25-26), focusing on peatland restoration and forest fire prevention). Palembang is hosting these within a month of Indonesia’s recent provincial elections, and three weeks prior to co-hosting the 2018 Asian Games.