event 06 Mar 2017

Policy Brief // Achieving Water, Energy and Food Security in Indonesia

By Helen Bellfield, David Sabogal, Jeni Pareira, Adi Gangga and Matt Leggett. This report analyses policy coherence and trade-offs in Indonesia’s development agenda and its emissions reduction targets using a water-energy-food (WEF) nexus framework.

Report cover water energy food security in indonesia

Key Points

  • Resource use trade-offs between different sectors could undermine water, energy, and food security targets. Competition for finite land and water resources could undermine ambitious production targets and lead to further deforestation with impacts on emissions targets and the resilience of critical ecosystem services.
  • Opportunities exist to improve synergies between different sectors' targets through multilevel planning processes. The policy coherence analysis identifies several strategies that could realise potential synergies between different sector targets, including the prioritization of degraded land for agricultural expansion, increases in agricultural productivity, and investment in forest conservation as ‘natural’ infrastructure for improving downstream water supply for agriculture and energy production, generating co-benefits such as emissions reductions, biodiversity and forest-based employment and livelihoods.
  • Indonesia’s archipelago with its diverse social, economic, and natural resource realities requires differentiated sub-national development models. Policy instruments that recognise local land use dynamics, bio-physical and socio-economic characteristics (e.g. infrastructure, access to technical assistance). Strengthening the role of bottom up inputs into development planning will be key to achieving this.
  • Indonesia’s land use planning instruments provide a good framework that can be drawn upon to improve the coherence of development plans across sectors and scales. However, the lack of reliable data hampers its effectiveness in managing resource trade-offs. Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) may guide the land use planning process and mitigate unexpected development impact to the environment, as well as integrate climate issues into development planning, but urgently requires a stronger evidence base and in-depth analysis of likely resource demands across sectors and resource capacity.
  • Upcoming provincial and district elections in 2017 and the subsequent process of formulating the 2020-2025 mediumdevelopment plan in 2018 both nationally and sub-nationally provide a window of opportunity for addressing resource trade-offs and building synergies across sectoral targets.
  • It also offers a critical entry point for mainstreaming and operationalizing Indonesia’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) into sectoral development plans. In the more immediate future, the review and development of annual sector plans offers an opportunity to address key bottlenecks in the implementation of sector programs and activities.


  • Accelerate efforts to implement the One Map Initiative nationally, expand its scope sub-nationally and support the Central Bureau of Statistics to become a source of reliable and consistent data across government ministries and agencies. Reliable datasets and standardised information flows will be paramount in elaborating coherent and evidence-based development objectives across different land based sectors that balance competing demands on resources.
  • Prioritize the use of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) within spatial planning to support more robust analysis of land use trade-offs.
  • Strengthen existing accountability mechanisms, including building the capacity of parliament to effectively review proposed development plans and budgets. Improved information flows should go hand in hand with efforts to address transparency and accountability which currently remain low among both public and private sector actors.
  • Align fiscal incentives to support local governments to transition to more sustainable development models, for example through integrating provincial performancebased payments and environmental criteria in budget proposals and transfers.


CDKN website


January 2017


CDKN The Climate and Development Knowledge Network supports decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development. We do this by combining research, advisory services and knowledge management in support of locally owned and managed policy processes. We work in partnership with decision-makers in the public, private and non-governmental sectors nationally, regionally and globally. We hold strongly to the ideals of human development and environmental sustainability. Global Canopy Programme The Global Canopy Programme is a tropical forest think tank working to demonstrate the scientific, political and business case for safeguarding forests as natural capital that underpins water, food, energy, health and climate security for all. Our vision is a world where rainforest destruction has ended. Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a deforestation free economy. WBC Indonesia Programme WCS-Indonesia Program has worked in Indonesia since initial surveys in the 1960s, and opened a formal country program in 1995 under an MoU with the Ministry of Forestry (now Ministry of Environment and Forestry). WCS has operated projects on across Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Maluku) ranging from population and threats assessments of endangered cockatoos to studies of hunting management issues (including tiger and sharks) and the impact of logging on wildlife.

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