Indonesia sits at the epicenter of global climate change and as such is central to the solutions that will determine the future, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said on Thursday.
In his keynote address on the opening day of the Business for the Environment (B4E) Global Summit 2011 in Jakarta, Yudhoyono challenged participants to come up with solutions that could propel the country and the global community toward a green economy.
â€śIndonesia is a hot spot for climate diplomacy,â€ť he said.
â€śIt is time for us to think outside the box. It is time for us to think of solutions for the monumental tasks ahead.â€ť
He said these tasks included feeding a fast-growing population, finding new sources of energy and dealing with climate change-induced natural disasters.
He also said that with governments failing to come up with an agreement on tackling climate change, businesses should step into the breach.
â€śWe have come a long way in the climate negotiations, but despite enormous efforts by the international community, a global climate treaty is still elusive,â€ť Yudhoyono said.
â€śThis is why your meeting here is so important to show that the climate issue is very much alive and that, despite tough economic challenges and problems in the Middle East, we continue to press on to find common solutions to global problems.â€ť
The president praised the conferenceâ€™s theme this year :â€śLeading by Nature: Delivering Transformative Solutions for Our Planet,â€ť as clever and â€śright on the mark.â€ť
â€śIt is time for us to think anew of imaginative ways to resolve the monumental challenges that we face today and tomorrow,â€ť he said.
Suryo Bambang Sulisto, chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) noted that green technology, green investments and sustainable growth would drive economic development going forward.
The private sector, Suryo noted, would play a key part in finding the solutions.
â€śIndonesia is at the center of this debate because through deforestation and forest fires, it is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions,â€ť Suryo said.
â€śKadin recognizes that biodiversity is a key 21st-century asset and Indonesiaâ€™s natural assets offer many investment opportunities, not just in forestry or fisheries but also manufacturing.â€ť
The B4E is a global annual summit focused on business-driven action for the environment and the Berita Satu Media Holdings of which the Jakarta Globe is part, is a media partner.
Many of the speakers, such as Andrew Steer, special envoy for climate change at the World Bank, and Helen Clarke, administrator at the United Nations Development Program, insisted that business must be part of the solution in balancing environmental protection and economic development.
â€śLed by private business, developing countries are now at the center of green innovation, especially in clean energy,â€ť Steer said.
â€śMore and more countries are introducing market-based solutions to climate change.â€ť
The challenge before both government and business is to mainstream solutions, the speakers said, noting that change was not happening fast enough.
â€śWhile we see climate change unfold, our common future is uncertain,â€ť Suryo said.