Law can be both a vital tool for, and a weapon against, environment defenders. Photo by Walhi on Instagram.

The United Nations Environmental Program has identified Indonesia as one of 17 “megadiverse” countries, making it highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Yet the country also ranks among the top-10 emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, largely because of its forestry, land use and energy sectors.

The Indonesian Constitution provides for environmental protection, and sustainability is critical to its National Development Plan. But Indonesia has no specific law to deal with its National Action Plan on Climate Change or its international commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Its pledge to reduce emissions by 29% by 2030 is regarded as insufficient, yet it has announced plans to increase its dependence on coal by 2030.

How can the legal framework promote defence of the environment in Indonesia? How are environmental activists strategically using the law to promote environmental protection? And, more chillingly, how is the law being used to criminalise their activism?

Dr Jacqui Baker chats to Associate Professor Agung Wardana, from the Department of Environmental Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada, about these issues and more, in the latest episode of Talking Indonesia.

In 2023, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Tito Ambyo from RMIT, and Dr Dave McRae from the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at the University of Melbourne.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.

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