Building Competency-Based Learning in TCA with Partners in Indonesia

Our US-based team recently returned from a series of working meetings with our partners in Indonesia. We come back home with a lot more batik and even more enthusiasm about commencing this partnership known as The Carbon Institute, an international academic enterprise between the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute and the Centre for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management (CCROM) in Indonesia, as well as other partners. During this trip, we spent time with our partners detailing our shared ambition to develop a truly world-class Terrestrial Carbon Accounting (TCA) certificate that will help set best practices for university-based capacity building worldwide.


The trip was one of happy reunions. The partnership has its roots in a course jointly taught by John-O and Pak Rizaldi, and I enjoyed spending time with Pak Rizaldi and Pak Ardy again following the whirlwind of Paris this past December.


Our meetings were a productive mix of fun and progress, making headway from our first meeting at bustling maze at the Ministry of the Environment (MoEF) in Jakarta, where Rizaldi and Ardy are working on the Third National Communication of Indonesia to the UNFCCC as consultants for the land use sector. At this meeting, we were particularly excited to learn that Bu Upik would be joining the team, and welcomed the addition of her expertise as a specialist in applied remote sensing and forest ecology. She has returned to IPB as a professor after ten years serving as President Director of Perum Perhutani, a major state-owned forestry enterprise, and Assistant Deputy at the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises.


One of the trip’s top highlights was our day at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB, for its name in Bahasa Indonesia). IPB is the university that hosts CCROM, and more than 60% of its students are already employed, often in ministries or local government. During our visit to IPB, we had the pleasure of holding a meeting with Yonny Koesmaryono, the Dean of IPB and an advisor to The Carbon Institute, involving attendees from across the Faculty of Natural Sciences. At this meeting John O. presented on The Carbon Institute, the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute’s substantial history in the capacity-building space, and Terrestrial Carbon Accounting Certificate held at University of California San Diego in 2013.


Pak John O. presenting to Dean Koesmaryono and IPB faculty about The Carbon Institute partnership.


In the brainstorming session that followed, we focused in on a variety of important subjects. We modeled several configurations of the certificate program that will both address government needs and fit the structure of IPB. Dean Koesmaryono highlighted the experience of IPB in other fields to develop other certificate programs that address real needs of local government. We discussed the target audience for a TCA training program, namely local government individuals to help meet Presidential Regulation 61, Presidential Regulation 72, and Act 31. These regulations mainstream climate action in development plans for local governments as a piece of Indonesia’s dedication to the Paris Agreement, and require a much broader scale of TCA knowledge. All our discussion orbited around the essence of “competency-based learning,” a means of guaranteeing that certificate-holders have fulfilled requirements and internalized learning outcomes to become highly-skilled carbon accounting experts.


While the trip ended all too soon, we left our colleagues in Bogor with renewed excitement and a work program for how to proceed in developing the TCA certificate in Indonesia. Among our meetings, we enjoyed great hospitality from our hosts at CCROM, and were happy to get so much time with Pak Rizaldi as we squeezed our way through Bogor traffic.  And we found some time for fun too, enjoying the Kebun Raya (Bogor’s botanical gardens) and befriending security guards at Indonesia’s presidential palace.


The Carbon Institute team at GHGMI is excited to have nearly four years of work ahead of us, collaborating with such brilliant, thoughtful, and endlessly friendly partners. We cannot wait until this coming September, when GHGMI, CCROM, and our partners at the State Forestry Administration in China all meet in La Jolla, California to develop our partnership further and receive high-level input from our international advisory panel.


By: Patrick Cage, Program Officer, The Carbon Institute