The Social Costs Of Climate Change Will Particularly Fall On The Coastal Urban Poor And Forest Dependent People

Spotlight Activity: The Social Costs Of Climate Change Will Particularly Fall On The Coastal Urban Poor And Forest Dependent People

Indonesia is a country of 18,000 islands and 95,000 km of coastline. This archipelago nation is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels and natural disasters such as tsunamis. Jakarta, the nation’s capital, is the exemplar of coastal vulnerability. Of Indonesia’s 264 million people, 60% of the population lives in Java, concentrating in Jakarta. Jakarta is the fastest sinking city in the world; sinking 10 inches a year. The government is planning to move the capital soon; a quarter of the city will be underwater by 2030. A combination of sinking land from poor water resources management – land subsidence – and climate change is forcing the move. Natural disasters spur the urgency. Monsoons can sweep the city in meters of water. In 2007, the city was enveloped in four meters following a monsoon. These events will likely be more destructive with climate change. Coastal cities are at risk, particularly the urban poor.

Climate change will intensify land fires from cleared peatlands. Since 1990, there has been a 2-3% decrease in overall rainfall alongside rising temperature. These changing climatic conditions increase the likelihood of land fires, particularly in El Niño years; marked by summers with less rainfall. 48.8 million people live around in Indonesia’s forests. A fifth of that population is poor. Decreasing forest cover and quality could affect the livelihoods of up to 40 million people. Forest cover loss and peat exposure will increase fires and smog. Fires and smog have negative health, environmental and economic impacts.

Bappenas, the national development planning agency, and the ministry of environmental and forestry have developed ICCSR (Indonesia Climate Change Sectoral Roadmap) to increase community forest management, promoting adaptive forest management, and increasing the resiliency of the sector. ICCSR also studies vulnerability, increases resources to fire management and control, enhances silvicultural systems and restores mangroves. These efforts will increase resilience to climate change. ICCSR creates strategic adaptation strategies in each sector. ICCSR supports the larger adaptation program, RAN-API.

Status: Standing Still

All Indonesians are vulnerable to drought, landslides, floods, and sea level rise. A significant portion are directly impacted by land fires or indirectly impacted through exposure to smog. The main climate change adaptation plan – RAN-API (Rencana Aksi Nasional Adaptasi Perubahan Iklim) was launched in 2014 by Bappenas. RAN-API is incorporated into Indonesia’s overall national development plan. It pushes cities and provinces to develop their own adaptation plans within development planning. 

RAN-API is mostly focused on the “how” of climate change adaptation; which sectors to target, which short term priority areas need budget support, how to direct regions to enhance existing adaptation plans, etc. RAN-API must consider the particular vulnerability of coastal people, those on small islands, and those mostly dependent on forests and fisheries for livelihoods. RAN-API needs to ensure wide social inclusion of its adaptation strategies. It must require provinces and cities to design adaptation strategies which leave no one out. 

Take Action

Contact Bappenas and urge them to include social provisions in climate adaptation plans. 

Climate change will affect all Indonesians. It is important that in developing adaptation plans at multiple levels of society, ALL Indonesians are considered in adaptation plans. Adaptation plans should identify those most vulnerable, understand their needs, and in which sectors they are least resilient. Bappenas must, in particular, develop resilience strategies for urban coastal poor, forest and fishery dependent people and those on small islands. 

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