Day 2: Making Climate Policy Relevant

 

This morning we began with a discussion on the institutional aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in Indonesia. Climate change is a dizzying topic often explained at a global scale. How do we operationalize these into policies and how do we know the way in which climate changes will affect us in particular areas?

Dr. Wilmar Salim of Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) Urban and Regional Planning Department explained how Indonesia has been part of international policies, frameworks, and agreements. He showed how these joint global commitments have also been contextualized in Indonesia. The Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 crippled Aceh, and presented a strong impetus for putting disaster management on the policy agenda. Since then Indonesia has made tremendous strides in implementing disaster management at many scales of government. Disaster management has also evolved over time to focus more on risk reduction rather than response. This requires engaging with major planning processes at multiple scales of government, such as conduct risk assessments, connecting with spatial plans, environmental assessments, and development programs.

Thereafter the discussion shifted to specific hazards affecting Indonesia. Dr. Djoko Suroso described three of the most common and destructive natural hazards in Indonesia, especially in North Maluku. These are floods, landslides, and coastal hazards. Each of these hazards will only get worse with higher intensity rainfall, sea-level rise, seasonal shifts, and more dramatic storm events.

These impacts affect people’s lives everyday across this vast archipelago. To make climate relevant locally, the discussion arrived at three main principles. The first is to ensure that there is common agreement on main impacts. The more stakeholders that can contextualize and understand the urgency of taking a particular action, the easier it will be to get buy in on adaptation efforts locally. Second, we need to start thinking about actions. These actions must also be premised on the priorities developed from building a common, local understanding of the problem. Third, it’s also important to get away from the tendency that new programs bring heavy new bureaucracies and burdens. Therefore, ways in which to express that adapting to climate change doesn’t mean reorganizing government, but rather, that actions are important for building a common agenda can help. Herein it is possible to find an organizational home for the main actions and to also cultivate accountability around particular actions.

Are there others? Certainly. How do we make climate relevant for diverse communities, some with an understanding of climate change and others who might not have the time or opportunity to react to them? That is, how do we avoid the risks associated with increasingly complex problems.

Tomorrow we will be working to develop the framework for conducting a vulnerability assessment.

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