Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ensuring the survival of Indonesia

Fitrian Ardiansyah in the Jakarta Post: As an archipelagic nation depending so much on natural resources, Indonesia needs to equip itself to deal with the possible dire consequences of climate change. … [C]limate change will profoundly affect water and other natural resources, biodiversity and the economy across Indonesia, which will negatively impact on rural and urban populations across the country.

Hence, the challenge for the country is to develop appropriate ways to adapt to climate change, adjusting natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities. There is also a need to integrate disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) interventions.

According to Tom Mitchell from Climate and Disaster Governance, DRR is the development and application of policies and practices that minimize risks to vulnerabilities and disasters. DRR, therefore, is an essential part of adaptation. It is the first line of defense against climate change impacts, such as increased flooding or regular droughts.

Adaptation strategies can vary. Some approaches involve acknowledging that there are many non-climate change stresses on natural and human systems. Limiting these stresses (such as pollution, illegal and destructive logging, forest conversion, over fishing and over exploitation of natural resources) may increase the natural resistance and resilience of people and ecosystems to the added stress of climate change.

To initiate CCA, the government needs to take the lead to assess and prioritize vulnerable sectors — agriculture, marine and coastal, forestry and infrastructure — areas and people. Other actors including research institutions, environmental organizations, humanitarian aid organizations, local communities and the private sector can assist the government in identifying, mapping and providing further understanding of sectors and geographic areas that are likely to be negatively impacted by climate change…

A rice terrace in Indonesia, shot by Dohduhdah

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