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Climate Change Threatens Food Security, Health And Coastal Communities In Indonesia, Says Report

World Bank Office Jakarta
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Jakarta, June 4, 2007 – Indonesia is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change including prolonged droughts and floods raising serious food security and health threats while endangering the habitats and livelihoods of coastal communities, said a report launched today ahead of the June 5 World Environment Day.

The report titled “Indonesia and Climate Change: Current Status and Policies” is a professional desk review of published information compiled by PT Pelangi Energi Abadi Citra Enviro (PEACE).  The compilation is sponsored by the World Bank and UK’s Department for International Development but does not represent the official view of either organization. This study is intended to inform the preparations for the world’s next major climate summit,  the 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP UNFCCC 13) which takes place this December in Bali.

The report launch was preceded by a presentation titled “Road to Bali: Indonesia Preparation for COP UNFCC, December 2007” from Ir. Sulistyowati MM, Assistant Deputy Minister  for Climate Change Impact Control, the Chairperson for the DNA Technical Team, and  Indonesian Mitigation Working Group for the Bali meeting.

“All sectors in the government and public need to take into account the issue of climate change in policymaking from the conceptual level. If Indonesia wants to deal with climate change, it needs participation from everyone, not only from environmentalists,” said Sulistyowati.

The PEACE report says that global warming could increase temperatures, shorten the rainy season and intensify rainfall. These conditions may lead to changes in water conditions and soil moisture which have effects on agriculture and thus food security. Climate change will likely reduce soil fertility by 2 to 8 percent, resulting in projected decreases of rice yield. A simulation has projected a significant decrease in crop harvest in West and East Java due to climate change, the report added.

Global warming will also make sea levels rise, the report said, inundating productive coastal zones and reducing farming in such communities. For instance, in West Java province’s Karawang region, a huge reduction in local rice supply is estimated as a result of inundation and loss in fish and prawn production could go over 7,000 tons. If such predictions come true, thousands of farmers in that area alone would have to look for other sources of income.

The links between climate change and disease are poorly researched. For instance, the report shows the rise in the number of dengue fever cases during the rainy seasons in Indonesia, especially in Java, could have been partially caused by warmer temperatures. Research has confirmed that warmer temperature has led to mutation of the dengue virus, making it difficult to handle, leading to an increase in fatalities. 

The PEACE report also stressed that deforestation, peat land degradation and forest fires have placed Indonesia among the top emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, among industrial giants United States, China and Japan. About 75 percent of the largest carbon dioxide emissions in the Indonesian forestry sector come from deforestation and land conversion which are caused mainly by forest fire. Global warming will likely cause a vicious cycle by drying up the rainforest and peat swamps, thus increasing the risks of even more intense fires.

“Activities in forestry are the largest contributor to emissions of greenhouse gases in Indonesia. It is time we put together all of our resources to prevent forest fires and irresponsible deforestation. We need to be united in this effort because the potential dangers of climate change are too great to ignore,” said report author Agus P. Sari from PEACE.      

Indonesia signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998 and ratified it in 2004. It also has good forestry policies and legislation that favor sustainable forest management. However, there is an urgent need for detailed planning, budgets, international information sharing agreements and standard protocols, the report found.

“The report is an effort to raise awareness on how climate change is a real threat for Indonesia. I hope this will stimulate debate on this important issue and how the matter should be addressed,” said Josef Leitmann, Environment Sector Coordinator, World Bank office in Indonesia.

"As Indonesia is hosting the UN's climate change convention meeting in Bali this year, this puts the country in a strong position to lead on developing international action and incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation," says Mike Harrison, DFID's forestry adviser in Indonesia

The PEACE report concludes Indonesia is not yet adequately preparing for adaptation to future climate events. At present, the Ministry of Environment is finalizing the strategy in time for the COP UNFCCC 13 meeting but other ministries have yet to follow through by implementing recommendations, resulting in weak preparedness for adaptation to future climate events.


The report can be read at our website: http://www.worldbank.org/id.




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