CSF Supports Climate Change Adaptation Efforts

Press Release, Civil Society forum (CSF) for Climate Justice

Jakarta- Indonesia, March 23st, 2011.

Indonesia’s parliament has noted that during 2008 to 2010 the Government’s climate change debt to Japan, France and the World Bank for climate change-related loans amounted to USD 1.907 billion. Yet the public do not know what these funds are being used for. Meanwhile, fisherfolk, farmers and fish farmers do know that they are struggling without support to cope with the extreme weather and seasonal changes, trying to survive in worsening conditions.

Climate change is threatening food production processes. Extreme weather has reduced fishermen’s working hours. Farmers are facing the risk of droughts,floodsand explosions in pest populationsresulting in crop failure. If this situation continues, food security will be threatened andthere will be an increased risk of hunger and malnutrition.

In Cantigi-Indramayu, West Java province, within the last 10 years villagers have experienced a longer dry season and tidal floods during the rainy season. Sea water has inundated and destroyed more than 218 ha of rice fields. Villagers have turned to fish-farming on the waterlogged land. Even if they still have farmland, attacks on crops by pests and diseases are becoming increasingly frequent.  Fishing communities in Marunda, North Jakarta, face similar problems. Bad weatherand large waves prevent them from going to sea. As a result, fish prices have increased sharply, while fishing businesses have declined by 50 percentand the income of fishermen is downby  50-70 percent. Here, too, there is an increase in pests and diseases. Many pests and diseases that were not prevalent before, started becoming dominant in the last few years.

Adaptation is needed to address these serious climate change impacts. For communities – especially farmers and fishing communities, there is no certainty about when or whether they will benefit from climate change mitigation efforts. Adaptation is needed now to answer today’s problems. Unfortunately the government, busy with tomorrow’s problems, is ignoring community adaptation needs.

By 2010, the Indonesian government had spent the six years since the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol preparing emissions reduction policies (mitigation).   They forgot about the comprehensive guidance and mobilization needed to support adaptation to the impacts of climate change. According to Agus Purnomo, Chairman of the National Council on Climate Change (DNPI) Secretariat, the biggest problem is the lack of readiness of various sectors and stakeholders to work together.

However, farmers, fisherfolk and fish farmers cannot wait. Many are beginning to develop strategies to deal with climate change impacts. In Indramayu, farmers are improving drought resistant seeds and trialling them in saline areas, changing the conventional sawah (wet rice) cultivation method to the gogorancah cultivation method (planting seeds in dry soil before the rains arrive). In Brebes, farmers are cultivating salt-resistant rice varieties, developing a green belt of mangroves, and many more initiatives. It is like establishing a school, re-learning, gaining new experiences and knowledge:  the knowledge that will help them to survive in a more extreme climate. 

The Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice (CSF)believes fishermen and farmers farmers have gained experiences and knowledge developed for survival. But without state support, the crisiscaused by climate change impacts will make life more and more difficult. CSFhas urged the government to take real action to help communities facing climate change impacts.

CSF is supporting efforts to strengthen communities to cope with these impacts. In cooperation with other NGOs (Kehati, IPPHTI, KRKP), the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG)and the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund (ICTTF), CSF is holding a “Community School Meeting”, a gathering of 16 groups of farmers, fishermen and fish farmers from 4 provinces in Java. The activities will be carried out for 4 days, from 28th to 31st March 2011 in Kalensari Village, Jatibarang subdistrict, Indramayu. They will share their experiences and determine what initiatives they can carry out together to deal with climate change.

For more information:

Ina Nisrina

Phone: +62 852 7775 3686

Email: ina.nisrina@gmail.com