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Institutional Strengthening for Climate Adaptation through Local Regulation in Southeast Sulawesi

This blog explains why a legal basis is needed to legitimize and encourage local government in Indonesia to develop climate adaptation programs and actions with budget allocation.
Heidi Gjertsen

This blog is by Nyoman Prayoga, Communications Specialist: Knowledge Management and Reporting USAID APIK. it was originally published on the USAID APIK website on12 July 2019.

The Need for a Legal Basis to Respond to Climate Impacts

The impact of climate has been widely felt in various aspects of human life. Hydrometeorological disasters that are increasing in frequency are one proof that many people are affected physically, socially and economically. According to data from the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), more than 2,400 disasters hit Indonesia in 2018, 96% of which were hydrometeorological disasters such as floods, landslides, cyclones, droughts, forest fires, tidal waves, and coastal erosion. This is closely related to rainfall anomalies and extreme weather conditions as a consequence of the changing climate, coupled with environmental degradation factors.

At the local level, the government is increasingly demanded to be aware of the need for action that can respond to the effects of this natural phenomenon. Moreover, Indonesia as an archipelago country with many coastal areas, makes the impact of climate increasingly felt by the community. Local governments themselves need to be more sensitive that many climate disaster events are hindering the development. For the record, in 2017 BNPB stated that every year Indonesia suffered a loss of IDR 30 trillion due to the disaster.

Climate adaptation actions in the local level require their institutional support. A legal basis is needed to legitimize and encourage the local government to develop the adaptation programs and actions with budget allocation. Without this policy instrument, there is no obligation for the local government to perform actions that respond to the climate impacts and this will harm the community and the development.

Since 2016, USAID Adaptasi Perubahan Iklim dan Ketangguhan (APIK) has been working in Southeast Sulawesi Province to improve the ability of governments, communities and other actors in building resilience, especially to the impacts of climate. This province is prone to flooding, landslides, coastal erosion, and extreme weather events that occurred almost every year. Based on Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment in Southeast Sulawesi and Indonesia Disaster Information Data (locally known asDIBI), there were 188 flood events, 154 whirlwinds, 46 landslides, and 19 drought events within 2006-2016 in this province. For example, Kendari City has experienced IDR 75 billion lost, caused by major flood in January 2017.

Pushing for a Climate Adaptation Policy Agenda

USAID APIK has facilitated a series of meetings and discussions at the provincial level and involves various government institutions, the Local Representatives Council (DPRD), academics, and the Southeast Sulawesi Climate and Disaster Resilience Working Group (Pokja API-PRB). The meetings were held to produce provincial-level policies that regulate climate adaptation. Advocacy for policy making certainly requires a process that is not easy and not in a blink of an eye. This effort begins with a study of a number of Local Regulations (Perda) in Southeast Sulawesi to find out whether there are provincial regulations that cover the adaptation or resilience actions in relation to climate impacts and disaster. The Public Policy Review conducted in 2017 concluded that climate adaptation has not been specifically regulated in local regulations in Southeast Sulawesi.

Follow-up meetings and communications were carried out to push the policy agenda. One important aspect emphasized in the discussion is how the policy able to ensure that the local government uses a scientific foundation that supports the justification for the conduct of climate adaptation. The vulnerability assessment or disaster risk assessment can be examples of this science-based supporting reference. Southeast Sulawesi itself owns and utilizes climate risk and vulnerability studies at the provincial level and at the landscape level in Kendari and South Konawe, as well as studies on climate risks and impacts at the local level which are the result of the collaboration between local actors and USAID APIK.

This alignment is important to safeguard that the proposed and implemented programs and adaptation actions really answer the problem and can reduce the vulnerability of the community. This is in line with the Minister of Environment and Forestry’s Regulation (Peraturan Menteri) Number 7 of 2018 concerning Guidelines for Vulnerability Studies, Risks, and Impacts of Climate Change. Moreover, the existence of policies on climate risk and impact at the local level can support the Government of Indonesia’s commitment to the global climate mitigation and adaptation efforts as set out in Law No. 16 of 2016.

Southeast Sulawesi as a Pioneer in Regulating Climate Adaptation

On January 21, 2019, the Governor of Southeast Sulawesi, Ali Mazi, together with the Provincial DPRD approved five Draft Local Regulations (Raperda) which were passed into Local Regulations (Perda). One of the approved draft regulations is a regulation on climate adaptation. “In addition to being an umbrella of law and regulation in carrying out government and development, it is also expected to be a reference and guidance in decision-making that favors the province and the community,” Ali Mazi said at the signing of the Perdaat the local DPRD Plenary Building. With this, the Southeast Sulawesi Provincial Regulation Number 11 of 2019 concerning Climate Change Adaptation has been ratified.

The Southeast Sulawesi Governor, Ali Mazi, signed the Raperda to become Perda. Photo: Documentation of Detik Sultra

According to the parliamentary fractions in the Southeast Sulawesi DPRD, climate action and adaptation programs aim to secure the achievement of local development targets. In addition, efforts are also needed to increase the resilience of the community to the climate risk and impacts in Southeast Sulawesi. This perspective from the parliament is certainly a positive indication that there is awareness among policymakers about the importance of a region to create a climate-sensitive development since the impacts of changing climate are increasingly evident and have been directly felt by the community.

Southeast Sulawesi is the first province in Indonesia to release a formal local regulation that specifically sets about climate adaptation. According to Buttu Madika, the USAID APIK Regional Manager for Southeast Sulawesi, there are several key factors to support the advocacy process. First, it is critical to convince the key stakeholders, the policy makers, that the province is highly prone to climate impacts. USAID APIK has facilitated some studies related to climate vulnerability and disaster risk in Southeast Sulawesi and these are useful to provide science-based information for the decision makers. Second, it is important to have a stakeholder mapping with a clear engagement strategy to key actors in different government agencies, the legislative council members, academics, and so on. Target the right people, considering both of their interest and influence. Third, it is helpful to identify whether or not there is an existing public policy that already regulates the same scope that becomes the advocacy agenda. Public policy review is a method that can help to formulate the right policy form to fill the identified gap.

Policy Implementation as Further Step

After the enactment of the Southeast Sulawesi Local Regulation Number 11 of 2019, this needs to be known and understood by planners in order to design development plans that integrate aspects of climate adaptation. As a follow-up, on July 11, 2019, USAID APIK supported the Southeast Sulawesi Provincial Government to conduct the dissemination of the regulation to the members of the Southeast Sulawesi API-PRB Working Group consisting of government representatives, the private sector, non-government organizations (NGOs) and community groups. In addition to the policy-informing purpose, this activity is also used to strengthen the participants with climate and disaster knowledge.

Broadly speaking, this Local Regulation Number 11 Year 2019 pushes the Southeast Sulawesi Government to develop and implement the Local Action Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (locally known as RAD-API). Through the RAD-API, the local government can identify the problems of climate impacts that are strengthened by studies of climate vulnerability and risk. By knowing the risk and impact, the government can develop options of adaptation action and the integration into local development programs. Also, this local regulation encourages the involvement of the public, private parties, and academics, both individually and through a forum to increase their capacity, capability, and concern in adaptation actions. The implementation of this regulation is expected to increase the resilience of the community in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, water, and health, especially in dealing with climate impacts.

Advocating climate policies requires extra effort to convince the constituents concerning of how this global phenomenon affects the region. The climate phenomenon which is often regarded as something abstract entails the support of studies, both in terms of the impacts and the future risks.

It is important to have proof that builds the urgency to address climate climate impacts. The regulation that is considered to be a legal umbrella must also be able to ensure that it can support the budget distribution to government institutions responsible for the adaptation actions. With the existence of the Southeast Sulawesi Local Regulation No. 11 of 2019, it should be a strong foundation for development actors in the province to be able to develop programs and budget for adaptation actions to make more resilient communities.

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