By: Hizbullah Arief *
When daily temperatures across the world hit new records, most people in Indonesia appear to be less concerned or disturbed. I believe there are various reasons why individuals in tropical nations feel less threatened.
For starters, they have adapted to present climatic conditions since temperature variations in their cities are too minor to be noticed. Second, some of them may not follow news updates from international media outlets such as the BBC, The New York Times, or even The Guardian, because local news channels frequently highlight politics or gossip. Third, they are unfamiliar with the concepts and conditions associated with climate change.
These are my personal thoughts. However, the information that worldwide daily temperatures are setting new records is easily discovered in the news and on the Internet. According to the most recent World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) data, July this year is the hottest month ever recorded.
At the same time, greenhouse gas emission is constantly increasing and had also broken the new daily record this year. Data from Mauna Loa Observatory showed that the daily concentration of CO2 emission had reached 425.01 PPM (parts per million) in 28 April 2023 - the highest daily CO2 concentration ever recorded.
As the manager of a climate-related project, Climate Resilient and Inclusive Cities, I am always concerned about global and local climatic circumstances. Especially when you are dealing with a large number of stakeholders, including partners from Europe and South Asia, not to mention 10 CRIC pilot cities in Indonesia.
As the project enters its final year, next year, it has increased the emphasis on me to be more concerned. The CRIC Project aims to strengthen the ability of municipal stakeholders to reduce and adapt to climate change. There are two important CRIC project outcomes that must be completed as soon as possible: finalising tools developed by CRIC European and Asian partners and delivering climate mitigation and adaptation plans to cities to assist in solving of climate-related problems and the initiation of climate mitigation and adaptation actions.
CRIC project management unit is currently facilitating climate adaptation and mitigation training for CRIC climate working groups in ten pilot cities to make sure inclusive and bottom-up approaches are implemented in the process of developing climate mitigation and adaptation plans – that are also facilitated by the project. Local climate action plans are becoming foundation for nationally determined contributions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase cities’ resilience facing the climate crisis.
Starting in 2020, the project had walked along COVID-19 pandemic between 2021 and 2022. During this period, health regulations limited many project interventions as face-to-face meetings and ground mobilisation, including city visits, were restricted. CRIC project was able to deliver “online” trainings and capacity buildings only in pilot cities.
Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic ended in December 2022, the project started to organise its first CRIC partners visits to pilot cities. The visits were realised in February 2023 and then followed by first panel of experts meeting in March 2023.
The project has a lot of homework including delivering thematic tools for pilot cities. These tools are developed by CRIC European and Asian partners. As time is ticking toward the project’s final year, so is the urgency to speed up the delivery of tools and local climate action plans. There is no other way than to speed up coordination between CRIC project management unit in Jakarta with European and Asian partners. CRIC started the coordination by setting one-on-one meeting with partners to confirm their deliverables and commitments, followed by monthly coordination meetings with CRIC stakeholders.
These two approaches have shown encouraging results. Beginning this month, July 2023, all partners have agreed on the tools and training materials they will provide for 10 pilot cities. Further coordination is now taking place between CRIC team members and partners to help partners deliver their targets.
At cities’ level, CRIC Project is progressing with its “offline” mitigation and adaptation trainings. The offline mitigation and adaptation trainings are organized after accommodating feedbacks from pilot cities and experts. Offline training will improve climate mitigation and adaptation learning process as it will increase engagement between training participants and trainers.
Project also continues to provide technical assistances for pilot cities working groups to work on climate action plans with supports from CRIC Field Officers and Climate Action Plan Consultants. The target is to finalize development of tools and climate action plans for ten pilot cities this year and then organise thematic trainings and panel of experts next year.
Indonesia will have elections next year. Climate action plans that have been completed are valuable assets for the project and the cities in promoting climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. City-specific climate mitigation and adaptation strategies also serve as a framework for determining climate action priorities.
Following the municipal and national elections next year, newly elected lawmakers and leaders will need guidance in developing mid- and long-term city development plans. Simultaneously, the national government is finalising a sustainable finance mechanism for climate action, including the establishment of relevant institutions that support the carbon trading mechanism. Completed city-specific climate adaptation and mitigation plans will help city leaders in the preparation of climate actions and the pursuit of climate financing.
In terms of next year's targets for delivering thematic panels of experts and trainings, these plans will serve as a channel for the project and CRIC European and Asian partners to mainstream climate change issues in Indonesia during election year in Indonesia. The CRIC Panel of Experts will bring together scientists, researchers, and academics to discuss climate resilient and inclusive cities in front of local and national stakeholders.
CRIC will also train city stakeholders in different thematic areas: urban resilience, waste management, water and sanitation and lastly, sustainable finance. These events are not only increasing capacities of local governments but also becoming opportunities for CRIC Project to increase its visibilities with help from local, national and international media/news outlets.
Rest assured, there will be plenty more work to be carried out in the following months. It will be difficult to meet all of the aforementioned targets. However, the timing is just right, and we can only hope that time is also on our side.
*Hizbullah Arief is CRIC Project Manager