Climate Resilient and
Inclusive Cities Project

CRIC Pushes for Human Rights-Based Climate Actions

Climate Resilient and Inclusive Cities (CRIC) Project took part in the Indonesia Human Rights Festival 2021 by sharing insights and actions in the "Collective Commitment Towards Social and Environmental Justice" session, Thursday (18/11). The webinar sent a strong message of the urgency to embed human rights considerations into the core of climate decision-making processes and practices. 

The alarming increase of global temperature to 1.1° Celsius above pre-industrial levels is a code-red for the earth and humankind. The impact of climate change will be felt differently for regions and community groups depending on their underlying climate risks and vulnerabilities. Echoing the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley's address at the COP26, climate change is a 'death sentence' for island nations. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2021) has also warned that coastal areas will experience more frequent and severe coastal flooding due to rising sea levels. 

Leading the discussion, UCLG ASPAC's Secretary-General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi said that women, children, urban poor, people with disabilities and the elderly are the five most vulnerable groups facing climate change impacts. She urged local leaders to include these groups in climate actions. "Our fight for social and environmental justice is still far from settled. However, local leaders and government representatives have a significant role in making sure that these people have a role in the collective climate action," she said to the audience of 80 people.

Local leaders must heed this call as the abovementioned vulnerable groups are often left out in the climate decision-making processes. Therefore, the human rights-based approach is crucial when dealing with climate change, as the Raoul Wallenberg Institute's Senior Researcher Dr. Claudia Ituarte-Lima stated. The Paris Agreement already explicitly references that all parties should respect their obligations on human rights when addressing climate change. The Human Rights Council has also recognised that having a healthy environment is a human right. "When we're thinking about climate change, we need to think about how social equity, political voices and other rights to, as examples, water and energy are also fulfilled within the planetary boundaries, by leaving no one behind," she said. 


A healthy environment is a human right

CRIC Project works with ten Indonesian cities to help them develop climate-proof and inclusive policies and actions. CRIC Project Manager Aniessa Delima Sari said in the introduction that one of the project objectives is to promote social cohesion and inclusive cities. In the webinar, two of ten CRIC's pilot cities, Banjarmasin and Samarinda, were present to share their initiatives to get all urban stakeholders, especially the most vulnerable groups, on board. 

The Banjarmasin Mayor H. Ibnu Sina, S.Pi., M.Si., takes the urgency of inclusive climate action seriously. The City's vulnerability to floods and fire is likely to increase due to climate change, and people with disabilities are the hardest-hit groups in the City. "There are several initiatives in place to promote climate action that consider the needs of people with disabilities. In terms of policies, we have regulations to protect people with disabilities. We provide home care to provide them access to health services. We raise awareness on disaster risks and preparedness at school, and we build accessible infrastructure for people with disabilities," the Mayor explained. 

Banjarmasin City has also designated 20 Climate Village Programme (Proklim) areas to encourage community-based climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. The Mayor said that the City gradually would integrate its disabilities-inclusive programme into the Proklim initiative. 

Another CRIC's pilot cities, Samarinda, also put local communities at their centre of climate action through sustainable waste management practices. The City deals with a waste problem that contributes to GHG emissions and the degradation of the urban environment. "We work together with local communities to find solutions to our waste problem through local initiatives. With existing initiatives, we also help local communities earn additional income from waste recycling initiatives," said the Assistant II of the Regional Secretary of Samarinda Municipal Government drg. Nina Endang Rahayu, M.Kes. 


Communities at the centre of the action

Implementing a human rights approach into climate action, all speakers agreed, would require community participation. Sara Silva of the ECOLISE shared to the audience the transformation toolkit to promote community-based climate actions that are "inclusive and participatory." This toolkit comprises three principles combining collective intelligence (head), compassion (heart) and practicality (hands). 

Another noteworthy recommendation comes from Diponegoro University's Senior Lecturer Rukuh Setiadi, PhD. He explained three key steps to develop and implement an effective resilience strategy. The steps are identifying the main resilience issue, strategy development and integration into existing policies, and promoting inclusive implementation. He reiterated the need to build a resilience project at a community level to see a tangible impact. "It is important to make sure that we include local communities and local knowledge in a resilience initiative. Don't leave the communities behind," he said.

Human Rights Festival 2021 is a collaborative event between the Semarang Municipal Government and International NGO Forum on International Development (INFID), the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Indonesia and the National Commission on Human Rights. The session on climate justice was co-organised by UCLG ASPAC through the Climate Resilient and Inclusive Cities (CRIC) Project.


The event is still available for streaming here:

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This project is co-funded by the European Union


Aniessa Delima Sari

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