"Semarang kaline banjir," is popular traditional Javanese song that tells story of how Semarang, the capital city of Central Java is experiencing regular flooding. The words could literally be translated into, "Semarang's river is flooding". This coastal city has long story to adapt to climate related disasters.
Head of Semarang City Development Planning Agency, Budi Prakosa shared the city's experiences in dealing with this climate related disaster to all Climate Resilient and Inclusive City’s stakeholders in Surabaya, March 2, 2023, during First CRIC Discussion Panel attended by CRIC pilot cities and CRIC partners. In his presentation, Budi Prakosa detailed types of climate related disasters in Semarang City that include flood and sea inundation, landslide, drought and land subsidence.
Budi Prakoso mentioned that it is important to mainstream climate change into city's development planning. Otherwise, the climate related actions will not be institutionalised.
The city’s climate action started in 2009 when the city along with Bandar Lampung joined Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network – ACCCRN to increase capacity to implement climate change resilience processes and action. This was accomplished through establishment of multi-stakeholder’s city teams, a series of training and capacity building events co-developing climate change risk assessments (CRA) and city resilient strategies (CRS).
The project studied Semarang City’s risks profile and city resiliency strategy that were then adopted into Semarang’s mid-term development planning 2010-2015, as part of the city’s commitments to climate actions.
The city’s initiative to include risks profile and resiliency strategy into mid-term development planning has gained support from other international development agency, GIZ, that helped the city developed greenhouse gases inventory in 2012. The city then produced integrated resiliency strategy in 2013 that covers mitigation, adaptation, including health actions. In 2014, Semarang had becoming one of 100 resilient cities network.
Long story short, climate mitigation and adaptation actions - along with climate change risk assessments (CRA) and city resilient strategies (CRS) - had also becoming integral part of Semarang mid-term planning in 2016-2021 and 2021-2026. The city followed up these plannings through implementation of many pilot projects based on priority issues identified under CRS.
Semarang has six pillars to implement the planning into climate actions. The ways by providing sustainable water and energy programmes; creating new economic opportunities; reducing diseases and disaster risks; promoting sustainable mobility; optimising public information transparency and good governance and developing competitive human resources.
Prof. Rizaldi Boer, Senior Expert from Centre for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management (CCROM-SEAP) said in his presentation, between 1990-2021, Semarang and Bogor historically recorded highest frequency of climate related disasters compared to other cities in Indonesia. However, the highest number of climate related casualties were found in Bekasi, Jakarta Timur (East Jakarta) and Jakarta Selatan (South Jakarta).
According to Prof. Rizaldi, the main reasons are due to the risk profiles and risk intensities of each city, including the intensity and frequency of climate extremes (part of them is slow onset disaster). Prof. Rizaldi highlighted that it is important to create development planning, policy and programme that put strategic environmental problems into consideration. “Without it, the development planning, policy and programme will only negatively affect environmental conditions and make them worse,” he said.