Resilience for & by all

Semarang (Indonesia)


Fonds mondial pour le développement des villes (FMDV)

Semarang, the coastal capital of the Central Java Province in Indonesia, is home to 1.5 million people (population growth of 1.5% a year), a quarter of them victims of endemic poverty. 50% of the city’s 373.7 km² surface area is taken up by agricultural and aquaculture activities and 33% by domestic housing. The city is under intense pressure, which is bound to be exacerbated by the anticipated impacts of climate change: more frequent flooding and longer dry seasons affecting poor communities on the coast (300,000 residents, 2,500 farmers and their families), over and above the repercussions of expected waves of migration.

The multiple consequences and foreseeable cost of inaction have prompted the city to participate in an integrated programme to build its climate change resilience. The aim is to reduce vulnerability while strengthening the social and economic activities of the residents most at risk.

Para descargar: cities_environment_creating_sustainable_wealth4.pdf (3,8 MiB)

A programme dedicated to building climate change resilience

The ACCCRN programme1, developed by the Rockefeller Foundation, offers ten Southeast Asian cities the opportunity to finance part of their climate change resilience programme. In Indonesia, the Foundation identified Semarang through a rigorous selection process based on the following criteria: high level of vulnerability to climate hazards, existence of environmental programmes and strong motivation on the part of the local government.

At the outset, the collaborative process was undermined by a series of constraining factors:

The ACCCRN programme took action in close cooperation with the local authorities by deciding to introduce a series of measures to lastingly realign the resilience policy:

Building resilience to climate change: steps to raising common awareness

In 2009, Semarang started implementing the programme in partnership with the British NGO Mercy Corps and the Indonesian NGO URDI (Urban and Regional Development Institute) for a 5-year period comprising three phases (see schedule).

Following the selection of the city, a second phase defines the strategy to build its climate change resilience (EUR 415,000 for 2009/10) and a third phase both implements adaptation actions (EUR 623,000 between 2010 and 2013) and aims to find complementary funds for further programmes.

ACCCRN project implementation phases in Semarang
from FMDV, 2012

Mechanisms to improve collaboration between stakeholders

The Shared Learning Dialogue (SLD) method developed by ISET (Institute for Social and Environmental Transition) gathers the different stakeholders at deliberative workshops where those who are represented exchange their expertise, concerns and knowledge. The aim is to reduce knowledge gaps between levels (local, national and international) and sectors (private, public, civil society and university) and in doing so, build a common vision and understanding of the problems and possible solutions to the risks involved.

Six SLDs were organised between 2009 and 2010 in order to build the climate change resilience strategy, improve coordination between adaptation programmes, and enhance decision-making effectiveness.

This system is completed with a City Working Group (CWG), established by a partnership agreement with the Mayor and comprising a multi-sectoral team of 20 representatives from the municipality, local and international NGOs and researchers from local universities, which is tasked with implementing the programme.

The local development agency BAPPEDA, known as Champion, plays an essential role in the CWG (see interview): it is in charge of leading the implementation of the project in the municipality, ensuring there is proper coordination between the different stakeholders and sustaining their interest in building climate change resilience.

Once the financing from the Rockefeller Foundation ends, the continuity and ownership of the project will be ensured by institutionalising and internalising the CWG within the municipality as an Expert Panel on Climate Change.

In order to scale up private sector involvement, the CWG plans to prepare a guide for companies presenting the investment potential in the adaptation plans (housing, sewage system, waste, etc.) or, otherwise, the associated risks! Indeed, despite an active search for cross-cutting and multi-sectoral collaboration, Indonesian companies continue to lack commitment and to be reluctant to invest in projects where the results are not immediately visible.

Producing information to better prepare climate change and financial resilience

The decision-making process can be facilitated by increasing the quality of understanding of climate change issues thanks to dedicated tools to monitor adaptation policies. Consequently, the institutional capacity of the municipality is strengthened via training for city staff provided by the teams of Mercy Corps and URDI and the definition of resilience indicators by ISET (they will be operational by the end of 2012).

Although the programme contributes to enhancing knowledge about climate change resilience (increase estimated at 50%), this understanding is uneven and mainly concerns the staff who are the most involved in the programme. Frequent team turnover also prevents knowledge capitalisation.

This is why the City Working Group (CWG) has also coordinated the production of three types of study with support from local universities:

the assessment of vulnerabilities to climate change risks in the city, then in certain particularly vulnerable sub-districts,

the assessment of the city’s response capacities (institutional analysis and governance),

studies on sectors that are sensitive to climate hazards (analysis of the city’s drainage plan, the impact of coastal erosion for fishermen and ad hoc adaptation actions and an economic and monetary analysis of the impacts of floods in the sub-district of Kemijen).

The results of these different studies are set out in the City Resilience Strategy (CRS) document, some aspects of which have been included in the city’s Mid-term Development Planning Programme, which sets guidelines for the actions to be implemented.

The strategy plan includes:

Analysis of impact and economic loss of coastal degradation in Semarang in 2008
from FMDV, 2012

Recommendations for adaptation actions are proposed for the short term (before 2014 and the end of the programme), mid-term (5 years) and long term (10 years) in order to address the eco-social impacts of future natural disasters.

The total budget projection, for the implementation of 5 priority adaptation actions identified, stands at EUR 1.1m for a 3-year period, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, ISET and Mercy Corps.

For the medium- and long-term actions, a strategy to seek financing has been launched by the CWG in order to guarantee the sustainability of the project and the implementation of actions once the Rockefeller Foundation funding ends in 2014. These potential sources of financing are mainly national funds, international donors and public-private partnerships.

Better integrate to convince and change the future

The emergence of a renewed body of practices and conceptual framework at the Semarang local authorities has given climate change-related issues their rightful place and future scenarios have been integrated into current planning for adaptation actions.

The City Resilience Strategy (CRS) therefore only gained value when the Mid-term Development Planning Program for 2010-2015 included some of its elements. Prior to the ACCCRN programme, the design of municipal environmental sustainability programmes did not consider these projections. Thanks to the CRS, adaptation programmes are now included in the annual budget of the city, allowing to directly finance them without external agents.

The amount of information and local knowledge included in the CRS clearly makes it an empowerment tool for Semarang by enhancing its attractiveness and helping to give access to national funds and international investments.

At the national level, Mercy Corps is thus working with the government with the aim of giving priority to the city’s access, from 2014 onwards, to the national fund, the Indonesian Climate Change Trust Fund which had until now served for the definition of a National Action Plan Addressing Climate Change. The city will also be able to have access to a competitive subsidy system developed by the Ministry of Public Works, which gives cities incentives to implement more environmental initiatives related to climate change. At the international level, the German technical cooperation agency (GIZ) is currently developing an adaptation programme in partnership with the city on the basis of the analyses that have already been made.

Pilot projects to adapt and transform practices

The city has set up four pilot projects alongside the preparation of studies, institutional strengthening and the development of dialogue between stakeholders and has initiated the implementation of five priority adaptation actions defined in the CRS.

Each project (micro or macro) has sought to ensure that the local community takes ownership of it in order to secure its sustainability via information campaigns on climate change conducted in neighbourhoods, and the involvement of community associations and leaders in their design and implementation.

A first pilot micro project was implemented from January to June 2010 in the sub-district of Kemijen, a neighbourhood highly vulnerable to flooding.

A community revolving fund system allocated loans to female-headed families to allow them to improve their health conditions, give them greater access to water resources and ensure they are efficiently managed, and thereby increase their resilience. 26 families benefitted from the microfinance system that has been used to renovate the sanitary installations and repair the plumbing. The programme helped to give a greater decision-making power to female-headed families, increase solidarity among women in the community and raise awareness of climate change and its daily impacts. A larger scale replication is already planned.

A second pilot project involved protecting and restoring the coast in the sub-district of Tugurejo in order to reduce risks of coastal erosion. The construction of a 180 m dyke with recycled tyres and the 20,000 planting of mangrove over an area of 8 hectares have strengthened local fishermen’s associations, which participated in the definition and implementation of the project, increased the protection of 6 hectares of community fish ponds and reactivated 1.5 hectares of fish farms.

In February 2011, the city launched the first adaptation action prioritised in the CRS: the pilot installation of a rainwater harvesting system for individuals (5 homes) and communities (a school and 60 homes) in Wonosari Village.

The project feasibility study shows that the rainwater harvesting system is an alternative water supply and not only mitigates the impact of flooding and water shortage (which affects 16 city districts), but also allows the residents to make savings. Indeed, depending on the type of water supply previously used (public pipe network, wells with or without an electric pump, river water…), families can save between EUR 16 and EUR 200 a year (for an investment of EUR 42 per household for a collective project, given that the monthly income for poor populations is less than EUR 22, i.e. EUR 264 a year). Following the success of the pilot action, the city has engaged in a public-private partnership to develop the system in other districts of the city.

A process well underway, a promising project, visible benefits

The ACCCRN process has contributed substantially to raising the municipality’s awareness of climate change resilience issues. By long-term planning and thinking, coordinating the different stakeholders’ expertise and activities, the city has enhanced its decision-making effectiveness. The transformation of adaptation practices mitigates the impact of natural disasters, reduces the vulnerability of poor communities, optimises the allocation of resources and, by doing so, promotes eco-social growth in the city.

By producing expert knowledge and giving information on the city’s long term stability, its attractiveness for national and international financing is increased. In addition, the reinforcement of its institutional capacities allows it to position itself as a resilient city on both the national and international scene (national award and international conferences).

However, the programme does come up against various difficulties, notably concerning the project’s financial, institutional and political sustainability.

Although the definition of the City Resilience Strategy facilitates access to national and international financing, the sources of endogenous financing, a performative element of resilience, are not as yet sufficiently taken into account for the financing of its adaptation.

Moreover, despite the fact that the municipality and the different stakeholders have effectively taken ownership of the project and integrated it, the high staff turnover and political cycles weaken its institutional and political sustainability.

The small budget allocated to climate adaptation actions (between 5 and 6% of the total operating budget between 2009 and 2012) is also an example of how slowly the city is implementing the project and poses problems.

However, the sustainability of the process should be ensured through the encouraging evaluations of projects which have already been launched, the identification of persistent problems by the programme managers as well as a very active effort to resolve them. The expected improvement in the living conditions of the most vulnerable communities, along with higher economic growth following the implementation of adaptation actions on a larger scale, are likely to make Semarang – a resilient and solidarity-based city – an example to be followed during the knowledge-sharing planned in the network of other Indonesian and Southeast Asian cities.

from FMDV, 2012

To extend picture

1 A programme initiated in 2009, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation and implemented by different regional partners such as the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition (ISET), Intellecap and Mercy Corps. It operates in 10 cities in 4 countries (India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam). The programme, using a common methodology developed by ISET, aims to reduce socioeconomic impacts and the vulnerability of the poorest population groups located in risk areas and with limited capacities to respond to climate change risks. It is designed to build capacities to plan, coordinate and implement cities’ climate change resilience strategies via institutional strengthening and the implementation of adaptation actions. The programme will contribute to a database on “lessons learned” and good practices on resilience to climate change to be replicated in other cities.