Communication for Sustainable Development

What to expect from urban development

Hong Kong from Western District overlooking Ko...Image via Wikipedia
A sustainable city is a city that in its development is able to meet the needs of its citizens, can compete in the global economic environment by maintaining the vitality of social harmony, cultural, political, and defense and security, without ignoring or diminishing the ability of future generations to fulfill their needs (Brundtland, 1987).

The challenge for urban development is to minimize exploitation of natural resources that could exacerbate climate change impacts and integrate the sustainable development approach.

Some cities in Indonesia are currently involved in developing climate-mitigation and adaptation strategies with the assistance of the national network, such as Semarang, Bandarlampung and Surabaya, which have a strong focus on community issues.

The approach provides a new model on climate change mitigation and adaptation in Indonesian cities based on the concept of “mass collaboration” (Tapscott and Williams, 2006).

Semarang municipality’s climate-mitigation strategy has four focus areas, namely inundation and sea rise-induced flooding, coastal erosion, drought and landslide. The key elements in these projects are political will and forward-looking leadership, involvement of city stakeholders and data availability.

Bandarlampung municipality’s climate-mitigation strategy has three focus areas, which are solid waste management, clean water management and water catchment/reservoir area rehabilitation. The Surabaya municipality decided to implement a community-based waste management program, also known as the Green and Clean Initiative, due to a massive waste issue in the city.

Based on Indonesia’s experience, stakeholders’ involvement in addressing climate change impacts is imperative.

It is imperative that the community plays a major role to ensure effectiveness of the adaptation/mitigation intervention plan while good governance is pivotal to ensuring implementation of the adaptation/mitigation intervention plan.

Local and national governments play a crucial role in climate change mitigation and adaptation as both take cautionary measures to limit damage relevant to pre-disaster, immediate post-disaster and rebuilding stages, i.e. disseminating early warnings, reducing risks in affected areas and rebuilding homes in a way that restores trust and collaboration.

The role of local governments is to prepare safe places for people to evacuate to as soon as a disaster strikes, repair key infrastructure and services and rebuild infrastructure using more resilient standards.

Strengthening adaptive capacity requires mainstreaming climate change adaptation in development planning, that is, making it an integral part of sustainable development, poverty reduction and disaster-risk management strategies.

Adaptation/mitigation intervention cannot be properly done unless communities are aware of
and strengthen their adaptive capacity. Several laws and regulations have been enforced to support the implementation of mitigation and adaptation in addressing climate related disasters and climate change.

The community must be engaged to prevent climate-change related disasters by altering habits that are detrimental to the environment.

To encourage the community to play a role, the government needs to establish a favorable atmosphere for climate-change sensitive activities.

Integrating climate-change related knowledge in the school curriculum and public education will ensure that all stakeholders are well-informed about means to adapt and mitigate.

It is also important to adhere to local wisdoms and social values to ensure further community acceptance of the mitigation and adaptation process.

Mitigation and adaptation objectives should appeal to a community’s interests. The promotion of attitudes and lifestyle patterns should be developed in strategic communication and systematically.

Climate change mitigation and the adaptation agenda should be implemented through a sustainable development framework that integrates economic (economic efficiency, increased welfare), social and culture (reducing disparities and inequalities, historical and cultural preservation) and ecological (promote green movements and adaptive planning).

The indicators proposed for economic values are reliable infrastructure, secure access to land acquisitions, mobilizing investment/credit, workforce/employment increase, legal system and regulatory framework, reducing poverty and informality, reducing car dependency and promoting public transportation.

The indicators proposed for social and cultural values are equal access to services, promoting social integration, promoting gender and disability sensitiveness, promoting historical and heritage conservation and reducing violence and crime.

The indicators proposed for ecological values are mitigation and adaptation of climate change, minimized urban sprawl, using renewable resources, reducing ecological footprint and reduce, reuse and recycle of waste toward carbon neutral.

To promote community participation in urban development, the Public Works Ministry held a competition referred to as Lestari City (a local adaptation for a sustainable city) to accommodate local community initiatives in improving their local environment.

The idea of a Lestari City is to have a city that has a mitigation and adaptation plan in addressing climate change, considers the spatial approach in conservation efforts, protects citizens’ well-being and maintains cultural vibrancy, fosters creativity and intellectual growth, minimizes the exploitation of natural resources and ensures the quality of urban facilities and environmental capacity.

The climate kampung program was initiated by the Environment Ministry and intended for local communities to implement an environmental management model that integrates adaptation and mitigation aspects of climate change with local wisdom.

The measures include developing a concept and priority criteria for “climate villages”, holding coordination meetings to select sites for the villages, conducting site ground checks, identifying and planning the needs of mitigation and adaptation efforts and public consultation concerning “climate village”.

We have to strengthen public awareness of natural and cultural heritage as the basis to developing future mankind through education and training, communication and information dissemination. All the stakeholders are responsible for making inventories of Indonesian natural and cultural heritage and supporting their establishment as protected assets.

The public in general, government institutions and the private sector need to work together to achieve sustainable urban development that relies on mitigation and adaptation in addressing climate-related disasters and climate change.

The community must be engaged to prevent climate-change related disasters by altering habits that are detrimental to the environment.
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