Building with Nature: Entry Points and Policy Review in Indonesia
Over decades, climate change already has significant impacts on ecosystems, economies, and communities; its impacts have been felt and, at times, are disastrous. There is a need to create a new robust approach to building infrastructures to adapt continually with the existing threat of climate change with the Climate Change Adaptation plan and mitigate the disastrous risk of its impact with Disaster Risk Reduction. This new approach needs to accommodate our infrastructure to the fundamental and essential part of nature instead of forcefully altering nature to adapt to our needs.
Building with Nature is a holistic and inclusive approach that integrates Nature-based Solutions in water. Its approach harnesses natural dynamics, with ecosystems and natural processes as part of the solution. The guiding principle is to work with nature instead of against it.
Since 2015, Indonesia has implemented the BwN approach to restore its eroding coastline in Demak, Central Java. The project was managed by EcoShape and Wetlands International together with the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) and the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing (PUPR). There is a rising interest in BwN to be mainstreamed in other locations and applications and at different levels as a way forward to build climate-resilient landscapes with multiple benefits to people and nature.
Based on the intention of further expanding Building with Nature in Asia, Yayasan Lahan Basah (YLBA or Wetlands International Indonesia) has commissioned The Water Agency to conduct a study and advise YLBA on the potential entry points to mainstream the concept of Building with Nature. Together with YLBA, TWA analysed the enabling and hindering factors to mainstream BwN with regard to the institutional setting to understand the Indonesian policy framework for CCA and DRR and learn the lessons from the pilot project in Demak by conducting interviews and FGD across multiple institutions.
The Entry Points study demonstrates that delivering policy change to accommodate BwN requires multi-sector collaboration governance, both with a top-down and bottom-up approach to enable its mainstreaming across sectors and at multiple scales. Persistent capacity building and communication, especially in the initial phase, are also required to ensure that the local community understands the BwN concept in an easy-to-digest and practical term. An inclusive approach where the local community feels ownership of the project will also make the project and infrastructure more sustainable.
The interest indubitably requires a transformation in developing marine and water infrastructures to address climate, environmental and development-related challenges in Indonesia in parallel. To support this objective, a Policy Review was conducted to support the mainstreaming of the BwN approach in Indonesia's water infrastructure sector. The report reviewed the national development plan, ministry/agency strategic plans, and strategies related to water infrastructures, CCA and DRR, natural resource management, and the spatial plan for 2020-2024.
The review shows ample opportunities to introduce BwN to decision-makers in Indonesia as a cutting-edge approach to providing ecosystem-friendly water infrastructure development, along with many socio-economic and environmental co-benefits that is financially viable in both the short and the long term.