Central Java sinking coast looks at landscape-based maritime future

Semarang – Mercy Corps Indonesia (MCI) Foundation, a humanitarian organisation committed to reducing disaster risk and climate change, held a policy dialogue to produce recommendations for governance of Pekalongan and Central Java landscape management strategies. This policy dialog is a continuation of the dialog held last September 2022.

The Policy Dialogue with the theme “Building a Contemporary New Maritime Civilisation Based on Landscape in Pekalongan and Central Java” will be held on 29-30 May 2023 in Semarang. The dialogue will focus on a discussion of the recommendations for governance strategies that have been formulated, as well as the detailing of these strategies into program directions. With concerted efforts and appropriate interventions, it is hoped that flood risk and climate change in Central Java can be better managed to create a safer and more sustainable future.

A Mercy Corps Indonesia study in 2021 projected an increase in the risk of tidal flooding and runoff until 2035. The Kupang watershed and coastal areas of Pekalongan City and regency, covering 38 villages, are expected to be affected by tidal and runoff flooding to an area of at least 5,700 hectares. Factors such as an increasing wet extreme index, decreasing rainfall intensity in the dry season, sea level rise, and natural and human-induced land subsidence contribute to the increased risk.

One important finding is land subsidence in Pekalongan district, associated with increased wet extremes and coastal characteristics. This subsidence occurred at a rate of around 0-34.5 cm/year in 2019, with a median value of around 16.5 cm/year. Attention is also drawn to the suboptimal water management in Pekalongan District, both in terms of surface flow control and the provision of clean water supply that is insufficient for the entire community. Therefore, appropriate planning and interventions are needed to reduce the risk of flooding and climate change.

In the first policy dialogue, MCI collaborated with Bappeda of Central Java Province and IAP Central Java, with the aim of formulating a joint strategy to strengthen flood resilience in the Pekalongan and Pantura regions of Central Java and integrating it into development policies. The dialogue resulted in three basic recommendations, namely the structuring of flood-risk areas and regions; anticipation and mitigation of floods based on watershed ecosystems and water resources infrastructure; and approaches to the community regarding ways of living, livelihoods, and preparedness systems in the face of flooding. (nsh)

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