2022 marks a consequential year for the world’s third largest democracy. This year, Indonesia serves as the chair of the G-20, headlined by a call to “Recover Together, Recover Stronger” – words that lean on themes of rehabilitation, inclusion, cooperation and stability.
This role gives Indonesia an opportunity to be recognized as a regional leader and a major player in the international community. However, there is a storm brewing internally that if not addressed, could destabilize the archipelago and the rest of the globe.
Since the beginning of the millennium, natural disasters such as floods, landslides, and forest fires have steadily increased in severity and become more severe across the country. These disasters are made worse by the fact that many Indonesians live near coastal cities. In 2000, Indonesia had 82 natural disasters. In 2021, this number rose to 3,058.
Apart from the global trend towards rising sea-levels and a large expansion of palm oil plantations in Indonesia, there has been a significant increase in land conversions to palm oil plantations, seasonal burning of plantations, encroachment on protected forested areas and plastic pollution. All of these things emit huge amounts of carbon into our atmosphere.
It’s no surprise then that Indonesia is the fifth largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.
This issue remains unaddressed, and many Indonesians have become frustrated and concerned about it. Meanwhile, the effects of climate change are compounded by patriarchal norms in Indonesian society, increasing the instability of women’s experiences day by day.
Political leaders must now ask themselves: Where is the urgency to create and implement gender-responsive climate policies that their constituents require?
Climate change: The impacts for women
Based on ObservationsAccording to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, 88% of Indonesia experienced unusually dry seasons in the first 8 months of 2021. Nusa Tenggara has many areas. Java and BaliCurrently, there is no precipitation for months. This is accompanied with higher-than-average temperatures which makes land unbearable. UnproductiveEconomic opportunity is scarce.
Women are subject to a negative bias in the workforce. Men are often given priority when there are fewer job opportunities. Many women have turned their backs on men in order to find work. Working abroadTo reduce the financial consequences of climate change.
Many are victims of poor working conditions, unregulated and exploitative sectors, as well as limited access to legal protection and healthcare.
One woman from East Nusa Tenggara, for example, shared, “I left [for Malaysia]Because it was my wish. I want my family to live a decent life … Even if I didn’t do anything, I’d still be hit [by my employer]. I was tortured by my employer and became sick. My whole body was full of wounds.”
South Kalimantan, Papua and Papua are on the other end of the spectrum. Floods of the worst nature in decades. It’s no surprise that a March 2021 survey400 Indonesian women were asked about their perceptions of climate change and flooding was the most important issue.
An increase in flood events per annum has been directly related to the increased deforestation in these provinces since 2000. Many people in South Kalimantan (Papua) have been affected. Internally displacedThey were moved to evacuation camps. These camps were home to sex- and gender-based violence. run rampant, where women and girls are subject to harassment and abuse.
Climate change is making natural disasters more severe, such as drought and flooding. Droughts and increased pumping of groundwater stress the Earth’s crust, leading to stronger and more frequent earthquakes and tsunamis.
Acehnese women perished in the 2004 Tsunami that struck Boxing Day. four times higherThe unpaid care work that kept them at home while their husbands, many of whom are fishermen, were out at sea was more than the unpaid care work that helped them stay in their homes.
Political leaders’ commitment to improving climate policies is to be expected in an accountable and responsive democracy. Despite government efforts to address climate change however, implementation of such policies is still a problem. Work in progress.
According to a 2020 Study by local partners of the Berlin-based Gender into Urban Climate Change Initiative network, the Indonesian government’s climate policies ultimately increase gender injustice, as they lack “gender indicators to ensure mitigation and adaptation policies and strategies are responsive to the gender gap, and contain efforts to address it.”
One of the challengesThe rise of illicit money in Indonesia’s political environment is a problem. The provision of land clearing permits is one example. IncreasedIn the lead-up Pilkada(local elections), where deals are made between politicians (i.e., bribes to vote) and potential donors in extractive industries.
This directly correlates to spikes in the number of “hot spots” – areas vulnerable to current and/or future climate impacts – around the country. Ruwaida Ismail, program coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), has been vocal about this issue, calling attention to the government’s problematic role in “issuing permits for land and resource exploration and use everywhere like a sale.”
Despite women’s essential role in the supply and Energy useWomen and other vulnerable groups are often excluded from energy policymaking and the energy and environment policies. They do daily activities like lighting their homes and collecting firewood and cooking kerosene. Natural resources sector.
“Women always raise the issue of climate change,” says Solidaritas Perempuan Chairperson Dinda Nisa Yura, yet “the government does not mention the role of women in tackling climate change. The government does not see gender justice as being related to overcoming climate change.”
A similar set of economic policies is designed to promote job creation. Protests erupted2020: Environmentalists Feminists, and young people, who claim that the measures serve business interests, cause damage to the environment and reduce guaranteed access to information.
There are reasons to be optimistic. In an unprecedented 2021 verdictHigh-ranking government officials were held accountable by the Central Jakarta District Court for violating the Constitution. Law #32/2009 on Environmental Protection and Management, urging them to regulate air pollution as well as cross-border carbon emissions.
The gravity of the Climate crisisIt is becoming more important across the archipelago and feminist voices are rising to demand equitable, sustainable solutions. Here are some suggestions:
- Increase the participation of women, particularly those from rural and remote communities, in decision-making and the development of disaster mitigation or adaptation plans.
- Bolster women’s access to landownership and property rights, increase women’s economic resilience, and diversify their economic options.
- Model the way for Indonesia’s neighbors in the Indo-Pacific to commit to progressive policies that apply gender justice to climate change solutions, for the effects of a global phenomenon must be addressed with global solutions.
Consolidating support behind these actions can help create a vibrant, independent, and environmentally healthy Indonesia for generations to come – something all Indonesians can rally behind.
Muhammad Salman Al-Farisi, a Jakarta-based researcher on politics and governance studies, is the author of this article. He studied at Diponegoro University. Bryant Martin Fiesta, a Washington-based researcher on feminist approaches to democracy and human rights and governance, studied at The London School of Economics and Political Science. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BenarNews.