The overarching vision set out in the NAPA is to make the Timorese people more resilient to climate change, recognizing their high vulnerability in an economy that is dominated by subsistence agriculture. Adaptation measures will be focused on reducing the adverse effects of climate change and promote sustainable development. These measures will build on existing strategies and plans across all sectors within Timor-Leste including the National Priorities process while initiating six dynamic Sector Working Groups on food security, water, health, disasters, biodiversity and infrastructure.
Following the turmoil of its emergence as an independent nation, Timor-Leste continues to be faced with enormous development challenges. Climate change represents an additional risk with the potential to cause further set-backs by undermining progress made on key development indicators, in particular food security. Due to its recent history, there is a limited store of scientific knowledge and research specific to Timor-Leste which might help to characterize the likely impacts of climate change. However, in common with its neighbors in South-East Asia and the Pacific, it is anticipated that Timor-Leste will face significant challenges as a result of climate change. In particular it is anticipated that the nation’s vulnerability to climate change will be intensified by its extremely high dependency on the natural resource base, inadequate infrastructure and lack of institutional capacity.
This National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) has been prepared by the State Secretariat for Environment located within the Ministry of Economy and Development (MED), Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The preparation process has closely followed the guiding principles outlined in the annotated guidelines of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Expert Group (LEG) established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). A central element of the Timor-Leste NAPA has been the establishment and active participation of six dynamic Sector Working Groups on food security, water, health, disasters, biodiversity and infrastructure. Members were drawn from across government, universities, national and international NGOs, donors, the private sector, international organizations and youth. Focal points from these groups were also actively engaged in consultation at the district level.
The Sector Working Groups adopted a two-step workshop process in order to identify the likely vulnerabilities and impacts of climate change on their individual sectors and to consider potential actions to address these impacts. Across all sectors, the main concerns raised related to changes in rainfall and temperature patterns and their effects on drought, flooding and landslides. These concerns were mirrored at consultations in the five Districts of Baucau, Bobonaro, Ermera, Manufahi and Oecusse, which were selected to represent the full range of possible climatic and agro-ecological conditions. The agricultural and water sectors were the two felt to be most heavily affected by climate change.
The overarching vision set out in the NAPA is to make the Timorese people more resilient to climate change, recognizing their high vulnerability in an economy that is dominated by subsistence agriculture. Adaptation measures will be focused on reducing the adverse effects of climate change and promote sustainable development. These measures will build on existing strategies and plans across all sectors within Timor-Leste including the National Priorities process.
Key results and outputs
Adaptation measures proposed by Timor-Leste include:
- Food Security: Reduce the vulnerability of farmers and pastoralists to increased drought and flood events.
- Water Resources: Promote Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) to guarantee water access in a climate change context.
- Human Health: Enhance the capacity of the health sector and communities to anticipate and respond to changes in distribution of endemic and epidemic climate-sensitive diseases, and reduce the vulnerability to infection of populations in areas at risk from expansion of climate-related diseases.
- Natural Disasters: Improve institutional and community (including vulnerable groups such as women and children) capacity to prepare for and respond to climate change induced natural disasters.
- Forests, Biodiversity and Coastal Ecosystems: Maintain and restore mangrove and forests and promote awareness raising to protect coastal ecosystems and forests from climate change impacts.
- Livestock Production: Improve planning and legal framework for the promotion of sustainable and balanced food for livestock production.
- Physical Infrastructure: Improve regulations, standards and compliance for climate-resilient infrastructure.
- Supporting the ambitious national poverty reduction target in relation to the expected increased storm intensity at sea by improving the capacity to forecast and adapt offshore oil and gas infrastructure to withstand strong storms and waves.
- A ninth priority area, underpinning all others, focuses on developing National Institutional Capacity for Climate Change through which overarching programme level coherence will be ensured.
Taken collectively, these activities provide a coherent programme which, if implemented as an integrated programme, would significantly reduce the vulnerability of Timor-Leste’s critical development sectors to climate-related risks.
- To set up Institutional structure for the preparation of the NAPA document
- To conduct participatory assessment of vulnerability to current climate variability
- To identify key climate change adaptation measures and develop proposals for priority activities to address the adverse effects of climate change
- To prepare the NAPA document in the format established by the COP
- To have the NAPA document endorsed by the national Parliament, Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister
- To disseminate the final NAPA document to the public.