Timor-Leste is the smallest country in the region of East and Southeast Asia both geographically—with a total area of less than 15,000 kilometers—as well as in regards to population—with less than 1.2 million people (CIA, 2011). Since achieving independence in May 2002 following civil unrest in the late 1990s, the country has focused on rebuilding its infrastructure and economy. Its Human Development Index ranking of 120 out of 169 (UNDP, 2010) is near the lower end of the region, but Timor-Leste has made strides in recent years. Still, it remains classified as one of the least developed countries in the world. Currently, there is little data concerning the impacts of climate change on Timor-Leste. As such, Timor-Leste does not yet have a formal climate change adaptation strategy. Informal efforts such as agricultural education, however, are beginning to emerge. Timor-Leste has a hot and humid tropical climate (CIA 2009). The mean temperature in Timor-Leste is approximately 24 degrees Celsius (Government of Timor-Leste 2004). Average rainfall in Timor-Leste is approximately 1500 mm per year (Government of Timor-Leste 2004). The country is defined by a wet season from November to May and a dry season from June to October (Government of Timor-Leste 2004). Timor-Leste is subject to floods, tsunamis and tropical cyclones which could potentially be exacerbated by the effects of climate change (CIA 2009). Poor farming techniques have led to extensive deforestation and soil erosion (CIA 2009). Two-thirds to three-quarters of Timor-Leste’s population rely on subsistence agriculture to survive (MFAT 2009). As a result, the population is vulnerable to shocks such as floods, droughts and crop failures (MFAT 2009). Unseasonably heavy rain in 2003, for example, resulted in flooding, crop damage and severe food shortages (MFAT 2009). Rising sea levels also threaten coastal areas including the capital, Dili, which is only several meters above sea level. Consequently, extreme weather events associated with climate change pose a significant challenge to the livelihoods of those residing in Timor-Leste (CIA - The World Factbook. 2009. Timor-Leste).
Strengthening Climate-Resilience of Small Scale Rural Infrastructure and Local Government in Timor-Leste project brochure.
Project Identification Form (PIF) for the project titled “Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate Induced Natural Disasters in Rural Timor-Leste.”
The government of Timor-Leste is currently investing heavily in transport infrastructure as a basis for securing the country’s long-term development goals. These investments are at risk as a result of climate change and therefore require a strategy to ensure their long-term sustenance. The Dili to Ainaro development corridor is one such region that is increasingly at risk from climate change and disaster related impacts including localized flooding, landslides and strong winds. Therefore, this project will focus on the populace dependent on critical economic infrastructure to make it more resilient through prevention and preparedness measures. Consequently, this will help to secure the medium to long-term development benefits of vulnerable local people of this region.
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The project has three main components with the following associated outcomes –
- Improved climate and disaster risk management is enabled through the establishment of a national training and knowledge hub focusing on climate risk and vulnerability assessment, damage and loss assessment, contingency planning among others (Outcome 1.1) and; the extension of national DRM policy and institutional roles to address climate change and disaster risk reduction measures, including assessment methods etc. (Outcome 1.2).
- Climate and disaster risk planning along with its budgeting and delivery is strengthened including the strengthening of district and sub-district Disaster Management Committees and District Disaster Operation Centres to plan, budget and deliver climate induced disaster prevention financing (Outcome 2.1) and; design of community to district level EWS systems for climate induced extreme events (Outcome 2.2).
- Investments are made in climate resilient community-based adaptation measures including community level climate change vulnerability and risk assessments with a specific focus on gender (Outcome 3.1) and; design and implementation of community level watershed management measures to reduce direct physical impacts of high intensity rainfall events in climate vulnerable hotspots along the Dili to Ainaro development corridor (Outcome 3.2).
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Read the attached 2-page Project Brief for the LDCF project in Timor Leste: Strengthening Climate-Resilience of Small Scale Rural Infrastructure and Local Government in Timor-Leste.
The Project Identification Form (PIF) for the Timor Leste LDCF project details how the project was formulated in alignment with the Updated Results-Based Management Framework and Adaptation Monitoring and Assessment Tool for the Least Developed Countries Fund. It corresponds to Objective CCA-1: “Reducing Vulnerability: Reduce vulnerability to the adverse impacts of climate change, including variability, at local, national, regional and global level”.
PowerPoint Presentation: Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in the Dili – Ainaro Road Corridor, Timor-Leste
To introduce the subject, here are a few slides to show you the types of challenges that the infrastructure in Timor Leste is facing. Despite the high specification of design and construction that goes into modern roads, if the risks of landslides occurring outside of the road’s design are not taken into consideration, they can severely impact the road and its usability as well as put people lives and livelihoods at risk. View the video for more information.
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.