Timor finalises climate change action plan

22 Nov 2010

Timor-Leste’s response to the challenge of climate change has been the focus of a project run by UNDP and the State Secretariat for Environment, and funded by the Global Environment Facility.

The National Adaptation Programme of Action on Climate Change (NAPA) today held a final consultation on the draft document, which will then be submitted to the Council of Ministers of Timor-Leste for approval.

The document will also be presented to the Climate Change Conference of Parties in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2010.

“As a country Timor-Leste has to adapt to climate change. The NAPA has been a successful tool for consulting all the way to the grassroots,” said Abilio de Jesus Lima, the Secretary of State for Environment.

“It has also provided an opportunity to establish an integrated approach with all stakeholders,” he said.

The NAPA process has involved participants from across government, civil society, international organisations and the private sector.

Numerous workshops in Dili, and five consultations in the districts, have resulted in a detailed assessment of the likely impacts of climate change on key areas of life in the country.

“The mission was to identify the places and people within Timor-Leste most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and to prioritise our responses to the problems,” said Mario Ximenes, Director of International Environmental Affairs at the Ministry of Economy and Development.

“NAPA also aimed to raise people’s awareness of climate change,” he said.

Fifty-seven important activities were identified during the consultation process. These have been reduced to 9 key priorities, which will form the basis of the national adaptation action plan.

They are: land rehabilitation to provide food security, integrated water resources management, strengthening the community health sector, early warning systems for natural disasters, conservation of mangroves, sustainable livestock management, climate resilient infrastructure, working with the oil and gas sector and institutional capacity building.

UNDP’s Acting Country Director, Christian do Rosario, said the NAPA represents an important stepping stone for the country in dealing with the huge consequences of climate change.

“The effects of climate change are far-reaching, cutting across all sectors. If we ignore this and fail to deal with adaptation adequately we will be faced with an increasingly food insecure population; severe challenges to our national water resources; impacts on health and wellbeing; widespread destruction of national infrastructure; and damage to our coastal communities and resources,” he said.

The finalization of the NAPA also represents the fulfillment of one of Timor-Leste’s commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).