As Timor-Leste continues to experience unpredictable weather patterns and the impacts of more intense wet seasons and longer dry seasons, government representatives from the Secretary of State for Environment, Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries, Interior (Secretary of State for Civil Protection), Public Works, and State Administration opened a United Nations Development Program inception workshop for a new adaptation project, backed by the global Green Climate Fund, to help protect rural communities.
More than 70 percent of Timorese live in remote rural areas with little infrastructure. Their lives and livelihoods are significantly impacted by climate-related events such as floods, landslides, erosion, sea level rise and droughts, which have been increasing in intensity in Southeast Asia in recent years. In the most recent disasters to hit the country, an unexpected late wet season caused widespread flooding in Dili in March, while drought ruined crop production in other areas, dramatically increasing food insecurity among subsistence farmers who make up over 65 percent of the population.
In response to the challenges, the six-year project ‘Safeguarding Rural Communities and their Physical Assets from Climate Induced Disasters in Timor-Leste’ will support the implementation of 130 climate-resilient small-scale infrastructure across six municipalities that have been identified as most vulnerable to climate-related hazards. Approximately 175,840 people – around 15% of the population – will benefit from 38 new water supply systems, 25 irrigation schemes, 216 kilometres of rural roads, and 20 flood-protection infrastructure.
The project will also introduce transformative adaptation approaches to planning and implementation of the country’s rural infrastructure development programmes under village and municipality levels development planning frameworks.
Further, it will strengthen ecosystems services through catchment management approaches and reforestation, as well as bolster Timor-Leste’s policies, regulations and institutions related to climate change and disaster preparedness. This includes developing risk information services, vulnerability mapping and monitoring.
- Develop, monitor and integrate climate risk information into policies, regulations and institutions to inform climate resilient small-scale rural infrastructure planning and management
- Implement climate risk reduction and climate-proofing measures for small-scalerural infrastructure in six priority districts to build community resilience
- 130 climate resilient rural infrastructure works (including 216.94 km of road slope stabilization projects; 38 Water Supply Systems; 54.18km of irrigation systems; 14.15 km of flood defences – resulting in reduced exposure to climateinduced
- Rehabilitation of 300ha of degraded land to protect it from erosion, landslide and flooding
- Agroforestry benefits for infrastructure and improved livelihoods among 23,412 households with improved and resilient livelihoods trough implementation of agroforestry
- A further 1200ha of reforestation and agroforestry from Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries co-financing