Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia's poor will be most affected by
climate change, the United Nations Development Programme said in a
report released Tuesday.
"Climate change threatens to undermine Indonesia's efforts to combat poverty," the report said of the world's fourth most populous nation, which is already highly prone to disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and landslides.
"Its impact is intensifying the risks and vulnerabilities facing poor people, placing further stress on already over-stretched coping mechanisms," it warned.
Released ahead of a major global climate change conference on the Indonesian island of Bali next month, the report detailed major threats to the poor -- their livelihoods, health, food and water are all at risk, it said.
Many poor, for instance, work in agriculture or fisheries so their livelihoods are acutely sensitive to weather changes, the report noted.
Millions of Indonesian fishermen "rely on highly sensitive ecosystems in which even small changes can have large effects: changing water temperatures that damage coral reefs, for example will exacerbate other, human-induced stresses such as pollution and over-fishing and thereby cause a reduction in fish stocks," it said.
Higher temperatures will allow mosquitoes to flourish, with poor families more likely to be living in environments vulnerable to them.
The report highlighted areas where adaptation -- finding ways to cope with the impending new environment -- should be a priority.
Farmers will have to consider more crop varieties and better water management, while people facing rising sea levels have options such as building barriers or moving further from shore, it said.
Health care will also need to be improved with better surveillance to monitor the spread of diseases like malaria and dengue.
Former Indonesian environment minister and UN advisor Emil Salim told an event launching the report that though the poor in the country will be the worst hit, they do not yet comprehend this.
"So the rich and those who have sophisticated skills have the obligation to fight for the poor and promote the focus for Indonesia on water issues, renewable energy, the problems of health, food, agriculture and forest biodiversity," he was quoted by AFP as saying.
"With that as our focus, we may somehow help the poor."
The meeting in Bali is from December 3-14. (*)
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