The importance of a Loss and Damage Fund for Coastal Communities in Indonesia

Feb 20, 2023

On November 6-18, 2022, the 27th Conference of Parties (COP) was held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. World leaders, climate groups and activists met in Egypt to discuss plans to safeguard the planet’s future. Throughout the conference, civil society groups exchanged ideas and experiences, telling how the climate crisis is impacting their lives or will impact their lives in the future unless real climate action is taken now. 

WALHI were active in various civil society forums, discussing how to achieve climate justice for countries like Indonesia, which experience disproportionate and unfair impacts of the climate crisis while historically contributing the least amount of global emissions compared to rich countries in the global North, have been polluting for almost two centuries.

A historic breakthrough in deadlocked COP27 talks meant a loss and damage fund to compensate developing countries for the irreversible impacts of climate change was established, despite consistent efforts by the US and other developed countries to derail it.

The demand for a Loss and damage fund came from the global environmental movement and 134 developing countries, including those from Asia, Africa and South America, and small island nations.

“For Indonesia, a loss and damage fund is essential. The climate crisis has already impacted coastal areas, seas and small islands, and coastal communities who are strongly dependent on marine resources for their life.”


Parid Ridwanuddin, Campaign Manager for Coastal and Marine of WALHI/Friend of the Earth (FoE) Indonesia

Coastal villages in Indonesia are already sinking. Demak in Central Java loses one hectare of land annually to rising sea levels. For Pari Island, 11% of the island’s surface has already submerged into the sea. It is predicted that most of the island could be submerged by early 2050. This poses a serious threat to the human rights for Pulau Pari residents. In addition to sea level rise, it’s estimated as many as 199 cities or regencies located in coastal areas in Indonesia will be affected by tidal floods annually by 2050. 

The challenge of a loss and damage fund is enormous. The mechanism for channeling these funds will be decided at next year’s COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates, including who will contribute to the fund and who will benefit. At the national level, the loss and damage fund needs clarity regarding which institution will be responsible, the distribution mechanism, and the people who will receive these funds. For example, will coastal communities affected by the climate crisis receive these funds? For now, this question remains unanswered. 


Written by Parid Ridwanuddin
Campaign Manager for Coastal and Marine of WALHI/Friend of the Earth (FoE) Indonesia