Andi Misbahul Pratiwi & Anita Dhewy
Nowadays, climate change has become a buzz word, everywhere people talk about it, but most of them think that climate change is something given or only nature problem not as human problem, not as gender and youth problem. So, what happens then is that the response does not look at the underlying causes of climate change and global warming associated with an expansive and extractive development model that does not pay attention to the sustainability and respect for the earth and other creatures outside of humans. In the Paris Agreement Document—at Climate Change Conference took place in Paris 2015—for the first time a legal binding document was agreed, and it led the related parties to ratify the document. In addition, for the first time, there was also a global agreement that all states declared the temperature rise should be withheld or stopped at a maximum of 2 degrees. With the current pattern and model of development that by the majority not to say all the countries in the world, projected by the end of this decade the earth experiences a temperature rise until 3 degrees Celsius. This condition has a very wide impact such as changes in the growing season that can lead to unsuccessful planting and crop failure. In addition the rainy season becomes shorter but with higher intensity rainfall that triggers flash floods, landslides, and so on. Medium dry season becomes longer and very extreme to cause drought.
In last decade we have seen the increasing of hydrometeorological disaster or disaster caused by climate change. Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) noted that during 2016 there were 2,342 event of disasters or increase 35% compared to the event of disasters by 2015. About 92% of those event of disasters are hydrometeorological disasters dominated by floods, landslides and tornadoes. National losses due to disasters each year in Indonesia reach Rp40 trillion. The amount has covered losses due to climate change. A similar picture also occurs in the Asia Pacific region. In 2016, floods, storms and extreme temperatures killed 4,987 people and affected 35 million people and caused estimated damage of about $77 billion. Compared to historical standards, there were fewer disasters in 2016, but they still took a heavy toll (ESCAP 2017). Asia Pacific, as home to 60 million of the world's population, is the most disaster-prone region on the planet. The risk of disasters in this region can be exacerbated by climate change. The disaster included more life-threatening heatwaves, worsening floods and droughts, more frequent and stronger tropical storms, and more severe rainy seasons in East Asia and India.
Climate change affects everyone, man, women, girls, boys, and vulnerable groups differently. The Difference is rooted in unequal power relation and harmful gender norms, age and gender are the factors. Given existing gender inequalities and development gaps, climate change ultimately places a greater burden on women. Men and women are affected by climate change in different ways, because the societal and cultural roles and responsibilities placed on them by families and communities are very different. For examples in rural areas, women are the primary food producers and providers of water and cooking fuel for their families, they have greater responsibility for family and community welfare. A number of existing data and research show the impact of climate change has more effect on women and girls, not only on their body condition but also on their roles. In some areas in Indonesia there is still a role gap and involvement which makes the position of women and girls more vulnerable in the context of accepting the impacts of climate change. We also see the different roles, status, power and economy between women and men that cause women to be part of the largest beneficiary group of climate change.
Related to sustainable development on goal number 1, end poverty in all its forms everywhere, we should realize that ending poverty is a particularly pertinent youth issue, as those aged 15 to 24 are most likely to be among the working poor. Poverty is still an unresolved problem in Indonesia and has the greatest impact on women and girls. When we are talking about poverty, it is important to recognize that within poor families, it is girls and women who are most suffer the effect of poverty. Gender inequality places girls as second priorities after boys in term of education, food, and other opportunity. In poor families girls are burdened with more responsibilities related to domestic work than boys. Poor girls are particularly vulnerable as they experience multiple layers of oppresion which limit their access to opportunities and availability of choices. This situation is getting worse in a time of crisis. When extreme weather events hit community, girls and women bear the heaviest impact and they have fewer resources with which to cope. When clean water becomes more difficult to find, girls will go further to acquire it and place them in situations that are vulnerable to physical and sexual violence from boys and men. Girls are more likely to quit school than boys when the family economy gets worse. The opportunity to go to school is given to boys with the assumption that they will be the breadwinner and head of the family. In such situations, marrying girls is seen as a solution that can reduce the economic burden of the family. Other factors such as religious and cultural views and local customs are also influential. Child marriages in Asia and the Pacific are still very high, Indonesia is also ranked second in Southeast Asia after Cambodia.
Related to goal number 3, ensure healthy live and promote well-being for all at all ages, there are some problems faced by youth in Asia Pacific regarding this issue. Adolescent fertility rates are amongst the highest in the world, while not all pregnant adolescents are guaranteed ante-natal care. In addition, female youth, relative to female children and older women, are particularly vulnerable to physical violence, sexual violence and harmful practices, often resulting in disability and death. Meanwhile it is estimated 620,000 youth living with HIV and about one-third of new infections in the region occur in this age-group (UNAIDS 2013).
In some areas of Asia and the Pacific, young people's access to sexual and reproductive health and rights is still a problem. The strengthening of religious conservatism in some countries in Asia Pacific, such as Indonesia, makes it more difficult for young people to access SRHR. For young people living in remote areas, the situation will be more difficult, not only because of geographical factors but also because of limited information. The absence of comprehensive sexual education in the school curriculum further deprives them of adequate knowledge of their bodies and their sexuality. Girls face more difficult situations associated with biased cultural and religious views.
Adolescent pregnancy puts young women at risk of haemorrhaging, spontaneous abortion, unsafe abortions and premature labor, as well as negatively impacting education, employment and civic engagement opportunities. Pregnancy in adolescent girls with a history of anemia due to poverty they face, will have an impact on infants born with potentially stunting. In situations where natural disasters events as a result of climate change are more frequent, the position of girls will be more vulnerable. Displacement sites for disaster victims are not always made with regard to the interests of girls and women as well as girls with disabilities. Health and sanitation facilities have not considered their needs.
Under Goal 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global community has committed to the elimination of “all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation” and of “all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation”. A number of countries in Asia and the Pacific do not yet have laws that protect women and girls from sexual violence. Indonesia for example, only has laws that regulate the elimination of domestic violence, but other types of sexual violence have not been regulated. On the other hand, efforts to encourage laws that comprehensively protect women from sexual crimes are hampered by religious fundamentalists seeking to widen their influence.
Meanwhile, as family economic conditions worsen due to floods, droughts and other disasters, girls and women will be more vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse or to be victims of early marriage / childhood. Girls who marry at a young age and then get pregnant have a great risk when giving birth. They also missed the opportunity to go to school, which then narrowed their chances of getting into the labor market. This makes their bargaining position with their husbands weaker and puts them in a cycle of poverty.
Goal 6, ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. As a country where one third of the territory is water, Indonesia has an important role in ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for its citizens, underwater survival, and the world climate change movement. Three are out of ten people in the world or 2.1 billion people do not have access to clean water in their homes. Six out of ten or 4.7 million people in the world do not have good sanitation management (WHO 2017). Women and girls spend 6 hours of their time each day taking water (https://water.org/our-impact/water-crisis/).
Climate change worsens the condition of women and girls in accessing clean water and proper sanitation. The life of women and girls are closely connected with water. Their household duties are exhausting; almost half of their time is spent doing labor like collecting water. Women are the primary users of water: cooking, cleaning, family hygiene, and sanitation. Despite the understanding of women regarding nature and the availability of water, children’s ability to access nature and their experience as managers of the sources of water for their families, this knowledge is often scorned or simply ignored by policy makers and engineers. Girls and women in particular, face significant sanitation challanges with lack of menstruals hygiene management and hygiene promotion. This conditon worse when sanitation facilities and clean water not accessible for them. Climate change worsens the condition of women and girls; they must go further to access clean water for their sanitation and their family needs, uncertain weather, and prolonged drought. Sustainable access to water and sanitation, particularly for young women and girls, can help them regularly and safely participate in productive activities such as education.
SDGs Goal 7 focuses on sustainable energy, incorporating targets for renewable energy production, energy eficiency, and energy access. Access to clean and efficient energy is critical for economic progres, human welfare and environmental well-being. Based on World Bank data (2013, 2015) more than 24 million Indonesian households still use traditional cooking stoves. Kopernik an NGO in Bali, is trying to solve the problem by channeling appropriate technology in East Nusa Tenggara/Nusa Tengga Timur (NTT), one of remote area Indonesia. Kopernik distributes Biomass Stove to women and girls in NTT to help them do their house chores. This stove is a very useful innovation of women in NTT. Previously, women in NTT used stoves that earn smoke which is potentially damaging women's health. The Biomass stove is very efficient, they can use wooden sticks, coconut shells and wood shavings for fuels. Although the stove also uses wood, this Biomass Stove does not smoke as in the furnace and more energy efficient. This innovation is very helpful for women in that region. In addition, this appropriate technology can reduce carbon production and contribute to the decrease in CO2 that causes climate change, it’s one of way to mitigating climate change.
We know that the status and prospects for girls and women are the most important indicator of our world’s stability, prosperity, and safety. We must acknowledge and realize that girls have unique potentials, they have a central role in families that depend on farming or livestock when coping with extreme weather events such as drought or flood. Therefore prioritizing education for girls is an important step in the mitigation of climate change. Study held by the Brookings Institution shows that empowering girls and women through a combination of education and family planning is the number one thing the world can do to address climate change. The study suggests that for every additional year of schooling a girl receives on average, her country’s resilience to climate disasters can be expected to improve by 3.2 points (as measured by the ND-GAIN Index, which calculates a country’s vulnerability to climate change in relation to its resilience). Therefore, there are platform in which each party can collaborate to support girls as agents of change in the pursuit of sustainable development and equitable climate action: (1) promote girls' reproductive rights. Global community must approach women’s reproductive health from a gender justice and rights-based perspective delivered through quality girls’ education programming. (2) Invest in girls’ education to foster climate participation and leadership. (3) Develop girls’ life skills for a green economy.
Young People Play a Crucial Role in Achieving SDGs
Asia and the pacific are home to 60% of the global population aged 15-24 years (UNDP 2017). Base on population proportions, around 85 million youth in Asia-Pacific are living in extreme poverty. In Indonesia one of five people (between 15-24 years old) represents approximately 63 million youth (33% of Indonesia’s total population is productive age). Young people is not a homogenous entity. Youth are a population group defined by age. Great variance exists among persons aged 15 to 24 years, within and between countries in Asia and the Pacific, and beyond. The diversity of youth is reflected in such other common demographic variables as sex, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, education, employment, income, fertility, health, civil status, citizenship, ethnicity, religion, language and geographic location.
Currently Indonesia is entering the demographic dividend era and the peak is projected to occur in 2028-2031. The demographic dividend, also known as the dependency ratio, occurs when the ratio of young people (15 years and younger) and old people (65 and older) to people at a productive age (15-64 years) shrinks. A demographic dividend occurs when the number of people of working age is higher than the number of dependents— that is the elderly and children. The ratio of the elderly and children to the working age population, known as the dependency ratio, is low. A low dependency ratio indicates that potentially more people can be productive and contribute to the growth of economy, leading to unprecedented economic growth.
Although young people have benefitted from the region’s social and economic dynamism, but significant numbers of youth across the region still face a variety of obstacles in their access to employment, education and healthcare. This situation is getting worse when natural disasters and extreme weather events occur. Young people, especially those facing structural disadvantages, suffer disproportionately in labour markets in times of crisis, and these impacts are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. Regarding education issue, extreme weather events have been shown to reduce participation, especially female youth, in education since the burden of schooling costs becomes higher and the need for adolescents and young people to contribute economically to households becomes greater. Moreover, climate crises can increase malnutrition among adolescents—through food shortages resulting from lower agricultural yields or loss in livelihoods opportunities—with potentially long-term health consequences, such as complications with pregnancy.
The demographic bonus can be a demographic disaster if young people in Indonesia do not have access to good education, health rights and infrastructure, decent work and space and facility to increase their innovations. This has already happen in many remote areas of Indonesia. East Nusa Tenggara/Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), as one province experiencing a high rate of loss in the number of its productive people moving out to urban areas on other major islands, sees a very small benefit from its demographic dividend. Although economic growth in NTT is considered as moderate, about 5.04 percent in 2014, that growth failed to reduce poverty and to improve the human development progress of its people. The poverty rate in NTT is high, 19.60 percent in 2014. Its HDI is the second lowest of the 33 provinces.
In Indonesia, young people also play an important role in SDGs movements. With the presence of technology, young Indonesians use it to provide mentoring services, counseling and education. For example there is a portal website known as HelpNona.com which provides counseling for young women who experience violence in romantic relationship, and also education about responsible relationship. In the field of education and technology, there is a community known as Girls in Tech Indonesia—as a chapter of global Girls in Tech—who empowers women in technology. In the context of education, social and humanity, there are several portals such as Indorelawan.org; a portal that connects volunteers with organizations across Indonesia, KitaBisa.com; as a portal for raising donation, ruangguru.com; an educational startup, Lactashare Child; as a startup for providing breast milk for babies across Indonesia to prevent malnutrition. In doing so, the young people have shown that they have an important role in achieving SDGs alongside with technology that has been being a very powerful tools in the millennial era.