Climate-Related Disasters Impacting Developing Nations More Severely, How Can it be Done?

drought land because of el-nino hit Indonesia
El Nino Grips Indonesia: 19 Regions Hit by Prolonged Drought, BMKG Issues Warning (photo: envato elements)

The Head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has brought to light a critical issue surrounding the differential impact of climate-related disasters, such as droughts and floods, with a pronounced effect on developing countries in contrast to their developed counterparts.

Dwikorita Karnawati, at the helm of BMKG, underscores the pivotal role that vast disparities in socioeconomic and technological capacities play in determining the resilience of nations in the face of climate change. These disparities are most acutely felt when it comes to dealing with crises related to water, food, and energy.

In her recent remarks during a discussion at Forum Merdeka Barat 9 on October 16, Dwikorita expressed how developed nations often perceive these issues as minor concerns. However, for developing nations, particularly those with island territories and limited resources, these challenges pose a severe and far-reaching threat, largely due to their vulnerability.

Citing data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Dwikorita reveals a staggering statistic: 60 percent of disaster losses in developed countries are attributed to climate change. Nonetheless, the resulting impact on the gross domestic product (GDP) of developed nations is comparatively modest, hovering around a mere 0.1 percent.

The story takes a starkly different turn for developing countries. Dwikorita contends that just 7 percent of climate-related disasters can lead to significant blows, ranging from 5 to 30 percent, to their GDP. Meanwhile, for island nations, even a 20 percent incidence of climate disasters can translate into economic losses of up to 50 percent of their GDP. In some dire cases, these impacts may escalate to staggering levels, resulting in losses equivalent to 100 percent of the GDP.

This scenario, she underscores, exacerbates economic inequalities and significantly impacts the well-being and resilience of communities, impeding their capacity to adapt to and mitigate the consequences of climate change.

Dwikorita, however, emphasizes Indonesia’s relatively robust technological capabilities and its wealth of local cultural wisdom, factors that can serve as a bridge to address this gap. This intersection of technology and indigenous knowledge offers a promising strategy to enhance the capacity and resilience of nations in coping with water crises arising from climate change.

She also looks forward to the upcoming World Water Forum (WWF) scheduled in Bali from May 18 to 24, 2024, which provides a potential platform for international collaboration and action aimed at narrowing the disparities between nations.