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Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

Incorporating climate change induced sea level rise information into coastal cities’ preparedness toward coastal hazards

PI: Syamsidik (, Tsunami and Disaster Mitigation Research Center, Syiah Kuala University
U.S. Partner: Louise K. Comfort, University of Pittsburgh
Project Dates: December 2016 - November 2019

Project Overview

Research has not yet identified all the impacts of climate changes on island nations like Indonesia. One of the challenges is the complexity of the available data in Indonesia. This project is aimed at combining two sets of processes—climate change-induced sea level rise and coastal hazards (coastal erosion, tsunami, and coastal flooding)—using three projected periods (30, 50, and 100 years). Climate change-induced sea level rise coupled with coastal hazards is a rarely studied topic in Indonesia. Dr. Syamsidik and his team expect that the project should produce newly developed scenarios for assessing impacts of climate change-induced sea level rise in Indonesia’s coastal cities, combining information on sea level rise (a slow process) and coastal hazards (a relatively fast process). Their work will also incorporate scientifically based policy analysis of urban development planning in order to increase the preparedness of cities in the region. In addition, this research will compare the projected impacts of sea level rise coupled with coastal hazards between two coastal cities representing the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere of Indonesia. The impact comparisons will highlight variations resulting from geographical differences. This research will also offer examples for incorporating scientific evidence on climate change and coastal hazard impacts with techno-social approaches for disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation.

U.S. partner Dr. Comfort will assist this research team with her expertise in analyzing development planning policies. Her techno-social approach will a valuable resource for the Indonesian team. To gather input and disseminate their findings, Dr. Syamsidik and his colleagues will organize several forums for stakeholders from the national and local levels. Two policy briefings will be made to address the issue of climate change impacts and their incorporation into development planning for coastal cities in Indonesia. This research team will also produce inputs for improving university-level instruction in courses involving climate change and disaster management. Lessons learned from this research process will be used in revising the relevant course curricula at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh and Mataram University in Mataram.

Summary of Recent Activities

5-395 Coastal Monitoring5-395 Banda Aceh Survey
The team conducted a series of activities in Banda Aceh including resident surveys and coastal dynamic monitoring (photos courtesy of Dr. Syamsidik)
During the first quarter of 2019, Dr. Syamsidik and his colleagues conducted in-depth interviews with 10 key stakeholders in Ambon, including government and non-government institutions, to evaluate the resilience of Ambon to coastal hazards coupled with impacts of sea level rise. The majority of the interview subjects mentioned that the existing policies had not specifically targeted coastal hazards. The interviews highlighted several conditions that could further aggravate the vulnerability of Ambon's coastal areas to disasters and the effects of climate change, including the amount of coastal reclamation, the absence of shoreline areas, settlements near the five rivers, and others. Nevertheless, efforts to build community resilience in Ambon have been carried out with the involvement of various stakeholders. During the activities in Ambon, the team also interviewed the manager of USAID’s Climate Change Adaptation Program for Maluku (APIK USAID) and two of local NGOs who work with APIK USAID.
In addition, the PI and his group held a focus group discussion (FGD) in Mataram on March 12, 2019, co-organized with the Mataram Agency for Development and Planning (BAPPEDA Mataram). The FGD was attended by Mataram coastline stakeholders, who heard a presentation from the PEER team on the coastal planning policy document they are preparing. The researchers highlighted some important inputs to be included in the revised version of the documents and solicited comments and suggestions from the participants to make further improvements. Based on this input, the team revised maps to show predicted and historical data on coastal hazards in Mataram and to include mean river discharge data in their coastal morphological change models (Delft3D). The latest draft also includes some graphs to show erosion/accretion rates of the coastal cells, and for coastal flooding the simulation results have been overlaid with existing land use of the area, as well as land use planned for the next 20 years. A workshop to finalize the document will be held April 28-May 1.
Another aspect of this project involves initiating a task force for mitigating impacts of coastal hazards in Banda Aceh. The research team has conducted interviews with seven key stakeholders, all of whom generally agreed that the city lacks the necessary policies needed to build resilient coastal areas and communities. They also stated that they stand ready to take the recommended actions to improve the city’s coastal strength. Officials from the city’s Planning and Development Agency noted that they have included many hectares of open green space along the coastline in the city’s spatial plan. They also agreed to incorporate research findings on coastal hazards that are amplified by climate change-induced sea level rise. Dr. Syamsidik and his colleagues held a consultation meeting with the Mayor of Banda Aceh on April 12, 2019, aimed at conveying some important findings from research results on the impact of sea level rise due to climate change on the coastal areas of Banda Aceh. The presentation was welcomed by Mayor Aminullah Usman, S.E., Ak., M.M. He greatly appreciated the research carried out by TDMRC and stressed that studies of long-term disaster risk are critical to support the development planning of Banda Aceh to enhance the city’s resilience toward disaster. He also supports follow-up efforts (action plans) to prepare a document for mitigation strategy on tsunami and coastal flooding amplified by sea level rise, both from structural and non-structural aspects. Building on the September 2018 creation of a task force to address these issues with the Government of Mataram, the PI reports that in April 2019 a similar task force will be launched with the city of Banda Aceh. The Mayor of Banda Aceh City has asked the Banda Aceh Development and Planning Agency (BAPPEDA Banda Aceh) and Banda Aceh Disaster Management Agency (BPBD Banda Aceh) to collaborate with the PEER team on developing a document addressing coastal disaster mitigation for Banda Aceh.
Beside the main activities reported above, during this reporting period, the PI and his colleagues submitted one new paper and one revised manuscript to the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction in March 2019. They have also completed their report for the post-tsunami survey after the Palu-Donggala tsunami, and it will be made public after acceptance of the journal article. In the second quarter of 2019, they plan to submit two more papers to international journals, prepare two policy briefs, and conduct an additional FGD in Banda Aceh. In mid-June they will convene a public discussion of their document on coastline management for Mataram. Further out, the PI will attend the Asia Oceania Geoscience Society Conference in Singapore July 28-August 2, 2019, and his colleague Dr. Benazir will attend the International Conference on Asian and Pacific Coasts 2019 in Hanoi in September.
Useful Links

“Assessing the tsunami mitigation effectiveness of a planned Banda Aceh Outer Ring Road (BORR), Indonesia," in Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (available at

Brief reports on the Sunda Strait Tsunami of December 2018:

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