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02.02.2017 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

MOST School on Sustainability Science: Supporting Indonesia’s Efforts to Address the Social Implications of Climate Change

The people gathered outside the Community Learning and Action Center (CLAC) in Alahan Panjang village on the 1st of February 2017 suggested an important event about to take place.

Indeed, they were to host the participants of the MOST School on Sustainability Science, visiting the village to observe first-hand the transformative impact of a project co-designed and co-implemented by UNESCO and Andalas University in this site located in the District of Solok, West Sumatera Province. The MOST School participants include representatives of local and national government agencies, researchers and scientists from different universities, activists from NGOs and the experts affiliated with the UN organizations.

The aim of the project in this village was to apply Sustainability Science to the challenges posed by environmental degradation to the local community. The unsustainable practices over the decades had led to deforestation and land degradation around the village, making the land unusable for agricultural production and putting at risk the livelihoods of the local community.

Such socio-environmental issues are confronting communities across Indonesia – much like in many other parts of the world – where the society and the environments are interlinked through complex relationships. Environmental changes drives social transformations: Indonesian communities are and will increasingly be affected by processes such as climate change, biodiversity loss, freshwater scarcity, waste mismanagement, deforestation, land degradation and urban air pollution, to mention a few. At the same time, social transformations drive environmental change, both negatively, through unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and positively, through inclusive and sustainable lifestyles, technologies and social practices.

To understand these transforming relationships between society and the environment, UNESCO Jakarta Office – the Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, supported by the Indonesian Funds-in-Trust and in partnership with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), has co-designed and co-implemented applied Sustainability Science projects with the national and local stakeholders:

  • Andalas University, to implement a community-based project on Green Livelihood and Education in Solok District of West Sumatera Province;
  • Mataram University, to address the socio-environmental challenges caused by deforestation in West Lombok District, West Nusa Tenggara Province;
  • Gadjah Mada University, to explore participatory solutions to the threats of land degradation in District of Bantul, Special Province of Yogyakarta;
  • Institute for Strategic and Developmental Studies (ISDS), to investigate the effects of environmental degradation on the indigenous communities in the Riau Province of Sumatra;

Brining the observations from the visit to Alahan Panjang village, and pulling together recent experiences from other similar pilot projects implemented by UNESCO Jakarta Office, the participants of MOST School on Sustainability Science in Padang, Indonesia (1-3 February 2017) will now focus on analyzing and validating Sustainability Science criteria and indicators [INSERT LINK TO Applied Sustainability Science Framework]. The aim of this MOST School is to use the lessons learned in the Indonesian pilots to build the national capacities of researchers and policymakers to find effective pathways of achieving sustainable transformation for the communities affected by climate change and environmental degradation. (Programme of the MOST School on Sustainability Science).

Designed to bridge the science-policy gap in various areas of UNESCO’s social development mandate, MOST School is a capacity-building arm of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme.

MOST School on Sustainability Science Materials:



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