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Strengthening Coastal Resilience for Communities in Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia

We work to reduce the impacts of frequent disasters on vulnerable communities in Nusa Tenggara Timur, utilising innovate approaches to improve water management, sustainable livelihoods, ecosystem restoration, disaster risk reduction and the adaptive capacity of local communities. Through our Bio-rights microcredit scheme we improve the livelihoods of communities that restore their ecosystems by, for example, the planting of mangroves and other productive trees.

Action Description:

Problem to be solved

Nusa Tenggara Timur is known for its extreme landscape and weather conditions. Communities here are highly affected by both droughts and floods. In addition, landslides and typhoons commonly hit the region, and a devastating tsunami in 1992 took thousands of human lives. Erosion is common in coastal areas.

Where we work

We work with 30 villages in five districts of Nusa Tenggara Timur Province. Each district is about 375,000 hectares km3, with a total population of more than 565,000 people. Much of the area is dry land dominated by semi-arid grassland savanna and a karst mountain landscape. 

Additionally, we have one learning site in Banten Bay, Western Java, where most of the mangroves have been converted into fish and shrimp ponds. In the vicinity is the 30 hectare Pulau Dua (Island number Two) Strict Nature Reserve, one of the most important mangrove habitats for colonial breeding waterbirds in Indonesia. Every year, 40,000 waterbirds breed here and feed at the fish ponds. Coastal erosion, stimulated by mangrove deforestation and other human activities, threatens the bird colony as well as the people living in the adjacent village.

Our approach

We support local communities through our Bio-rights microcredit scheme in return for conservation action. We believe that developing alternative sustainable livelihoods is one of the most effective measures to reduce disaster risks and adapt to climate change. By taking better care of their nature and diversifying their income, communities reduce the risk of disasters and are more resilient when they do occur.

Our Bio-rights approach facilitates this linkage of environmental rehabilitation and livelihoods. In the long-run, environmental rehabilitation will reduce the human-induced disaster events, such as landslides, floods and fires, while supporting income-generating activities.

Our Indonesia team trains the communities to prepare and plant mangrove seedlings and maintain replanted mangrove sites. These mangrove forests not only protect the coastline, but also serve as breeding grounds for fish, shellfish, mollusks and other income-generating species.

From local to international level

These innovative actions are supported by policy, advocacy and outreach from the local to international levels, designed to promote integrated policies on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and ecosystem management and restoration. With local governments we work to promote the integration of these policies as well as reviewing spatial planning and coastal zonation policies.


  • Consultation programmes brought stakeholders, from government officials and local communities at the village to district levels, on board. Partnerships with these stakeholders and a total of nine community-based organisations are now established, through which we aim to expand the number of people benefiting from disaster planning and coastal management to over 20,000.
  • As part of the Bio-rights mechanism, local communities plant coastal and productive trees. Our first monitoring indicates that communities in Nusa Tenggara Timur have prepared a total of 177,800 seedlings. In addition, more than 165,000 mangrove trees have been planted by communities in Banten Bay.
  • We successfully protected mangroves along the coast of Sikka District, East Nusa Tanggara. The decree by the Sikka government in September 2012 covers 61 sites and prohibits the destruction of economic and ecological functions of mangrove ecosystems. We hope to replicate this success in other districts with mangroves.

Additional achievements will be shared as our work progresses.

Action Partners: