Global Climate Change Alliance support programme to Timor-Leste

Global Climate Change Alliance support programme to Timor-Leste

At a glance

Active programmes
Min. of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Min. of State Administration, National Directorate for Disaster Risk Management, Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment (MCIA), Instituto Camões, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
Countries involved
Total budget
4,00 M€
GCCA priority area(s)
Effects of climate change on the region

Due to the strong reliance on subsistence agriculture, the coping mechanisms of rural communities in Timor-Leste are being severely tested by unpredicted climate events. The effects of climate change are putting an additional strain on communities, particularly in rural areas, by exacerbating existing food security issues, accelerating the degradation of natural resources and increasing the probability of natural disasters, notably landslides and flash floods, as well as of internal conflicts over resources. Deforestation is also a major concern: as a result of destructive conversion for agricultural purposes, overexploitation of valuable species and use of wood as a domestic fuel by 90% of the households, it is estimated that forest cover has decreased by almost 30% between 1990 and 2010. This corresponds to a rate of deforestation of about 1.2% a year.

The main problem of the rural populations in Timor-Leste is to sustain their livelihoods and satisfy their primary needs, as they are dealing with a particularly fragile agro-ecological context and a weak rural economy. Climate change is expected to exacerbate their vulnerability even more in the future. Consequently the action focuses on activities that have a direct impact on the communities’ lives, providing a better understanding of threats and appropriate responses.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
4,000,000.00 €
Specific objectives

Improve the capacity of populations vulnerable to climate change risks to cope with climate change effects through the sustainable management of their natural resources and the improvement of their livelihood options. This will be achieved using local development mechanisms taking social inclusion and conflict management into account.

Key achievements
  • The methodology for performing vulnerability assessments in Timor Leste was developed, and is now being implemented in target areas. The elaboration and implementation of local Suco action plans is underway.

  • Good practices in climate change adaptation in Timor-Leste are being assessed and documented. 

  • The first conference on Climate Change Adaptation in Timor Leste was held in November 2014. A second  Conference was organized in 2017.

  • An agro-meteorology management concept and strategic plan has been completed. 

  • Forestry and agro-forestry and agricultural demonstration activities have started in coordination with the National Directorate of Forestry and the extension service. Further, the project launched a study and database development of forest and agroforestry species for Climate Change Adaptation in Timor-Leste.

  • Preparation of a set of recommendations and considerations to implement a certification system of seed and propagation material suppliers

  • Other forestry related activities include: the implementation of an agroforestry nursery network, initiation of the reforestation practices and the implementation of pilots and good agriculture practices demonstration plots, improving livelihood options taking in to account climate change issues and watershed management principles.

  • In terms of capacity building, courses in GIS were delivered, but also a Training of Trainers course (“climate field school”). Backstopping to the ALGIS staff in the regular maintenance and the repair of weather station, and remote data monitoring via 3G network and replacement of sensors and instruments, were also provided.

  • Collection and sharing of agro-met information through the development of a cloud database for storing and sharing agro-met data AGROMET: 

  • The project also achieved a significant level of participation of women in all the activities.

Main activities per result

Weather monitoring is made reliable in all 13 districts; climate effects on agricultural production and the environment are better known; the results of regular agro-meteorological analysis are made accessible to the rural producers; and the consequent findings support the definition of evidence-based national policies.

To achieve this, the capacity of the agriculture and land use geographic information system to collect, monitor and disseminate climate data will be improved. The project will enable 19 existing weather stations to be fully functional and improve national capacity to monitor and map climate events. Training will be provided in mapping, data interpretation from an agro-ecological perspective and land use management through adapted courses in regional universities.

Information will also be shared and collected on existing agricultural and conservation practices that improve communities’ adaptation and preparedness to the effects of climate change. Support will be provided to the sharing of information between stakeholders, notably by using the existing food security technical group, by organising regular technical meetings, by setting up knowledge management and sharing mechanisms including a data repository available to all actors. The needs of civil society organisations and universities will be taken into account.

Findings and results will be used to support the updating of national policies and plans related to climate change and its consequences, notably on the incidence of poverty. Evidence will be gathered to update the identification of needs in the most climate-vulnerable areas. Recommendations will be made in line with watershed management principles, including land tenure, forest management, and the use of traditional organisational systems. The updating of national policies and plans will be supported by issuing bi-yearly recommendation reports to decision and policy makers. Support will also be provided for reporting on the implementation of the climate change convention and for organising events to disseminate results, promote lessons learned and help determine policy alternatives on climate change adaptation.

Rural communities are able to identify adapted responses to climate challenges; these responses are incorporated into suco (village) development plans in at least 50% of sub-districts identified as vulnerable to climate change risks, in a socially inclusive way.

Community awareness on forestry and agroforestry activities will be developed, using forestry as a response to land degradation. Community awareness programmes will focus on making farmers more responsive to environmental degradation and conscious of the advantages of reforestation. The activity will be undertaken with the close involvement of the National Directorate for Forestry (NDF), as building community awareness is one of its priorities.

Communities will be supported in assessing the best climate-adapted options at local level and integrating them into existing planning processes. The project will support communities in drafting local soil and water conservation plans.  For this purpose, environmental profiles of the five major watersheds will first be prepared, using participatory processes for assessing climate change effects on communities. Specific attention will be paid to degraded areas, the protection of water catchment areas and the potential for soil and water conservation techniques. The identification of conflict mitigating measures will be an integral part of the process.

The resulting soil and water conservation plans will be integrated into suco and district development plans.

The resilience of rural communities living in at least 50% of sub-districts identified as vulnerable to climate change risks is enhanced through the restoration of their environment, the implementation of sustainable livelihood development activities, and improved social dialogue.

Rural communities, particularly women, will get support to implement agricultural and soil/water conservation practices that are nutrition-sensitive. Extension services will be provided and activities implemented with a priority given to medium- to long-term conservation activities such as terracing and water harvesting.

Field activities will also be undertaken, mainly with the NDF, to promote forestry production (e.g. for enhancing the production capacity of national and community nurseries, improving planting success rates) and agroforestry (e.g. intercropping, forest gardening for non-timber forest products) in line with watershed management principles. This will support the achievement of national reforestation objectives as well as adaptation objectives, through the development of more climate-resilient and diversified activities.

Education and awareness-raising activities will be implemented on climate change consequences and preparing for adaptation. They will foster dialogue and social inclusion, with the aim of taking into account social and natural risks and achieving effective watershed management. Exchange visits with demonstration sites promoting sustainable agriculture and/or forest management, as well as on-site training on demonstration plots and farms, will be organised.

Capacity building for the NDF will be achieved through 'learning by doing' and daily involvement of NDF staff in project activities at all levels. Support will be provided for the implementation of the national forestry management plan, and for improving monitoring and production management capacities notably through the national nurseries.

Challenges and lessons learned (selected)
  • The project focused on the preparation and implementation of vulnerability assessments that are feasible and efficient in the context of Timor Leste. These vulnerability assessments have the capacity to  feed into the review of planning methodologies for integrated village development planning. 

  • In addition, the documentation of best practices and lessons learnt on Climate Change Adaptation in Timor-Leste fuels technical discussions with partners and other stakeholders and helps the identification of appropriate techniques.

  • Capacity development activities and advisory services for key stakeholders as well as general public awareness raising campaigns are key to increase the quality of the technical dialogue and improve the overall feedback received by the project.

  • Inter-institutional coordination with an effective leadership from the government is a key of success. Having a clear and realistic plan is also important to materialize coordinated actions.

Way forward (selected)

A focus will be put on 1º) organizational development and the mainstreaming of climate change adaptation, to the benefit of the national institutions, 2º) the implementation of demonstration activities that follow up the conclusions of the vulnerability assessments and the Suco action plans and 3º) implementation of field activities in order to mobilize and reach rural communities and enhance their adaptive capacities.