Speech by Director of BRR, Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto in the Commemorating Indonesia- New Zealand 50 years of Diplomatic Relations

8/5/2008

 

· Your Excellency Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Indonesia,Bapak Hassan Wirajuda

· Your Excellency Minister of Civil Defense of New Zealand, Honorable Rick Barker

· Excellency Ambassadors, distinguished guests and colleagues.

· It is an honor and pleasure to be here today in this very special forum with you today.

· It is now 3.5 years since the Indian Ocean tsunami hit. To make matters worse, Nias islands were then shaken by a second shattering earthquake. So many lives were lost. Infrastructure and property were destroyed. The scale of devastation had to be seen to be believed.

· Some of you here today saw the devastation firsthand, arriving within days of the tsunami and also being on hand to help in the immediate aftermath of the Nias earthquake. We have been enormously grateful for your many contributions both as individuals and collectively from your government, your community and your charitable organisations. Especially, I am truly glad of the help being given by the people and government of New Zealand.

· As we all know, Indonesia and New Zealand have one very important thing in common. We are both located on top of two of the world's geological hotspots. We have a common heritage in being on the receiving end of those giant tectonic forces which all too often unleash their mighty forces with devastating effect.

· New Zealand has developed a high level of technical expertise in disaster risk management. Indeed, in our Aceh and Nias recovery program, we have also made significant use of it.

· Now, please allow me to share with you our learning in working in the area of disaster management and risk reduction.

· Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

· Our experience shows that when a disaster happened, after the emergency relief stage was done, then the major investment came in for the recovery stage. Up to now, that investment has resulted in remarkable progress.

- More than 112.000 houses have been built.

- Almost 97.000 Ha agricultural lands are rehabilitated or new. Much more than what the tsunami has destroyed.

- Some 2.500 kilometer of road, 18 seaports, 11 airports or airstrips, 1.000 school buildings, 787 health facilities, and 1.600 religious facilities are rehabilitated or built.

- We provided training to 26.000 teachers, yet it can’t replace a big lost of 2.500 teachers who died from the tsunami.

· As we achieve those in the past 3 years, I would like to share 5 practices that we believe as very important:

- 1: Assuring integrity of the funds usage.

- 2: Ensuring coordination at all level.

- 3: Applying disaster risk mitigation principle in the area development .

- 4: Measuring social impact.

- 5: Preserving and sharing the lessons learned.

· First, in assuring integrity of the funds usage:

- A systemic effort to fight corruption has to be in place. Some breakthroughs can be done like the BRR Anti-corruption Unit, implementation of Integrity Pact, and very importantly, support from the national anti-corruption commission – KPK – which opened its first representative office in Aceh. While individual cases may still slip through our tight anti-corruption net, systemic corruption did not.

- Transparency and accountability standards must be kept highly. For example, our e-procurement system where everyone can see a very transparent process is done. As important is the Geospatial Information System in which all of you can look up every single physical asset built, the exact location coordinate, the name of the beneficiary, and other information. To see it by yourself, please visit the booth outside this plenary hall.

- The aforementioned efforts on anti-corruption, transparency, and accountability have led to the trust from our stakeholders. Hard to believe that of the total of 7.2 billion dollars pledged, we manage to get more than 90 percent committed. This is a world record, I believe. As most of them come from the international, please allow me to extend my deepest gratitude for all your generosity, my international fellows.

· Second, in ensuring coordination at all level:

- Can you imagine a huge task involving 49 countries, 600 NGOs, with total projects of more than 12.000? That is what we do in Aceh and Nias. Sure coordination is a difficult word to practice, but we and our partners invest big in coordination.

- In BRR, especially for non-Indonesian government projects, we use project concept note mechanism. The concept note approval workshops allow us to avoid overlap by knowing who is doing what and where. Complement to that, we developed the database called Recovery Aceh Nias – RAN Database. There all projects are to be registered based on the project concept note and their progress is reported regularly.

- To manage the work on the field, regionalization is key. You won’t be effective if you are far away from where the work is being done. Decision making must be fast, hence authority must be decentralized. We did it by establishing regional offices and Joint Secretariats. I believe many partners who did the same to their organization also benefit from regionalization idea.

- We are glad that, in Aceh and Nias, our task to coordinate is helped by the presence of UN Office of Recovery Coordinator (UNORC). It coordinates all on-the-ground UN activities as well as those of NGOs and other international stakeholders.

- Whereas UNORC coordinates the field work, Multi Donor Funds (MDF) serves as donor funding coordination mechanism. Through MDF, we are thankful that New Zealand contributes almost USD 9 million.

· Third, in applying disaster risk mitigation principle in the area development :

- Previously many houses in Aceh and Nias were not built to resist big earthquake. Sure that the buildings we built are also not as strong as the Great Wall, but with the building code as the minimum technical requirement for every house construction – which experts from New Zealand have helped developed – we are hopeful that the houses are strong enough to stand from a relatively big earthquake.

- But when tsunami happens, evacuation has to be made possible as fast as possible. In the village planning done with maximum community participation, we encourage development of an area with an escape hill around. If hill is not there, then an escape building is needed.

- n addition, we have to be friends with the environment. Assurance that Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) is done properly is a must-have. Illegal logging is no question. We surely don’t want to use the timber from the forest next to the development area and then expect flood in the coming rainy season, do we? Thanks to New Zealand which is where we imported the timbers for the temporary shelters from.

· Fourth, in measuring social impact:

- As new things for the region are introduced, be sure to always measure the social implications. Physical development can be done so fast, but social education usually takes longer.

- A very simple example is our policy to build standard 36 m2 houses. If community of an area used to live in conventional shelters like hut, will they be able to live properly and maintain the new house?

- If we force a policy for not building anything on a location near the sea, should the fishermen change their livelihood? Will they do that?

- All those questions above have to be answered before you take action. For us in Aceh, this is even more serious as we work in a post-conflict region where social dynamics is really a very sensitive concern.

· Lastly, in preserving and sharing the lessons learned:

- The unprecedented scale of disaster, recovery work complexity, and post-conflict environment have given us so much challenge that at the beginning I hardly imagined to address. But with all the supports from our partners, we prove that we could achieve thus far.

- A lot of good, some bad, and a few ugly things during this major undertaking has offered many lessons or even a reference for disaster risk management. Just to mention a few:

- The progress could have been much faster if the government regulation was ready for an emergency situation. Unfortunately, it was not. Normal state regulation will not suit a non-normal state situation. Hence, with what we learned and the strong good will of the central government, Indonesia has issued the Law on Disaster Management – or UU Penanggulangan Bencana in bahasa. It also becomes the foundation for the establishment of the National Agency of Disaster Management (BNPB) of which we are very glad that the Agency Head is with us today to share his valuable insights.

- In the other hand, we must pay the price for speed. Fast-track construction programs like ours involve a trade-off between speed and perfection. To put it simple, it is better to build 100,000 houses where some need remediation, than only 20,000 houses where all are perfect.

- There are still many lessons that we can share now, but the question is how we can collaborate to best preserve and share them for the world? This is something that this conference can help define.

· Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

· I believe, in this two-day conference, many of you will actually hear more insights from many of the speakers who have a deep expertise and experience on their respective areas.

· As our work in Aceh and Nias tells us the needs to develop solid cooperation in promoting initiatives in disaster risk management to be more prepared in facing future disasters, please allow me to suggest that this conference may help develop mechanism in which we can work together to promote coordinated policy and planning in disaster risk management and produce the joint programs and activities accordingly.

· Today we work with New Zealand to do it. In the future, we welcome other countries to also amplify similar initiative. Finally, with all the supports from every partner, Indonesia has made significant progress in the rebuilding of Aceh and Nias. Thank you all so much, once again, for all the help and contribution you have provided.

· I wish you all have a productive conference today and tomorrow. Thank you.

Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto
Director Of BRR (Rehabilitation And Reconstruction Executingagency For Aceh-Nias)
Commemorating Indonesia – New Zealand 50 Years Of Diplomatic Relations