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Barker to Indonesian Civil Defence conference

04 August 2008

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Civil Defence Minister Rick Barker left for Jakarta last night to attend a conference aimed at strengthening Indonesian community resilience to earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions, and deliver the keynote address.

The Promoting Initiatives on Disaster Risk Management conference and workshop is co-sponsored by New Zealand and Indonesia and will bring together Kiwi natural hazard experts and their Indonesian counterparts to draw on shared experience.

"Over the past two decades, disasters have increased in number and severity, requiring enhanced international cooperation and stronger international relationships," Mr Barker said.

"New Zealand's approach to international engagement on civil defence and emergency management matters is based on three objectives; to ensure that our response capability is supported by access to international assistance, to fulfil our international obligations as a good 'global citizen' and to increase New Zealand's domestic resilience and capability through increased knowledge."

"The Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand has been instrumental in organising the conference as a way of building on the work carried out by New Zealand specialists in Indonesia following the Boxing Day tsunami in December 2004 and the Nias and Yogyakarta earthquakes."

"These events highlighted the significant natural hazards our region faces and the need for international cooperation, in planning for, and responding to, major civil defence emergencies. It is fitting that we are meeting in Indonesia to discuss furthering the relationship between our two countries on Civil Defence and Emergency Management matters at a time when we are also celebrating 50 years of New Zealand/Indonesian diplomatic relations."

"The programme represents a great opportunity for us to share our disaster mitigation expertise, and to identify specific projects to improve the capacity of Indonesian and ASEAN communities to deal with the effects of natural disasters," Mr Barker.

Minister Barker will also be making calls on his Indonesia counterpart and the ASEAN Secretariat. He returns to New Zealand on Friday 8 August 2008.


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