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Indonesia and New Zealand co-host disaster risk workshop


06 August 2008

Lilian Budianto
The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

A workshop on disaster management opened in Jakarta on Tuesday, with co-hosts Indonesia and New Zealand seeking greater cooperation to help mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

Both countries share many geographical similarities that make them prone to the same kind of natural disasters, including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

"We are looking into potential cooperation between Indonesia and New Zealand in disaster risk management policies, education, training, research, programs for disaster risk education and projects," Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said at the inauguration of the workshop, titled "Promoting Initiatives on Disaster Risk Management".

"We need to improve the resilience of communities in the face of major natural hazard events."

The two-day workshop, which was jointly opened by Hassan and visiting New Zealand Minister of Civil Defense Rick Barker, was organized by the two countries as part of the celebrations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and New Zealand.

New Zealand was one of the first countries to send relief aid and teams to Aceh when a devastating tsunami struck the province in December 2004. It also sent relief during the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake.

Hassan said the outcome of the workshop would also be used to prepare the establishment of a force to deal with disasters at the regional level.

Barker said New Zealand had developed high standards in dealing with various disasters and would be happy to share its expertise with Indonesia.

"There is no country in this world that can deal with disasters alone. We all need help across the border," he said.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, director of the Reconstructions and Rehabilitation Agency (BBR) for Aceh and Nias, said disaster risk management was an importanct factor to map out, in the aftermath of the disaster and during the recovery period.

"Disaster risk management also manages incoming donations transparently and responsibly," Kuntoro said.

He added BBR learned five important lessons from disaster risk management based on experiences in Aceh and Nias.

"The first is to ensure the high-integrity use of donations. The second is coordination at all levels. The third is the implementation of disaster risk reduction principles. The fourth is the implementation of caring for social impacts of the implemented development program.

"And the most important one is to share those experiences with the world," Kuntoro said.

He also emphasized two crucial aspects.

"Everything must be transparent and accountable," he said.

Kuntoro said Indonesia could adopt recovery-related technology from New Zealand, while also sharing its experiences in dealing with large-scale disasters, such as in Aceh.

"Indonesia and New Zealand both sit on the zone called the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is prone to disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods. They have the necessary expertise here," he said.

To date, Kuntoro said, BRR had built 112,346 houses, 787 health facilities, 1,045 educations facilities, 2,542 kilometers of road, 11 airports and airstrips, 18 ports and more than 1,500 places of worship.

Relations between Indonesia and New Zealand hae grown rapidly in recent years, with bilateral trade doubling over four years.

In 2007, bilateral trade was valued at US$865.79 million - an increase of more than 100 percent on the 2004 figure of $410.82 million. In the first quarter of this year, it reached $302.01 million, a 73.36 percent increase from the $174.20 million recorded in the same period in 2006.

Disaster risk workshop

JP/Ricky Yudhistira

THE KIWI VIEW:

New Zealand Minister of Civil Defense Rick Barker (third left) addresses a conference promoting initiatives for disaster risk management, in Jakarta on Tuesday. The conference was part of the commemoration of 50 years of Indonesia-New Zealand diplomatic relations. Also present at the event were (from left) Wellington Regional Council chief Fran Wilde, New Zealand Ambassador Philip Gibson, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand Amris Hassan and Aceh-Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency director Kuntoro Mangkusubroto.

 


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