Indonesia: Week 2 in Aceh and Nias - Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR)

BANDA ACEH, Friday, May 13, 2005 -- At the end of his second week on the job in Aceh and Nias, the Director of the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (BRR) Kuntoro Mangkusubroto expressed his appreciation to the international donor community for their ongoing support and contributions.

On Friday afternoon, Kuntoro made a presentation to the broad NGO and UN community in Banda Aceh at Syiah Kuala University during the NGO/UN Workshop organized by BRR. Kuntoro's presentation included an overview of the Agency and an explanation of the Fast-Track project approval process and data collection. An estimated 400-450 humanitarian workers attended.

The presentation was followed by 2-hour breakout sessions by sector, with the relevant Deputies from BRR leading each of the 5 groups to hear current concerns and issues related to their sector and to answer questions:

1. Education and Health -- led by Said Faisal, Deputy for Education and Health

2. Institutional Development -- led by Bima Haria Wibisana, Deputy for Institutional Development and Empowerment

3. Infrastructure and Planning -- led by Eddy Purwanto, Deputy for Housing,

Infrastructure, and Spatial Planning and Junius Hutabarat, Deputy for Planning and Programming

4. Economic Development -- led by Iskandar, Deputy for Economic and Business Empowerment

5. Religion, Culture, and Women's Affairs -- led by Fuad Mardhatillah, Deputy for Religious, Social, and Cultural Affairs

Please find below updates on a number of activities:

Agreements and Projects Approved

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Fri, May 13, 2005: Dr. Kuntoro witnessed the handover of 545 hand tractors to 8,700 farmers in Keuneu-eu village in Simpang Rima, Aceh Besar (please see attached photos). In Indonesia alone, the initial estimate of the damage and loss to agriculture, fisheries, agro-enterprises and irrigation amounts to US$1.2 billion. Belgium, Japan, Germany, UK, and Norway, through FAO's Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities (SFERA), have provided substantial funds to restore agriculture in the affected areas. Their assessment of damage and loss to agriculture, fisheries, and forestry provided valuable information to the government. In addition, international and national teams of experts have assisted the government in the recovery of this important sector.

Multi-Donor Trust Fund

Tue, May 10, 2005: Four project concepts were approved by the Steering Committee of the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Aceh and North Sumatra, in conjunction with Kuntoro, co-chair of the Steering Committee. The value of the projects reached US$250 million in grant financing to provide housing, land rights and community facilities.

1. Housing for a Thousand Villages (US$150 million) -- as part of the Government's larger settlement reconstruction strategy, this two-year program would finance the construction of 20,000 new houses and rehabilitation of 30,000 damaged houses along with related infrastructure in one thousand communities

2. Recovery of Property Rights (US$28 million) -- this project will help to sort out land ownership through urgent recovery of land records, establishment of a land occupancy databases and rehabilitation of the land administration system throughout Aceh (up to 300,000 parcels of land)

3. Community Recovery in Rural Areas (US$54 million) -- this addition to the Kecamatan Development Program will support full restoration of community infrastructure in 200 kecamatan (up to 3,000 villages), recapitalization of up to 6000 micro-enterprises and training of thousands of villagers

4. Community Recovery in Urban Areas (US$18 million) -- this addition to the Urban Poverty Program will rehabilitate and develop community-based infrastructure in 352 kelurahan through the construction of roads and bridges, schools, water supply and sanitation, community buildings, and drainage

Intel Aceh Telco Relief

Fri, May 6, 2005: Kuntoro signed a Letter of No Objection for a contribution by the Intel Aceh Telco Relief Consortium relating to telecommunications support in Aceh. The Consortium consists of Intel Corporation, Global Marine System Limited (GMSL), Asiasa, Cisco, and British Airways. The Consortium is in partnership with AirPutih Foundation (Yayasan AirPutih), an Indonesian information technology, non-profit organization that is the recipient of US$30 million worth of equipment in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Consortium and the AirPutih Foundation. The offer relates to communication technology -- pre-Wimax and fiber optic cables -- and involves the use of a number of public resources, such as radio frequency. The Letter states that the offer is in line with the overall development strategy of Aceh, as the Master Plan has identified technology as an integral and major part of the reconstruction effort.

Indonesian Red Cross

Fri, May 6, 2005: Kuntoro and the Chairman of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) Mar'ie Muhammad signed an MoU in Banda Aceh for rehabilitation and reconstruction programs in Aceh and Nias totaling US$600 million. The MoU was signed between the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and BRR. The MoU lays the foundation for PMI and its partners to support rehabilitation and reconstruction in line with the Government Plan. The projects include: 20,000 permanent houses in NAD province and 2,500 houses in Nias, 110 community clinics, 110 public and religious schools in NAD and 20 public schools in Nias, 110 Meunasah, 7 children's boarding houses, livelihood assistance to 25,000 families, reconstruction of a barge pier in Meulaboh, and planting of mangrove plantations, among others.


Sun, May 8, 2005: Kuntoro witnessed the signing of an MOU between the U.S. Government and the Government of Indonesia for the reconstruction of the Banda Aceh to Meulaboh road. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick signed on behalf of the U.S. Government while Indonesian Public Works Minister Kirmanto represented the Indonesian Government. The project is valued at US$245 million. The Banda Aceh to Meulaboh road, approximately 240 kilometers long, is the economic backbone of the region and connects Aceh Province with the rest of North Sumatra and Indonesia.

Medco Group

Sun, May 8, 2005: Kuntoro witnessed the handover of a number of projects by the Medco Group in LhokNga, including a coordination center, camps for tsunami victims, emergency hospitals, houses, emergency elementary schools, and drinking water wells. The total contribution made by Medco in Aceh to date is valued at Rp 18.13 billion (approx US$2 million).

Policy Statement on Timber Imports

In a separate attachment, please find the Statement of Policy Support for the import of timber to protect the forests of Aceh and to strengthen sustainable reconstruction in Aceh and Nias. This policy letter was prepared for donor countries and expresses support for timber imports as a solution to meet demand for lumber.

Visit to Nias

Wed, May 11, 2005: Kuntoro made a 1-day visit to Nias, visiting Gunung Sitoli area in particular. He met with the Governor of North Sumatra T Rizal Nurdin, and the Regent of Nias. The BRR Deputy for Planning and Programming, Junius Hutabarat, spent 2 days on the island, meeting with local leaders and assessing needs.

For further information please contact:

Issued by:

Indo Pacific
Reputation Management Consultants
Arnfinn Jacobsen
Hp: 0813 1729 8896
Laura Worsley-Brown
Hp: 0818 149 847 (Jakarta) / 0813 6020 5317 (Aceh)
Tel: (62-21) 781-2436
Fax: (62-21) 781-2423

For and on behalf of:

Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency
(BRR -- Badan Rehabilitasi dan Rekonstruksi) for Aceh and Nias
Hp: 0813 1022 8414