Jakarta – As the frequency, severity and economic losses of disasters continue to increase across the globe, the United Nations’ first-ever global champion for disaster risk reduction, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, kicked-off a two-day global meeting in Jakarta on Tuesday by backing calls for hardwiring disaster management into the global development agenda.
“In 2010 alone, over 42 million people were displaced by disasters” across the globe, the President said at the opening ceremony in the State Palace. “We must safeguard Millennium Development Goals gains from setbacks from natural disasters,” he added.
President Yudhoyono, who has been recognized by the UN for making disaster risk reduction a national priority following the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, was the first Head of State to convert the international blueprint for disaster risk reduction (known as the Hyogo Framework, which expires in 2015) into a national plan. He is also one of three Co-Chairs of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons, the advisory body that will meet in Bali on 25-27 March as part of the process to define global development priorities after the year 2015.
He further added that “disaster resilience should be made as one of the national building blocks for sustained prosperity and the needs to develop DRR institutional capacity as part of the national development.”
The main focus of the Jakarta consultations will be on the ability of governments and international organizations to prevent and manage the aftermath of disasters as one of their top responsibilities.
In the last 30 years, natural disasters have cost the world some USD 3.5 trillion. In the Asia-Pacific region alone, the economic costs of disasters have risen, on average, by a factor of 16. More than 1.3 million people have been killed by disaster in the last two decades, almost all of them (95 percent) in developing countries. Disasters have prevented many countries from achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and increasingly threaten development assistance investments.
Indonesia’s role as host to the consultations highlights the country’s experience in linking disaster management with political solutions to conflict – another major threat to development – as it did in Aceh. In opening the proceedings at the State Palace the Head of the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4) Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who formerly headed the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency for Aceh and Nias (BRR), recalled that President Yudhoyono had expressed the hope, at the closing ceremony for BRR in 2009, “that what Indonesia had done in Aceh-Nias could be a standard, a benchmark, for similar efforts at the national and international levels.”
“This Global Thematic Consultation on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Post-2015 Development Agenda will serve such hope,” Dr. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said, “to share Indonesia’s experience and lessons learned to the world.”
“Indonesia has transformed itself into a nation that is both at the forefront of innovative disaster risk reduction, and a strong global advocate for its integration into the international development frameworks,” said Jordan Ryan, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), who also attended the opening ceremony in Jakarta today.
“Disaster risk reduction is a crucial underlying factor for all our efforts to alleviate poverty and accelerate the progress of development,” Mr. Ryan said, adding that “Indonesia has shown us what is possible in terms of addressing disaster risk.”
The Jakarta consultations bring together academic experts, private sector, governments, the UN system and civil society groups in discussions on how to best integrate responses to disaster prior to a review conference on the themes of conflict, violence and disaster in the Post-2015 agenda to be held in Helsinki, Finland, on 13 March 2013.
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Ms. Natasha Karina Ardiani
Associate Director Unit Kerja Presiden Bidang Pengawasan dan Pengendalian Pembangunan (UKP4)
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