The Socio-political Situation
The past decade has witnessed profound social, political and economic changes in Indonesia—a country that has transformed itself from an authoritarian regime into one of Asia’s most vibrant and decentralized democracies. This is especially remarkable given the geography of the Indonesian archipelago and islands, its ethnically diverse population and its vulnerability to natural disasters. Within a decade, the country has achieved relative political and economic stability, made progress towards its Millennium Development Goals and has been welcomed into the G-20.
However, many challenges remain. Regional economic and social disparities persist and maternal health indicators are low. In remote provinces, such as Nusa Tenggara Timor, poverty and malnutrition are pervasive and local government services are under-developed. Rapid urbanization will increase the demand for health services, education, livelihoods and security. Indonesia’s commitment to reducing greenhouse emissions will also require reforms in the economic and social sectors.
Overseas development funds represent only 5 per cent of the annual national budget. The Government is committed to using these funds to support its national priorities. The relationship with its bilateral and multilateral partners has been redefined through the Jakarta Commitment, which calls for stronger national ownership and a more strategic role in pursuing national priorities for Indonesia’s overseas development partners.
The Humanitarian Situation
Indonesia is prone to natural disasters. Government records indicate there were 2,683 disaster events from 2009 to 2010, including forest fires, floods, whirlwinds, landslides and drought. With over 17,000 islands in the archipelago, people living in Indonesia’s coastal areas are increasingly exposed to rising sea levels caused by climate change. The population density in the major cities raises concerns over the risks of pandemic disease outbreaks and urban unrest.
The Government has remained engaged in disaster management since the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. While the Government does not formally request international assistance, it does welcome in-country support. International organizations have played a complementary role to the Government in recent natural disasters. Following the 2009 West Sumatra earthquake, OCHA issued a humanitarian response plan with the Government’s endorsement. It helped to guide the response led by BNPB and its provincial counterpart (BPBD), and supported by more than 75 international agencies. OCHA also played a key role in coordination and information management.
The Humanitarian Strategy and Response
The humanitarian community in Indonesia is working to strengthen local disaster preparedness, support peace and ensure that the development planning process considers conflict issues. Specific policy initiatives, such as the Conflict Management Bill, will be supported with references to lessons learned from the field. A special focus will be placed on ensuring that sectoral standards for risk reduction, response and recovery are in place, and that they promote greater transparency and accountability with local communities. Humanitarian agencies will work to strengthen the Government’s ability to analyse the effects of external shocks and domestic constraints, and to formulate appropriate policies to protect the poor and vulnerable.
BNPB was established in 2007 and has since worked to increase its institutional capacity, professionalism and knowledge to better respond to disasters in collaboration with other stakeholders. A recent senior management workshop using sophisticated information tools and products was the latest example of the national commitment to developing a competent BNPB and BPND. With a good working relationship established, OCHA is well placed to support its national counterpart in the future.
Decentralization will continue to pose challenges as Indonesia embraces changes in its political landscape. Disaster preparedness measures will need to reflect the growing threat of climate change, and the potential impact this might have on Indonesia’s extensive coastal communities. In alignment with the Governments priorities, OCHA will work to guide policies and actions on climate change adaptation within its disaster management portfolio.
While there is increasing professionalism in BNPB and BPBD, OCHA anticipates challenging tasks ahead. At the national level, BNPB will work on more strategic issues, such as the provision of guidance and regulations to improve the quality of emergency response. At the community level, socio-political tensions could adversely affect the most vulnerable groups. Given the broad range of challenges, OCHA will focus on building strong partnerships with agencies and donors.