Recommended Standards for Re-Construction of Tsunami-Affected Areas of Indonesia

The International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) is a network of international and Indonesian non-governmental organizations working in the field of advocacy for a just and democratic development in Indonesia.

INFID believes that the reconstruction of Aceh and North Sumatra resulting from the December 26, 2004 Tsunami disaster is reaching a crucial point. This is particularly true for the release of the Master Plan for Aceh Reconstruction by the Government of Indonesia that was prepared without adequate consultation with the affected people and the civil society in those regions. To ensure that the reconstruction is effective and in line with the needs, rights, and wishes of the affected people, it is important to set out recommendations for the reconstruction process for all involved – governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, community and other civil society. Reconstruction is understood as the physical reconstruction, rehabilitation of livelihoods, medical and post-traumatic treatment, and all forms of strengthening civil society.

  1. The world community has responded to the Tsunami with enormous
    generosity, and many pledges of support have been made. We hope that
    the commitments reflected in those pledges are timely and fully met.
  2. Those undertaking reconstruction projects or activities, whether
    they are governments, inter-governmental organizations, NGOs, community
    and other civil society organizations should ensure transparency and
    accountability for the use of all reconstruction funds in a public
    manner. As a starting point, the government should disclose amounts
    pledged, amounts received, and the related purposes to which such funds
    have been put.
  3. Aggression by all parties must be ended and steps taken toward a peaceful and equitable settlement of conflicts.
  4. The reconstruction and rehabilitation work must be demilitarized.
    The involvement of the military in reconstruction should be regularly
    reconsidered with a view to reduce it to complete non-involvement.
  5. As a priority, the Government of Indonesia’s Master Plan for
    reconstruction must provide for a process that will lead to effective
    coordination of the work and should ensure that there is a mechanism to
    identify specific responsibility for projects and/or activities so that
    respective parties can be held accountable.
  6. No coordination plan or other restrictions by military or other
    authorities should undermine the ability and opportunity for
    independent monitoring of reconstruction work or the access of monitors
    to affected areas, in particular to all of Aceh.
  7. All reconstruction work should be designed in a way to ensure
    that those affected by such work are given a meaningful role in the
    planning and implementation of relevant projects or activities. All
    projects and activities include appropriate measures to ensure the
    ability to participate, and ideally provide capacity building as
    requested.
  8. Displaced persons should not be obliged to live in centralized
    camps, but opportunity should be provided for semi-permanent housing in
    the vicinity of their respective former neighbourhood in order not to
    rule out the possibility of permanent housing according to their
    desires and needs.
  9. Orphans, widows, and the elderly should receive protection and
    care preferably in their respective extended families or their former
    community. These hosts should receive appropriate financial assistance.
  10. The government should develop appropriate mechanisms to establish
    the rights of those affected by the Tsunami to land ownership and use.
    Evidence of any reliable kind, not be limited to documentation, should
    be accepted. Relevant state agencies or aid organizations should ensure
    that such a procedure to establish the rightful owner or user of land
    has taken place before such land is appropriated for reconstruction
    activities.
  11. The debt burden of the Republic of Indonesia needs to be
    addressed. We recognize that creditors have offered a limited
    moratorium, but this falls short of addressing the debt burden in a
    fair and sustainable way.  The moratorium that has been offered
    includes questionable elements including the accrual of interest during
    the moratorium period. In addition, creditors holding outstanding loans
    related infrastructure projects destroyed by the Tsunami, should cancel
    the remaining debt for said projects.
  12. Reconstruction and development must be equitable over all of Aceh
    and North Sumatra in order to avoid welfare disparities and ensuing
    causes for new social conflicts. There should be no discrimination or
    distinction for the receipt of rehabilitation and reconstruction
    services on the basis of religion, ethnicity, gender, social class, or
    political affiliation. However, affirmative action should be taken to
    assist marginalized groups and minorities.
  13. Reconstruction activities must not be misused to cover up economic activities for private profit.
  14. Access to areas in need of reconstruction should be open to all
    NGOs, community and other civil society organizations and individuals
    that commit themselves to peaceful reconstruction.
  15. The Government of Indonesia should provide political and
    administrative conditions to facilitate effective planning and
    implementation of medium and long term reconstruction activities of aid
    and development organizations, both foreign and domestic.
  16. Reconstruction efforts will necessarily put pressure on natural
    resources of Indonesia, and particularly increase the risk of illegal
    logging. Efforts should be made to ensure that, to the degree possible,
    sustainable resources are utilitized for reconstruction.  The
    rights of those affected by the Tsunami to use their own natural
    resources should not be infringed or undermined.
  17. Peaceful and participative conflict resolution efforts should be
    encouraged by all. Projects and activities should be designed to
    promote that objective.

Filomeno S. Sta. Ana III, coordinator of Action for Economic Reforms, is a trustee of INFID

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