Newsletter October 2023
The National Disaster Management Agency or BNPB held the Main event to Commemorate the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Month 2023 in Kendari City, Southeast Sulawesi on 10 – 13 October 2023. DRR Month is annually commemorated as an effort to remind key stakholders and sectors to be prepared to face disasters.
The main event of this year’s DRR Month was opened by the Head of BNPB, Letjen TNI Suharyanto, on 13 October and was attended by the Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs, Muhajir Effendy, Official for the Governor of Southeast Sulawesi, Andap Budhi Revianto, and governors, district heads and mayors , provincial and district Subnational Disaster Management Agencies (BPBDs) , non-governmental organisations, universities, and disaster management volunteers.
The Head of BNPB said that there are many disasters in Indonesia. BNPB recorded that from January to 12 October, 2023, 3,138 disasters occurred throughout the archipeligo. “We live in an area with rich natural resources, but also in a disaster-affected area,” he said.
According to him, the DRR Month commemoration has been held every year since 2013 to remind all of the nation’s stakholders of potential disasters and the importance of preparedness. In addition to DRR Month, BNPB also commemorates Disaster Preparedness Day every April. These two agendas are obesrved every year in different locations, particularly in areas where disaster risk management is deemed to be strong and able to mitigate disaster risks. “We agreed that although not requested, we have to always be prepared because disasters will always occur , and in the future, they will happen again,” he added.
A number of activities were held during this year’s DRR Month commemoration, including discussions, exhibitions, planting mangroves, launching knowledge products, and running competitions. These various events were conducted to demonstrate the importance of a disaster risk mitigation perspective across all sectors.
Considering the important meaning of commemorating the DRR Month for awareness of disaster preparedness and resilience building, the SIAP SIAGA Program, which is a collaboration program between the Australian and Indonesian Governments on disaster risk management, provided support for a number of activities during the event. This included participation in a number of activities, specifically related to key issues that have been the focus of the SIAP SIAGA Program.
One of the issues discussed was the impact of disasters on vulnerable groups, especially women and girls. This was discussed in a talk show themed “Gender Mainstreaming Advocacy in Disaster Management and Climate Change Adaptation”, held on 11 October. This talk show was attended by three speakers: Eko Novi Aryanti, Acting Assistant Deputy of Gender Mainstreaming in Economy of the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, Melissa Fernandez from UN OCHA, and Ayu Saraswati, Miss Environment of Indonesia 2020.
Melissa Fernandez said that consideration of gender perspective in disaster management can impact whether someone lives or dies. Therefore, it is important to ensure that humanitarian aid fulfils the needs of all populations. This effort must be done by ensuring the voice of women and children in discussions on disaster-related needs and how they should be addressed. She mentioned study results in Indonesia, the Phillippines, Thailand, and Malaysia, which concluded that the lack of participation by women in efforts to mitigate disaster risks made it difficult for women to access basic needs in hygiene and health, including for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
Ayu Saraswati said that another important issue is Gender-Based Violence (KBG), which predomintely (although not exclusively) affects women and girls. In a normal situation, KBG is an ongoing problem. She highlighted data indicatingthat one in four women in Indonesia had suffered from KBG. “In a disaster situation, women and girls are even more vulnerable to KGB. Therefore, a gender perspective is crucial in disaster management to help address this problem,” she said.
According to Eko Novi Ariyanti, in addition to an international treaty on Gender Mainstreaming (PUG) in mitigating disaster and climate change risks, Indonesia has a legal basis for PUG integration in various disaster management-related sectors. Implementing this PUG is of the utmost importance so that we can anticipate a myriad of problems, such as the ones outlined. .
Economic Recovery and Public Service
Another important issue discussed during the 2023 DRR Month was economic recovery. This was discussed in a talk show themed “Achieving Resilient and Sustainable Economic Recovery in Post-disaster Areas”. The Director of Spatial Planning, Land, and Disaster Management of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Uke Mohammad Hussein, explained that post-disaster economic recovery does not only mean returning to the original position before the disaster occured. Economic recovery efforts must be seen as an opportunity to build a stronger, more resilient, and more sustainable economic foundation.
To achieve this, there needs to be an economic development strategy tnot only for the short term but to better contribute to people’s welfare and the environment in the long run. Besides that, social inclusion in economic recovery is very important. “We must prioritise social inclusion in economic recovery. No one should be left behind in this process. Everyone must have fair and equal access to emerging economic opportunities,” he said.
Another key theme that was discussed was the “Strategy to Implement the Minimum Service Standards on Disaster Management (MSS-DM)”. The Director of Disaster and Fire Management of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Edy Suharmanto, said that disaster management is a mandatory basic service. Subnational governments have an obligation to provide a minimum level service to their people, especially those affected by disasters or living in disaster-prone areas.
However, its implementation until now has not been optimal because, during the pandemic, the budget for MSS-DM was reallocated to managing the impact of the pandemic. Therefore, during 2023 – 2024, efforts to accelerate MSS-DM will focus on achieving key targets. Meanwhile, the implementation direction for 2025 – 2029 will focus on improving the quality of services.
Learning from riverine communities
Another series of events held during the 2023 DRR Month commemoration was the launching of the book entitled “The River Community Stories: An Anthology of Inspirational Stories of River Community Resilience” or “Masyarakat Sungai Bertutur: Kumpulan Kisah Inspiratif tentang Ketahanan Masyarakat Sungai”. This launching event was attended by the Head of BNPB.
This book was published by BNPB with the support of the SIAP SIAGA Program. This book was developed by interviewing community representatives and documenting the stories of river innovators and activists, especially those living around five Watershed areas in Indonesia, namely Bengawan Solo in East Java, Ciliwung in DKI Jakarta, Jeneberang in South Sulawesi, Kapuas in West Kalimantan, and Tukad Bindu in Bali. This book is expected to provide insights for policymakers, specifically in planning Watershed management and restoration programs, and serves as an inspiration to implement similar initiatives in other watershed areas in Indonesia.