H.E Dr. R.M Marty M. Natalegawa
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia
as Co-Chairs at the Tsunami Global Lessons Learned Event
New York, 24 April 2009
Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon,
Former UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, H.E President Bill Clinton,
Excellencies and my fellow co-chair of this event, the newly appointed UNDP Administrator, Ms. Helen Clark,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor for me to welcome all of you to this Global Tsunami Lessons Learned Event.
This year, 2009, marks the fifth year since the tsunami that brought untold sufferings and destructions to many.
My own country, Indonesia, was at the epicenter of the destruction. However, we were not the only nation to suffer from its impact.
In fact, the tsunami reached across the great expanse of the Indian Ocean.
Over 228,000 people in some 14 countries perished.
Some 2.4 million people all around the Indian Ocean lost their homes.
Along with Indonesia, not less than four other nations suffered major destruction.
Calamity overtook parts of India, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand. We made up the five most affected countries.
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen
While the tsunami was unprecedented in terms of the destruction it brought; the response it engendered was equally unprecedented.
The entire world over, there was an outpouring of sympathy and extension of support.
Resilience, solidarity, compassion, goodwill and generosity made the
Impossible seem possible.
These are what gave the affected countries the ability to triumph over tragedy.Within days of the disaster, Indonesia initiated the Special ASEAN Leaders Meeting on Aftermath of earthquake and tsunami, on 6 January 2005 in Jakarta, Indonesia. World leaders, including the Secretary General of the United Nations, resolved to assist. Arrangements were instituted to ensure effective coordination in timely delivery of help; in matching needs and assistance; as well as in guaranteeing sustained attention.
In the Asia Pacific region, in the aftermath of the disaster, both ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), developed rapid response capacities in dealing with natural disasters. Complex networks of bilateral and regional cooperation also grew.
Beyond our immediate region, the United Nations has helped ensure that the affected countries sustained the support of the international community through its General Assembly’s resolution on “Strengthening Emergency Relief, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Prevention in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami Disaster”.
The United Nations itself has made important strides to improve its capacity to respond to disasters.
Indonesia is encouraged that the establishment of the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and many more initiatives that deserve our praise have received the wide support of Member States.
Not least, I should also point out the important role of the United Nations system, including the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), in supporting the five most affected nations to restore some normalcy in a short period of time.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Of course, the magnificent response to the tsunami disaster has not been without challenges.
This is, indeed, the primary purpose of our gathering here today. To take stock of the rich lessons learned in the process of post-tsunami recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction as well as to share best practices of all stakeholders and recovery partners.
The report before us entitled, The Tsunami Legacy: Innovation, Breakthroughs and Change go some way in promoting such purpose.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Through the tsunami, we have learned that there is a large reservoir of goodwill, which forms the foundation for strengthening the bonds of humanity and solidarity.
We should build on this to forge closer ties between nations and inspire a more humane world.
Once again, I would like to express my appreciation to you all for attending this event. We are especially grateful for the presence of the Secretary-General, as well as President Bill Clinton in his capacity as the former UN Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org