Downtown Jakarta is home to a significant part of Indonesia’s economic wealth. It is exposed to several hazards including floods exacerbated by poorly maintained urban canals. (Photo: UNISDR)
By Andy McElroy
JAKARTA, 28 August 2015 – Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) has told business leaders that the private sector is vital to efforts to reduce the country’s disaster risk.
The BNPB’s Deputy Chief for Prevention and Mitigation, Mr. Bapak Wisnu Widjaja, extended the hand of partnership to a gathering of more than 30 executives.
Mr. Widjaja said the private sector will become increasingly important as Indonesia aligns its Disaster Management Plan to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a 15-year global roadmap for curbing deaths and economic losses caused by natural and man-made hazards.
“It benefits everybody if individual companies strengthen their own business sustainability,” Mr. Widjaja told a gathering of senior managers. “The current drought in many parts of the country and the increasingly uncertain business environment shows the need for overall risk management that includes a strong focus on disaster risk.”
The executives at the seminar, in Jakarta’s Kempinski Hotel, responded positively, saying there is a growing awareness among the private sector that disaster risk management is an investment rather than a cost.
Mr. Erick Purwanto, President and Director of construction and engineering company Balfour Beatty Sakti, said all sectors needed to play their part in strengthening the overall culture of safety in the country.
“For instance, we have good legislation but the challenge is to enforce it in terms of building codes and land use. This is part of a bigger change needed to have a stronger awareness of safety, including among building contractors,” he said.
Mr. Purwanto is a member of the Disaster Resource Partnership Indonesia, a network of 10 engineering and construction companies. The alliance was launched because of the “considerable interest in and commitment to greater involvement of the private sector in disaster prevention, response and reconstruction”.
The Managing Director for Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholders Engagement of Golden Agri-Resources Ltd, Mr. Agus Purnomo, said the rising economic cost of disasters in Indonesia meant there was a need for stronger public-private sector partnership, particularly in the area of risk assessment.
Civil society representatives also attended the meeting. Mercy Corps Indonesia’s Country Representative, Mr. Paul Jeffrey, welcomed the growing role of the business sector in efforts to build national disaster resilience.
“No one here in Indonesia can argue about the economic impact that disasters have in this country and businesses are beginning to take a longer term approach to strengthen their disaster risk management,” he said.
The President of Indonesia, Mr. Joko Widodo, has unveiled plans to launch a National Disaster Risk Reduction Movement in October. Urban areas, where just over half of Indonesia’s 255 million people live, will be a key focus of efforts.
At the end of the meeting and a follow-up workshop on disaster risk management for the private sector, BNPB and various business representatives, including from Sinarmas Bank, agreed to strengthen partnership on disaster resilience. UNISDR’s Global and Education Training Institute (GETI), based in Incheon, was requested to help strengthen local training capacity on business resilience.
Indonesia has made significant moves so strengthen its risk governance since the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. A 2007 disaster management law created the BNPB with a mandate to coordinate all disaster risk management activities. It reports directly to the President.