Calls for accountability in disaster fund spending
Rendi A. Witular
The Jakarta Post
The establishment of clearer accountability lines has been identified as a key issue to be addressed in a new framework of disaster risk reduction in 2015 that is set to become a working basis for future disaster management.
During the Fourth Session of the Global Platform conference on disaster risk reduction held between May 19 and 23 by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), calls were heard for a more accountable use of state and international donor funds for disaster risk reduction.
Chairman of the Indonesian National Platform for disaster risk reduction, Avianto Muhtadi, said that during the conference discussions touched on how the international community could push governments for a more transparent and efficient use of disaster funds.
'The Indonesian government, for example, has never publicly detailed the use of funds for disaster risk reduction programs and the amount of funding it receives from international donors,' said Avianto, who is also chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama's (NU) Climate Change and Disaster Management Institution (LPBI).
The National Platform is a group consisting of representatives from NGOs, civil society, the private sector, academics and the mass media, tasked with monitoring the progress of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015.
The HFA was set up after the tsunami in December 2004. Some 168 countries signed a 10-year plan to make the world safer, they have now progressed on to draft the next accord after the HFA ends in 2015.
Input and reviews of the HFA from the National Platform is used by the UN and international organizations to put pressure on the government to comply with the HFA framework.
'Our priority now is to have accountability issues brought up in the continuation of the HFA framework after 2015 as there is so much funding channeled to disaster risk reduction which is not managed in a very transparent way,' said Avianto.
During a meeting of high officials on Tuesday, Vietnam's Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat also highlighted the importance of accountability.
'Vietnam supports the continued implementation of the HFA with a stronger accountability framework,' the minister said.
The UNISDR highlighted the need for a high degree of accountability in its consultation report on a post-2015 framework on disaster risk reduction. The agency hoped the issue could be addressed in the HFA2 framework set to be put in place after 2015.
The World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Japan in 2015 is set to endorse the HFA2 framework as the new international guidelines for disaster risk reduction.
Spokesman for the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) Sutopo, however, said that there were no talks on accountability issues during the Global Platform conference, and that the BNPB had fully complied with existing regulations on transparency and accountability. 'From the sessions that I've followed, there's no such discussion,' he said.
This year, the BNPB has a budget of around Rp 3 trillion (US$309 million) for disaster management, excluding more than $100 million worth of grants from international donors.
'What the BNPB could do, at least, is to publicly announce the details of their spending as a sign that they support the principal of good governance. The National Platform already has a guideline of accountability for disaster funding that the BNPB could adopt,' said Avianto.
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