Banda Aceh, 14 Januari 2003
Post-conflict Aceh: Prospects for Reconstruction and
The four co-chairs of the Tokyo
Preparatory Conference on Peace and Reconstruction in Aceh are visiting
Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam this week to learn about the implementation of
the peace agreement, assess the prospects for reconstruction and
development, and seek ways in which the international community could
help. The delegation consists of the Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia
Yutaka Iimura, the U.S. Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, the Italian Ambassador
Franscesco Maria Greco (representing the European Union), and World Bank
Director, Andrew Steer. The January 13-15 visit signals the international
community's strong support for the ongoing peace process in Aceh.
The delegation met with the
local government and legislators, the Joint Security Committee (JSC),
Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM), religious leader, civil society
representatives, humanitarian workers, and the business community. The
Coordinating Minister for Political and Social Affairs, Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono, joined them for the first day of their visit in Banda Aceh.
They will also visit Kabupaten Pidie, a two-and-a-half hour drive from the
capital Banda Aceh, to meet with local citizens who have high hopes in the
peace process. The delegation will visit several development projects
designed to improve opportunities for local communities and for those
seriously affected by the hostilities, such as widows. They will also be
briefed by local peace monitors in the town of Sigli.
The delegation expressed their
support for the JSC and the Henry Dunant Center (HDC) for their work in
facilitating the dialogue.
"We honor the people of Aceh
for the courage they have shown in seeking peace. The international
community stands ready to work with them on the hard work necessary now to
make peace," says Ambassador Boyce of the U.S. "It is essential in the run
up to February 9 that the JSC use the remaining time for discussion on the
mechanics of what is to come rather than politics," he continued.
The delegation recognized that
the commitment of all sides to the full implementation of the Cessation of
Hostility Agreement, signed in December 9 in Geneva, is crucial. This
includes the early inauguration of the all-inclusive dialogue.
In addition to offering support
to the peace monitoring process, the delegation explored ways of promoting
peaceful development in Aceh. They noted that experience around the world
shows a very powerful two-way relationship between the restoration of
peace and economic development. The arrival of peace can immediately
improve the environment for development. And economic development itself
can help secure and deepen the peace.
"The government and donors
should support quick-impact, community based programs, and humanitarian
assistance," said Ambassador Iimura of Japan. "It is particularly
important that local communities feel fully engaged in the design and
implementation of projects. Such programs can help to overcome local
conflict and will have direct impact on people's welfare," he added.
Andrew Steer of the World Bank
added, "There is no more important means to build confidence after a cease
fire than to establish a participatory approach to development, increased
transparency in government finance, and fair and transparent
administration of justice. Reviving Aceh's investment climate will also be
central to successful recovery, since it will be the private sector that
creates jobs and drives economic growth."
The high-level international
visit builds upon the work of an international team that has been
assessing opportunities to support the peace process and post-conflict
development. The goal is to agree with the government and key stakeholder
an overall framework for support for Aceh.
The delegation noted that the
challenge is to ensure quick improvements in people's lives as a result of
the peace agreement. Towards this end a number of stalled projects are
being accelerated, and a training for community facilitators program to
expand local level programs (through the Kecamatan Development Program) is
currently already underway.
"The cessation of hostility
agreement offers an opportunity to include all segments of society in
designing a longer term strategy for Aceh's development," said Ambassador
Greco. The co-chairs agreed that a coordinated approach to donor support
for Aceh would make for more effective use of aid and that all development
assistance should support and deepen the Aceh agreement. This issue will
be further discussed in the Meeting of the Consultative Group on Indonesia
(CGI) on January 21-22, 2003, in Bali.
Program in Indonesia, visit : http://www.worldbank.or.id/
US Embassy website : http://www.usembassyjakarta.org/
Embassy of Japan
website : http://www.id.emb-japan.go.jp
European Union website : http://www.delidn.cec.ev.int/
Embassy of Japan, Jakarta (021) 324-308
U.S. Embassy, Jakarta (021) 3435-9523
Presidency, Embassy of Greece, Jakarta (021) 520-7776
Maria Zissi, DCM
Bank Office Jakarta (021) 5299-3052
Jakarta : Thomas Walton (email@example.com)
Mohamad Al-Arief (firstname.lastname@example.org)