Thu, 10 Mar 2005


ADB tsunami meeting to sustain momentum

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Wednesday it aims to sustain the momentum in the rebuilding of tsunami-affected countries when it hosts a ministerial conference to discuss the recovery effort next week.

The Manila-based ADB said it has invited ministers and senior government officials from the five most affected countries -- India, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- to the March 18 meeting.

Representatives of international agencies, donor countries, the private sector and civil society were also invited, as well as speakers from Gujarat and Kobe, to describe the challenges of managing recovery efforts after major earthquakes, it added.

The ADB said the meeting aims to establish the progress made to date and share information to avoid wasteful duplication and overlap.

Participants will identify gaps in the recovery effort, explore areas for greater coordination and harmonization, and discuss ways to ensure the highest standards of governance in the countries' handling of reconstruction assistance.

"As the development community's response to the tsunami disaster is shifting from the relief phase to the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, the international community needs to carry the momentum into a longer-term program," said ADB Vice President Geert van der Linden.

"We need to restore livelihoods, rehabilitate communities, re- establish social services and rebuild infrastructure," he added.

The ADB said one important aim of the meeting was to see how the private sector and non-government organizations can be brought into the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

"The meeting will establish a tracking matrix for all the rehabilitation and reconstruction work that is being done or planned and could be used as a platform for exploring areas of greater coordination," said Robert Dobias, an ADB director.

Dobias said the meeting also aims to help ensure high standards of financial governance in the handling of aid funds.

The ADB said it plans to hold a workshop in April on good governance practices in recovery work following disasters. Transparency International and the Indonesian government will be co-sponsors of the workshop. -- DPA