Indonesia Reminds the Importance of the Role of Local Actors in Distributing Humanitarian Aid

In addition to having to struggle with the difficult situation that has been afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, most people in the world, including a number of residents in Indonesia, also have to struggle to get out of other difficult conditions caused by events such as natural disasters and armed conflicts.

Seeing the difficult situation that continues to this day, the role of humanitarian assistance is considered to be increasingly important. Unfortunately, the flow of incoming humanitarian aid must now be hampered by restrictions on movement that are carried out to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at the Regional Conference for Humanitarian Assistance (RCHA) on Wednesday (6/10), Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi reminded the importance of the role of local actors in the successful distribution of humanitarian aid amid restrictions on movement during the current pandemic.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

“Evidence shows that national and local actors remain active and innovative (in) a variety of humanitarian situations. These (among others) include the Red Cross and Red Crescent (organizations), faith-based humanitarian organizations, the private sector, philanthropists, and civil society. Their leadership goes hand in hand with the government in an inclusive and seamless way, able to reach parties in need of assistance on the ground,” said Retno.

He also said the importance of promoting local values ​​in the process of distributing aid in order to meet the needs of the people affected by the disaster.

“Local wisdom guides humanitarian actors in providing relevant assistance in national and local contexts.”

Food aid distributed by the World Food Program (WFP) to poor communities on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, May 21, 2021. (AFP)

Food aid distributed by the World Food Program (WFP) to poor communities on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, May 21, 2021. (AFP)

He gave an example of gotong royong as a form of local wisdom in Indonesia where people help each other both in safe situations and in emergencies.

“The leadership and voice of national and local actors must be integrated and prioritized in the existing and future cooperation mechanisms, including planning, implementation and evaluation,” said Retno.

In her speech, Retno also mentioned that armed conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic had caused the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. About 97 million people in need of emergency humanitarian assistance are in the Asia Pacific region.

Not to forget, Retno provided data that a quarter of armed conflicts that occurred worldwide were in the Asia Pacific region, which caused around 4.4 million people in the region to become refugees.

Dr.  Teuku Rezasyah, International Relations Observer (photo: courtesy).

Dr. Teuku Rezasyah, International Relations Observer (photo: courtesy).

Meanwhile, an observer of International Relations from Paramadina University, Teuku Rezasyah, Jakarta, said that each country must give its best efforts regarding this humanitarian aid in difficult situations such as the current pandemic.

According to him, the challenges faced by recipient countries and providers of humanitarian aid are huge. This requires bilateral, regional and internal communication.

“Usually the recipient country thinks it will be easy to distribute it, but it turns out that it is not easy, with this COVID-19, foreign aid often clashes with other aids aimed at certain segments,” said Rezasyah. [fw/rs]

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