Reconstruction and Rebuilding of Ukraine: Lessons from Indonesia

Mariia Mygal

Yesterday, on February 8, an online experience exchange session on “Reconstruction and Rebuilding of Ukraine: Lessons from Indonesia” took place.

The meeting was initiated and organized by the RISE Ukraine Coalition, Basel Institute of Governance and the Institute for Analysis and Advocacy.

The main speaker of the event was Sudirman Said, former Deputy Head of the Agency for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Indonesia, former Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

In the context of the newly created Agency for Reconstruction and Infrastructure Projects of Ukraine, the session participants learned from Indonesia’s experience of recovery after the large-scale earthquake in 2004. The disaster claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people, wiped out entire districts and cities, and challenged the country and the international community.

“At the beginning of the agency’s activities, many people had questions for the leader of the reconstruction – what should we do? What do we need to start development? Where to start? To which he picked up a stone from the ground, threw it in a certain direction, and said, “You can start from here,” said Sudirman Said.

In particular, the following issues were discussed at the event:

  • What was the history of the establishment, management model and structure of the Reconstruction Agency in Indonesia?
  • how the process of training/education of civil servants took place;
  • how the reconstruction plan for Indonesia was developed after the tragedy and whether other stakeholders were involved in the process;
  • what were the financing mechanisms, donor coordination, and who led the procurement process?

“Prioritization in reconstruction is a difficult part, we have the authority to prioritize, but we also have to be respectful and polite. Prioritization is a kind of art,” Mr. Said summarized.

Yes, Indonesia was not rebuilding after a war, as in the case of Ukraine. However, the scale and nature of the destruction caused by the war is no less significant. Therefore, some of the decisions made after the 2004 earthquake may be useful and adapted to the process of rebuilding Ukraine.

RISE UA is a coalition of Ukrainian and international civil society organizations, initiatives, government agencies and activists who support the Principles of Reconstruction and Modernization of Ukraine through constructive dialogue with the government and international partners.

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