Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Community leaders and their knowledge on reducing risk of natural disasters in Indonesia have given President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono the UN Global Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction award.

The President emphasized that the award is a recognition people for their determination and hard work in responding challenges of natural disasters.

The head of state made the statement on receiving the award announced in Geneva, Switzerland , by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on Tuesday (May 10), ANTARA said from Geneva on Wednesday.

The President delivering a speech on a video conference expressed his gratefulness for the award that reflects the nation`s hard work.

"I accept the award as a recognition of determination and hard work of the Indonesian people in dealing with natural disasters," the president said

The president said that the government cannot do this alone without the community.

"We have formed a local disaster management team ready to act in emergencies," he said.

He said that local leadership is more important during disasters, and their role is needed during disasters for communication and solving logistic problems.

President also mentioned that he tried to take advantage of local knowledge, and this is what the people on Simeulue Island, Sumatra, tried to prevent damage by the tsunami in December 2004.

"They fled to the hills when they noted the local tsunami signs," he said.

Other regional Disaster Cooperation
Regionally, Indonesia has submitted a variety of initiatives of disaster preparedness, such as joint exercises in the region and adopting early warning system.

In Southeast Asia, ASEAN is trying to achieve a common vision of disaster-resistant country in 2015, while at global level, through the United Nations, Indonesia fostered more effective disaster management coordination and cooperation.

In June 2011, Indonesia will launch the World Economic Forum`s Third Country Disaster Resource Network of Partnership.

National, regional and global programs aim not only to disaster preparedness but also build solidarity across the country, according to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

According to the president, Indonesia is prone to natural disasters, and the consequences of dealing with them have become a national mindset.

"If there is something new in the short, medium and long term in our development strategy it would be disaster risk reduction," he said.

In 2007, Indonesia has issued a regulation on disaster risk reduction at factories, buildings, infrastructure, offices, schools, houses, and others.

According to the President, there many lessons to be learned over the past few years which he would like to share with all congregation members.

"First, we need to change our paradigm from reactive to proactive, from disaster response to risk reduction, and from governments to members of the civil society," he said.

Then make the action to be more comprehensive and covers all aspects of national development.

"We completed our disaster risk map this year to help plan and raise awareness at provincial level," said the Head of State.

He said national safety, prevention and preparedness is also need because it is better to react than mourn.

Global Champion of Disaster Risk Reduction Award
The award was made in conjunction with the opening of the 3rd Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction attended by World Bank Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

The announcement of the award was made to 82 state delegates including 17 led by ministers and ministerial-level officials, 24 international organizations, and attended by 2500 delegates from around the world, including an Indonesian delegation led by Head of National Disaster Management Agency Syamsul Maarif.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said that the awards are expected to become a driving force for the international community to imitate the success of the Indonesian Government in increasing awareness on the importance of disaster prevention, and apply them in effective national policies.

The UN chief took this opportunity to express his appreciation to President Yudhoyono as global champion in the Disaster Risk Reduction for Indonesia`s success in applying and implementing the policy in the field properly.

Reporter: Ageng Wibowo
Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
Copyright © ANTARA 2011