The fifteenth CGI (Consultative Group on Indonesia) meeting was held June 14, 2006 at Bank Indonesia. About eigth cabinet ministers attended the opening session with lead speakers Dr Boediono, the Chief Economics Minister; Dr Sri Mulyani, the Finance Minister and Adm.Widodo, the Chief Security Minister. dr Andrew Steer. Country Director for Indonesia of the World Bank, presided over the sessions. Two publications, Investing for Growth and Recovery, prepared by the World Bank Jakarta Office, and Preliminary Damage and Loss Assessment of the Yogyakarta and Central Java Natural Disaster , prepared by BAPPENAS the National Planning Agency, the Local Governments of Yogyakarta and Central Java and International partners (World Bank, Asian Development Bank) was issued to participants.
Overall, the reports by Boediono and Sri Mulyani on macro economic management was optimistic: the strengthening of the rupiah over the past 4 months, government budget deficit at 0.5 percent of GDP; debt to GDP ratio down to 47 percent; inflation planned at single digit throughout the next six months.
Donor representatives made their commitment speeches about continued assistance to Indonesia, but no major decision was made about assistance to Yogyakarta and Central Java. Press reports speak of USD 3 billion for Yogyakarta/Central Java, about the same figure for international assistance to India in 2001, and Pakistan in 2005, though lives lost in India and Pakistan were well above 50.000. The high figure is attributed to the need to rebuild of homes and buildings destroyed or heavily damaged, and the higher number of Indonesians wounded during the earthquake of May 27, 2006.
Everyone at the meeting agreed that governance was the central issue. Somehow, during the presentations I began to muse that beyond the talk about boxes, charts, figures, time lines and target dates, I felt that there was a bit too much of linear technocracy thinking. Discussions about road “maps” and “architecture” of the recovery process need to consider the more fundamental human and cultural factors.
In essence, we need more thinking about “horticulture” than “architecture”. However neat the plans on the drawing boards and however sophisticated the tools of development planning, it will be humans who will do the implementation on the ground. Team work and team spirit is more cultural than technocracy. Nurturing institutions require the appropriate implantation of seed, applying the right amount of water for plants and saps to grow, the right amount of sunlight to give light to nascent networks of cooperation among disparate groups. There will be hits and misses, and even social glitches and crashing of social gears along the way so long as 36 million Indonesians live below the poverty line, 10 million openly unemployed and 60 million receiving direct cash transfers until the end of 2006.
A strong dose of humility in development and recovery planning is needed by both donor agencies and Indonesian officials.