Following the country reports, a series of related presentations was made on a range of related topics pertaining to the recovery efforts. These presentations included a comprehensive discussion of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) activities in Indonesia and some of the lessons learnt and challenges that were encountered (Annex 2.14).
The livelihoods of communities in the fisheries and agriculture sectors were the hardest hit as a result of the devastating tsunami in December 2004. The need to re-establish food production and livelihoods remains an urgent priority as initial food and other aid is withdrawn from affected areas. Many issues require technical inputs or training. In this respect ACIAR's mandate effectively means that it has a greater role to play now rather than in the immediate phase after the event.
The post-tsunami assistance programme of ACIAR only covers Indonesia. The basis for this decision was as follows:
The post-tsunami response consisted of four overlapping phases, namely in-country training activities (in fisheries, soil management and crop production); short scoping studies, to provide and identify specific needs/technical information to underpin agriculture and fisheries reconstruction; collaborative two to three year R&D projects between Australian and Indonesian partners addressing these needs; and technical inputs to activities managed by AusAID and by international agencies in areas relevant to ACIAR's expertise.
In the post-tsunami rehabilitation phase there are several challenges that are common to donor and government agencies involved in re-establishing the livelihoods of communities. These include:
The importance of coordination and information management as it relates to programme management was highlighted as an essential element in operations similar to those mobilized as a result of the tsunami (Annex 2.15). Clearly the lack of or inappropriate coordination was a major flaw in several post-tsunami programmes in each of the affected countries. The more parties involved in an operation, the more important it becomes to coordinate their programmes and activities. Coordination is deemed to be such an important component that in several countries organizations have been created and institutionalized whose principal role and mission is to ensure coordination. The importance of coordinating bodies is evidenced through the recent establishment of RADA in Sri Lanka, the newly established BRR in Indonesia and the Disaster Management Center in the Maldives. The benefits of successful coordination outweigh the difficulties that are often incurred in establishing effective coordination mechanisms. Coordination makes the most efficient and effective use of staff; equipment, supplies, and physical facilities; funding; services/assistance provided; knowledge, experience, and skills; research and evaluation results; and access to beneficiaries. A fundamental advantage of improved coordination is that it improves service delivery. A comprehensive discussion on coordination activities within organizations and difficulties associated with coordination is presented in Annex 2.15. In short, coordination is the key to a successful operation. In order to achieve this, there is a need for information and, more importantly, there is a need to manage this information. Information management enables timely and appropriate dissemination.
As an immediate response to the tsunami catastrophe several organizations, including governments and NGOs, undertook environmental assessments in affected areas. A rapid assessment of resources was undertaken by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR) in close cooperation with the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) in Sri Lanka. It consisted of two parts, focusing on the "green" environment (ecosystems, biodiversity, protected areas and farmlands) and the "brown" environment (pollution, debris and impacts on human settlements and infrastructure). One year after the devastating tsunami, a study was commissioned by FAO with the objective of scientifically assessing the nature of the damage of the tsunami to coastal vegetation and to understand the way nature had reacted to the devastation. The mitigating functions of natural ecosystems were also assessed. Guidelines were developed for integrated coastal management with special reference to the establishment of a "Green Belt" (Annex 2.16). As an outcome of this rapid assessment of tsunami affected coastal areas several recommendations were proposed. These recommendations included the establishment of green belts, bioshields and biovillages within close proximity of the coastline. A comprehensive discussion of the aforementioned is presented in Annex 2.16.
The final presentation of the day presented the results of studies undertaken in Aceh, where the impact of the tsunami on soil properties has been determined and monitored since the tsunami, and a comprehensive mapping exercise undertaken to delineate the extent and degree of impact that agricultural lands have undergone (Annex 2.17). Extensive use of EM38 electromagnetic induction technology was used in the mapping exercise and has been found to be extremely effective. Through the establishment of permanent monitoring sites, quantification of the remediation process has been achieved. Guidelines for farmers and extension workers have been developed for the remediation of salt-affected lands and field demonstration plots have been established using salt tolerant varieties.