National

RI middle of the road in
MDG progress

Indonesia is faring better than many developing countries in its struggle to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but far worse than others, including several of its neighbors, MDGs envoy Nila Moeloek says.

Nila, who attended last week’s MDGs summit in New York, said on Tuesday that Indonesia was among 189 nations that had announced reports on their progress to meet the targets, which are designed to fight poverty.

According to Nila, Indonesia’s progress is “not that bad. We are in a middle position; of course we can’t be compared to [certain] countries in ASEAN, such as Singapore, perhaps because of our difficult geography and infrastructure [shortcomings],” she said.

However, Nila said, Indonesia was faring better than other countries, including many African nations.

Indonesia is lagging behind its neighbors in three major areas: reducing the maternal mortality rate, HIV/AIDS control and improving access to clean water.

According to data from the ministry, Indonesia’s maternal mortality ratio stood at around 390 in 100,000 live births in 1990. In 2007, the rate stood at 228, a significant drop but well short of the MDG target of 102 by the 2015.

Singapore’s maternal mortality was 15 out of 100,000 live births in 2000, according to the World Health Organization’s website.

The percentage of people with sustainable access to clean water in Indonesian was 47.71 percent in 2009, up from 37.73 percent in 1993. The country has targeted to increase that percentage to 68.87 percent by the 2015 deadline.

Nila said many developing countries had promised to help eradicate poverty, but that the process had been made more difficult by the global financial and food crises.

“As for whether their promises can be fulfilled; I don’t see it as impossible but we will wait and see the documents they produce [regarding the promise],” she said.

Nila said the role of the domestic private sector in empowering the nation to achieve the goals was a hot topic at the event.

National Development Planning Minister Armida Alisjahbana said Monday that the country’s drive to achieve the MDGs was being hampered by a lack of funding allocated for health and education programs in regional budgets.

“We monitored the regions and found that more than 50 percent of the [regional] budgets were allocated for routine spending while health and education programs and those that stimulate the economy were neglected,” she added.

She said the ministry was currently designing an action plan for regions to accelerate their progress toward the MDGs. A road map was being drawn up, she added.

“This way we will be able to have well-allocated regional budgets,” she said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has expressed concern that several local administrations have refused to follow central government directives to allocate more spending for development.

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