Indonesia ranks as one of the top 10 movers worldwide in human development, according to the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index (HDI). The Jakarta Post talked to the UNDP’s Human Development Report office director Jeni Klugman at the launch of the annual report for 2010. Below are the excerpts:
Question: How do you account for Indonesia’s success in human development, according to the report?
Answer: The human development report is well-known for its human development index. The main purpose of this year’s report was to go beyond income — which was still the most commonly used HDI matrix as a measure of well-being — by using broader indicators comprising education and health, with 1970 as the starting point
For Indonesia, what we find is that there has been tremendous success over the long term. Indonesia’s average annual HDI growth rate reached 1.82 percent in the period 2000-2010, significantly increasing from 1.43 percent between 1980 and 2010 and 1.35 percent from 1990 to 2010.
Indonesia’s human development faced a significant slowdown in the late 1990s, hampered by the East Asian financial crisis. However it rapidly recovered and came through the crisis, ending up as one of the best performing countries in the world.
What were Indonesia’s biggest achievements over the 40-year period covered by the report?
We break down HDI into improvement in income and non-income, comprising education and health. Indonesia did well both in income improvement and non-income improvement.
Indonesia is in the top 10 of income HDI and also in the top 10 of the non-income HDI, along with South Korea which is in the top 10 for both categories.
Indonesia and South Korea are the only countries in the top 10 for both categories. China comes up at number one for income because it grew very fast. But it has not had rapid enough progress in terms of education and health over the past four decades.
How is Indonesia doing under the report’s new poverty deprivation index?
The multidimensional poverty index, which identifies existing health, education and income deprivation at the household level in 104 countries, shows Southeast Asia to be home to half of the world’s poor population, or 844 million people.
We find a significant number of Indonesians are living in poor conditions. About one fifth, or 20 percent, of Indonesia’s population suffers multiple deprivations.
They face deprivations in the education side, the housing side and in living standards. Many Indonesian children are not attending school. There are a significant number of Indonesian people who suffer from malnutrition and have poor living standards, including not having running water.
It’s quite a serious deprivation and it’s clearly quite widespread in Indonesia. It’s important that Indonesia’s human development has increased enormously on average. But there’s still significant deprivation in the country.
What’s most important for Indonesia to do next?
Indonesia has made a lot of progress. Now, it is facing second generation issues. We have to work on quality education, ensuring that more children get a quality education.
We should ensure wider access to health care as well as sanitation, including for people in remote areas and marginalized groups.
Indonesia has to be congratulated because of its enormous transition in governance as well as in development. It’s an enormous agenda which has been addressed very successfully by the Indonesian government.
How have recent global economic crises affected Indonesia’s human development?
I think the risk is there. The developed countries [have been] much worse hit by the crises than developing countries. East Asia, possibly not surprisingly, has done very well overall. This is the best performing region since it has [seen] significant increases during the past four decades, including Indonesia. (ebf)