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Jakarta Post

Sachs wants RI to take action on environment

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 26, 2015   /  06:13 am

American economist Jeffrey D. Sachs has called on Indonesia to promote environmentally friendly development strategies and join the global movement for sustainable development.

In a public lecture at the headquarters of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta on Wednesday, Sachs, currently of Columbia University'€™s Earth Institute, said the world was faced with risks that have sprung from what he called '€œunethical'€ development strategies, which put several countries, including Indonesia, at a high level of vulnerability.

Among the risks that the world is facing due to '€œunethical'€ development are climate change, ocean acidification, massive flushes of nitrogen, loss of biodiversity due to deforestation as well as atmospheric aerosol loading that causes serious lung diseases due to dirty air.

Sachs emphasized that Indonesia had experienced each of what he termed '€œmaladies'€, whether it was deforestation, drought, peat burning or massive flooding, and thus was vulnerable to disasters.

He further presented that some major cities in the world, including Jakarta and Bangkok, were highly vulnerable to sinking unless countries considered a holistic approach that lay in the interconnection of natural systems, social dynamics and technological systems.

'€œThat'€™s why it'€™s an age of sustainable development because we are brought out of a safe space. We have to take this seriously now both analytically and ethically. We have to come back to a kind of balance,'€ Sachs said.

Highlighting Indonesia'€™s great potential as the largest archipelagic country in the world, Sachs, who is the head of the United Nations'€™ Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), was convinced that the country could and should play a leadership role in advocating such a sustainable approach and expected the rest of the world to join in partnership.

Sachs thus offered a list of ten priorities of sustainable development goals that Indonesia could aspire to and bring to negotiations with other countries: an end to poverty; universal health coverage; secondary education for all; reduction of economic inequality; sustainable growth and jobs; sustainable infrastructure; sustainable cities; end of human-induced climate change; conservation of marine and terrestrial ecosystems; and good
governance.

Sachs, who is also the key senior advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is in the country to meet with relevant government officials to brief them on a planned agreement on setting new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at the next UN General Assembly in New York in September.

The renowned economist said that he would propose five initiatives that Indonesia could take on, which included the creation of a global fund for education to ensure universal quality education; funds to ensure universal access in foreign countries; greater financing to avoid deforestation and restore productive lands; increased funding for the global environment facility; and new funds for farmers.

Economist and environmentalist Emil Salim applauded Sachs'€™ sustainable development proposal and called on President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo to adopt and include them in his Nawacita, a Sanskrit term for '€œnine programs'€.

'€œIt is a holistic approach. We must really prepare human resources above all because we need experts to think of how to undertake development projects without destroying nature,'€ Emil told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the lecture.

'€œThe government must set a long-term strategy of what Indonesia [is] to become in 2045 when it will turn 100 years [old]. We definitely don'€™t want to suffer from deforestation or flood,'€ he said.

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