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Jakarta Post

RI to include greater public participation in SDGs

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

New York   /   Sun, September 27, 2015   /  03:02 pm

As 193 countries officially adopted a new global development agenda called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Friday, replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Indonesia is optimistic that the country will be able to remedy its failures in meeting some of the old development targets.

Speaking after a ceremony held to adopt the new proposal, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who led the Indonesian delegation to the forum, said that the country'€™s development agenda would be more inclusive toward civil society, in line with the SDGs, which aims to usher in a new era of national action and international cooperation and to shape political policy worldwide for the next 15 years.

'€œWe need participation of civil society organizations [CSOs]. The cooperation could take multiple forms, such as data sharing for environmental causes,'€ he said after meeting the heads of several CSOs, such as the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), at the office of the Indonesian Mission to the UN in New York.

During the meeting, activists urged Kalla to push for wider public participation in efforts to reach the SDGs, targeted to be achieved by 2030, and to learn from the failures of the MDGs.

Indonesia has failed to meet four of eight targets of the MDGs, signed by UN members in 2000; reducing maternal mortality rates, lowering numbers of HIV-infected patients, ensuring environment sustainability and providing access to clean water and good sanitation.

Indonesia'€™s maternal mortality rate rose from 227 per 100,000 live births to 359 between 2007 and 2012, an increase partly blamed on a lack of funding and healthcare services across the archipelago.

Meanwhile, the number of people living with HIV increased from 7,195 cases in 2006 to 32,711 in 2014. AIDS cases increased from 3,692 to 5,494 in the same period.

Some activists have attributed the failures to the elitist approach that the government adopted in realizing the MDGs.

'€œIf the public could participate more, then the prospect of realizing the SDGs is greater. The time frame of the new goals is quite short, only 15 years, while they are certainly ambitious. Therefore, it calls for great contribution of energy [from all stakeholders] and it should not be perceived as the duties of the government only,'€ INFID executive director Sugeng Bahagijo said after meeting with Kalla.

Besides calling for greater public involvement, the activists also told Kalla that the government needed to set up a strategy to fund priority development targets in the adoption of the SDGs.

 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that channeling both public and private sector cash flows into sustainable development initiatives will be '€œcrucial for securing an ambitious post-2015 agenda.'€

'€œAll sources of funding must be tapped '€” public and private, national and international,'€ Ban declared. '€œDomestic resource mobilization will be crucial.'€

However, he said, numerous challenges in facilitating financing remained. In many countries, attempts to raise public resources through taxation continued to be hampered by loopholes, tax avoidance and tax evasion, while private international capital flows also suffered from volatility.

UN general assembly president Mogens Lykketoft has called on greater involvement from the private sector, in line with the 17th goal of the SDGs.

'€œThe business community is so urgently needed here. Enormous amount of money, trillions of dollars have to be invested in this project. Most of them have to come from private resources,'€ he told a press conference at the UN headquarters on Friday.

Kalla acknowledged the crucial role of the private sector in realizing the SDGs.

'€œThe 17th goal is partnership, meaning that all components of the country have to participate, including businessmen. So businesspeople have to push for an economy that is environmentally friendly,'€ he said.

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