Putting the Global Goals into Action in Indonesia

Posted on November 6, 2015

Douglas Broderick, Jakarta

Children need education. Families want income. Villages seek protection against natural disasters. The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals — otherwise known as the Global Goals — aim to address such poverty-related conditions through clear objectives, including ending extreme poverty in all forms throughout the globe.

In addition to that first goal are a range of others such as malnutrition, gender equality, and environmental protection to be applied across our diverse, complex, and connected world.

Because these aims are so ambitious, strong action needs to be taken now to ensure we succeed. These actions will require new ways of thinking to address the many issues people face. This will require creativity and vision.

“The agenda demands a strong and inclusive global partnership to support the means of implementation, while taking into account national circumstances and development priorities,” said Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the UN Summit on the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

As the Vice President said, the goals are global but implementation is local, and such work will require understanding both what we share and our differences.

For Indonesia, we must be able to monitor development progress across indicators, institutions, issues, and islands. Good data will be crucial.

There is a popular saying about not being able to manage what you cannot measure, and the final Global Goal includes the target “to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely, and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location, and other characteristics relevant in national contexts.”

We must be able to measure our progress so we can direct and adapt our work appropriately. Doing so will be essential to our success.

But the timely and reliable data we require does not just appear. There needs to be focus and a roadmap. There needs to be creative thinking and innovation as we look to 2030, a quick 15 years away.

Indonesia played a major role in the development of the Global Goals, chairing the UN’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda along with the UK and Liberia. And it is clear the country recognizes the importance of the goals, having already incorporated many into the National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN).

The country is doing original data collection work that will be necessary in the realization
of the Global Goals.

The country is doing original data collection work that will be necessary in the realization of the Global Goals, from both the monitoring and the implementation side. The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) is supporting Pulse Lab Jakarta, a flagship innovation lab of the UN Secretary-General and one of only three in the world. The joint initiative analyzes social media, harnesses new technologies, and crowdsources information to develop models that work toward the country’s development objectives.

The result has been creative digital approaches that strive to develop solutions to public sector challenges in Indonesia, including better services, improved infrastructure, and disease monitoring. Along with the World Food Program, Pulse Lab has monitored commodity prices to ensure food security, and UNICEF and WHO have joined with Pulse Lab to understand public perceptions of immunization through social media.

These projects demonstrate the ways government and the UN are partnering to produce innovative, timely information that contributes to development efforts and creates human impact, using targeted technologies for public good.

We must start applying such work to the Global Goals.

Awareness of the goals needs to be taken down to the village level, and made part of school curricula and publicized in and through local government. Heightened knowledge and understanding will be important in achieving the goals. The right use of technology is one way to do so.

The Global Goals were developed after extensive input and consultation with people from across the globe, the result intersecting and overlapping targets that mirror our complex world today.

These targets will be localized, and to do so requires alignment with national planning and on-the-ground efforts that must take into account so much diversity.

The creative use of technology will be integral, for connectivity can work to educate, help in monitoring achievements, and, importantly, assist in the work of the goals themselves.

Innovative technologies can help us to recognize and capture the complexity of lived experience while garnering the data and numbers necessary for us to succeed.

Development work needs to interact and engage in new ways, just as the Global Goals offer us ambitious, universal goals amid a changing development landscape.

Indonesia is already creating new partnerships and action plans to implement the Global Goals, and the UN will continue to support the country to ensure its success enhancing health, wealth, and peace.


The writer is resident coordinator of the UN in Indonesia and the UNDP resident representative.

Please click here to see the article originally published in Jakarta Post.