Sustainable development goal targets to be put back in the spotlight

This comes at a time when various crises have led to a decline in optimism about achieving sustainable development growth.

Sheena Suparman

Sheena Suparman

The Jakarta Post


Photos courtesy of Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration.

July 19, 2023

JAKARTA – Amid various crises, such as the residual effects of the COVID-19, the decline in the global economy, as well as the continuation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, sustainable development goals (SDGs) have taken a back seat in many countries. The crises have also led to a decline of optimism about achieving SDGs in several regions, especially those that are not as open to the international community.

Indonesia, however, has voiced a solution in the form of localizing SDGs to villages, known as Village SDGs. The Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister A Halim Iskandar delivered the Village SDGs at the “Driving Changes at the Local Level: Innovative Approaches to Localizing SDGs” session. The event was held on July 17 at the United Nations headquarters, in New York, the United States.

Among the delegates from 196 countries, the session was also attended by National Planning and Development Minister Suharso Monoarfa, UNDP Asia-Pacific regional director and UNDP assistant general secretary Kanni Wignaraja, Mayor of Braga, Portugal, Ricardo Rio and UCLG Asia Pacific secretary-general Bernadia Tjandradewi.

This cross-country session, which was launched on July 10 and will continue until July 20, is part of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2023. Throughout the event, Indonesia also presented an exhibition of SDG results from the national level to the villages.

“It seems that the power of local action has not really been taken into account in various discussions on achieving the 2030 SDGs agenda,” explained Halim, “Some people focus too much on what is happening at the global or national level, even though concrete action starts from the smallest unit, namely the village. The phrase ‘act local, think global’ is still relevant today, and should be our guiding principle.”

While efforts have been tirelessly made at every level of the government, only 20 percent of the SDG targets have been achieved and are progressing, while the rest are stagnant or experiencing delays. Indonesia must remedy this if it is to achieve the targets that have been set for 2030.

“I believe it is time for us to prioritize localizing the SDGs again, to ensure that local action becomes an essential part of our transformative actions in improving the direction of the 2030 agenda and achieving all of its targets fully and on time,” said Halim.

Halim highlighted three key actions that will be taken to accelerate and improve the initiatives to make sure that the country will be back on track by 2030. The actions are through data collection, prioritizing a multi-stakeholder approach, as well as building the foundation of support for villages.

First, data collection is a very important starting point in order to determine a comparison to see how the initiatives are progressing, as well as to set realistic standards per area. In the village of Vasco Damneen in West Papua province, data collection began in 2022 and has been implemented in SDGs-based village budget planning this year. Villages have set specific Village SDG targets according to their local needs.

Prioritizing the multi-stakeholder approach is a catalytic factor in achieving those targets. An example can be seen from West Kalimanten, through the establishment of a health center in the village of Nanga Lebang, which was supported by the corporate social responsibility fund Agro Sukses Lestari. This program is in line with the target of the SDGs’ third goal; to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages.

Last, ongoing support for villages is also important. The same example as the second action, the village of Nanga Lebang’s head has directed the Villages Fund cash assistance to the villagers who need it the most, based on the Village SDGs data. In 2022, it was distributed to 87 households, while in 2023, 25 households were identified that were more in need than others.

“Together, let’s continue to strengthen local action, leave a meaningful impact on society, ensure a prosperous future for all, and ensure that no village or people are left behind,” Halim concluded.

This article was published in collaboration with Ministry of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration

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