Leave No One Behind: Towards the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia

This summer I had the pleasure of working at the Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI), an institution serving as the center for national development strategy analysis in Indonesia, which involves studying innovations and strategic initiatives that will help accelerate the implementation and achievement of the 2030 Global Goals on Sustainable Development (SDGs) and the implementation of development interventions specifically in the area of health and youth engagement. As part of their mandate, CISDI facilitates and drives cross-sector collaboration between public, private and civil society organizations that are integrated to achieve development goals that are widespread, equal, and sustainable. 

My fellowship aims to see how CISDI works, as they facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships on SDGs, as well as the approaches that are taken by the Indonesian government to involve non-state actors, such as youth groups, the private sector, and philanthropic organizations, into the SDGs implementation. I also focus on the strategy to transform these broad global goals into the local development plan, concentrating on public-private partnership and community engagement. 

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations initiated the SDGs to continue the development efforts after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ended in 2015. SDGs are a series of 17 ambitious goals to sustain the planet and humanity and aim to integrate and balance the three dimensions of development: economic, social, and environmental. SDGs are a universal set of goals, targets, and indicators that UN member states are expected to utilize in their development agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. Considering the importance of this agenda for the future, an active role and participation of all stakeholders in development are required to ensure effective implementation at a national level. At the same degree of importance, the willingness and strategies needed to translate this new goal into national development agenda. Indonesia has started the process of adopting the SDGs to integrate the targets into their national development planning with initiating the Presidential Decree on SDGs, which hopefully will bridge partnership among stakeholders.

I began my fellowship in Indonesia with a solid start; I was participating in the official government summit on “Collaboration and Action to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia.” This summit was organized by the Ministry of National Development Planning and was supported by the University of Indonesia and Sustainable Development Solutions Network. It has managed to build the foundation and is raising awareness of development stakeholders on the importance of partnership to transform the goals into a national and local development agenda.

In line with building multi-stakeholder partnerships, CISDI as the former Office of President’s Special Envoy on MDGs has been working to facilitate partnerships among stakeholders and building collaborations to ensure Indonesia’s substantial presence and leadership throughout the formulation process of the SDGs. The approach has been taken with developing policy and advocacy, public consultations, information dissemination, monitoring on the plan of action, research, and participating as the key civil society actor on the development of the Presidential Decree.

A major question asked regarding this issue when it comes to the private sector is why are the SDGs relevant to the private sector?

It is relevant, particularly in this rapidly evolving global environment where information is open and free for everyone. Nowadays, the private sector is exposed to greater risks and different social expectations. The private sector is increasingly driven to make use of Corporate Social Responsibility, to make efficient use of the resources, and to work in a sustainable manner that will not harm the environment and surrounding stakeholders. SDGs in this matter can act as guiding principles for the work of private sector and provide a platform for the private sector to implement long-term goals and partnerships that will make a significant contribution towards achieving sustainable development for all. On the other hand, the SDGs have come to represent an important opportunity for the development community to engage strategically with the private sector.

My work with CISDI on SDGs also focused on two forms: strengthening the discussion about SDGs in social media by administrating the official SDGs Indonesia Twitter account, @IndonesiaSDGs, and assisting CISDI in developing one of its initiatives “Partnership Mapping for Development/#PetaKemitraan.”

Social Media Engagement

Indonesia is a vibrant country with an estimated population of 260 million. According to We Are Social, as of 2016, Indonesia has 34 percent Internet penetration with more than 326.3 million mobile phones, which means most Indonesians have one or more phones. Indonesia is also a mobile-first country, where many people are discovering the Internet for the first time from the mobile phone through their Facebook or Twitter account. This is an untapped opportunity to spread positive news and increase engagement. This is the idea behind the @IndonesiaSDGs account. It shares news, information and the ways of engagement on SDGs to Indonesians in social media. Even though most of the posts are in Indonesian, you still can follow this account to see the Indonesia’s perspective on SDGs.


The other work that I did with CISDI was assisting this organization for the launch of the Partnership Mapping for Development or known by Indonesians as #PetaKemitraan. This is a consolidated online map showcasing the details of the dynamic development in every province in Indonesia. This map will ensure that the public and relevant stakeholders have access to an integrated reference that is open and readily available to learn about the different national development issues – related to the 17 goals of SDGs. The public can understand key problems and challenges unique to some areas, what has been done to overcome these challenges, and the stakeholders involved in resolving these challenges. This reference is essential in helping each actor involved in designing, planning, and executing their programs for a better Indonesia. The stakeholders in this initiative are divided into public/government, the private sector and philanthropic organizations, youth groups and academia, and civil society organizations.

The Role of 65 Million

The second fold of my fellowship is to see the involvement of young people in Indonesia’s development program on various issues such as education, health, and entrepreneurship. In Indonesia’s context, Law No. 40 of 2009 on Youth categorized young people defined as 16-30 years old. There are 65 million young people in Indonesia, constituting 33 percent of Indonesia’s total population.

Participation is a basic right for young people, but questions arise about its most fundamental phenomena. What is inclusive youth participation, who are the participants, what do they do, and with what outcomes? When we say that youth meaningfully participates, is it about “youth-led activity,” “civic engagement,” or simply when we have young people on the table? I learned during my fellowship that CISDI has answers to these questions through their Open Government Initiatives award-winning program “Pencerah Nusantara.” 

Pencerah Nusantara is a movement initiated by the Office of the President’s Special Envoy of the Republic of Indonesia on MDGs in 2011, with an essential aim of accelerating the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through strengthening the delivery of primary healthcare. Pencerah Nusantara is represented by a selected group of young people, which comprises general practitioners, nurses, midwives, and health advocates from a spectrum of academics background, voluntarily dedicating their expertise to strengthen primary healthcare centers and build the capacity of communities under the designated area. 

I got an opportunity to visit and work together with one Pencerah Nusantara team in Pototano, West Nusa Tenggara and to see their direct contribution to the local community in this area. I wrote a complete observation (in Indonesian) of my experience for CISDI’s website. With this opportunity, it is evident to me that youth participation is a pre-condition for sustainable development and the youth need to be co-owners of the future. Inclusive participation will not see youth as an object or target, but more in developing a mutual partnership with young people as a subject and partner to development. 

Finally, sustainable development goals cannot be achieved by governments alone. It requires the collaboration of various stakeholders such as the private sector and civil society and includes young people. It is critical to put sustainable and inclusive development as the core, but we have to make sure that this includes investment in individuals whose potential must be realized.

Thank you Blakeley Foundation for this opportunity!