A New Model of Development

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Delly Ferdian Researcher at Madani Berkelanjutan Foundation, Jakarta

IO – To be honest, the pandemic of Covid-19 should be exploited as momentum for this country to jump or even leap from harmful and even destructive old habits to new and more sustainable ones. It is too much to lose if the crisis caused by a pandemic only provides basic lessons in implementing health protocols such as keeping one’s distance or simply washing hands using soap.

It cannot be denied that this country called Indonesia is indeed fairly innocent in matters of democracy. However, that does not mean it is a fragile country. This country has earned its independence through hard work and shed blood, making it is a strong nation. This strength is what we should believe in as an asset to surrender and giving up when faced with the current crisis.

A wise adage says that accomplished sailors are not born from calm seas. Just as Indonesia will not be a strong country, unable to face challenges, no matter how tough the challenges are.

This is as President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said in his speech at the MPR annual session and the DPR-DPD joint session at the Senayan Parliament Building a week ago. As a strong nation, Indonesia must plow the momentum of the crisis into a new awakening.

Handling of Covid-19

It cannot be denied that the various efforts currently being made by the government are only limited to a reactive response to Covid-19. As with the national economic recovery (PEN) scenario, it’ll be no new models or new leaps; everything is limited to business as usual. In fact, Covid-19, which is getting more and more stifling every day, has indicated that it is time for development to pay more attention to nature. This is the momentum for Indonesia and even the world to look for a new model of development that does not leave damage. 

Regarding the handling of Covid-19, the government’s performance cannot be said to be that good either. The University of Oxford in the UK provides a red report card for Indonesia regarding the handling of Covid-19.

In this appraisal, Oxford measured the agility of governments in various countries in dealing with Covid-19. An Index was released covering four assessments: general government response (Overall Government Response Index), prevention and health efforts (Containment and Health Index), enforcement of social distancing (Stringency Index), and economic support (Economic Support Index).

Based on this index, Oxford provided an index value of 43.91 for Indonesia, which means that the value is below 50 or equivalent to a “D” score. These results also place Indonesia as the country with the lowest score among ASEAN countries, even far behind Cambodia.

This unsatisfactory performance clearly makes many parties doubt the government’s ability to face the threat of forest and land fires along with the pandemic of Covid-19 .

New Development

In his speech, President Jokowi also emphasized that all policies must always prioritize environmental aspects and also protection of human rights. This is certainly a sign and good news for Indonesia’s struggle to fight the climate crisis by preserving and restoring the environment, forests and nature, which have so far received less serious attention.

It is common knowledge that developing countries are still struggling with their direction of development. The tendency is that countries which are rich in natural resources always try to exploit their wealth to boost growth. The development paradigm with the exploitation of nature was chosen as a shortcut to development because it was considered more economical. Keep in mind, an economy built on the exploitation of nature will not be better off because it will have a bad impact in the future. In the context of a green economy, the lower the deforestation, the better the quality of economic growth.

In my honest opinion, there are three basic points as the foundation for a new awakening, namely, a new model of development to hijack the crisis which is currently becoming a scourge for this nation. First, becoming the environment as a common issue. So far, the environment is still seen as a sector. This is what ultimately makes the environment often abandoned because it is considered not an important sector in development. It is natural that in responding to Covid-19, the environment will not be included in the strategic recovery plan.

Making the environment a common issue is the best way to equalize perceptions in the implementation of development. When the environment has become a common issue, all sectors such as health, economy, tourism, and many others will stick to implementing the right policies in a pro-environment manner.

Second, stop exploitation by applying new and renewable energy. It is appropriate for development in the modern era to think more about the sustainability side of the energy to be used; this is what makes environmentally-friendly energy a necessity. There are many alternative energy sources that can be used, such as solar panels, geothermal energy, and even waste that could be processed into energy. Therefore, as a country that is aware of natural wealth, global conditions and challenges ahead, Indonesia must immediately stop deforestation, land conversion, forest burning, use of energy rich in carbon emissions, and many other things that are clearly not environmentally-friendly.

Third, strong and sharp supervision and law enforcement. Weak supervision and law enforcement in this country is one of the causes of rampant irresponsible exploitation of nature. This weakness is used by mafia as slippery as eels to continue to reap profits from the increasingly stagnant nature because clearly the deterrent effect is also meaningless.

These three things are important as the basic capital to build Indonesia with a new better development model. In other words, Indonesia must immediately abandon the gross growth model with a leap towards green and sustainable growth. It is time for Indonesia to hijack the momentum of the crisis with a new development model.