Monday, June 17, 2024 | 14:07 WIB

Achieving SDGs in Remote Areas: Transforming Bureaucracy

Jakarta, IO – With the release of Presidential Regulation Number 59 of 2017, concerning the Implementation of Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Indonesia has emerged as a leader in the goal of mainstreaming SDGs. The national medium-term development strategy and the long-term agenda, namely the Indonesia Vision 2045, both include an SDG agenda as a strategic component. The Government of Indonesia (GOI) intends to hasten the accomplishment of the nation’s objectives – as outlined in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution – by 2045, when Indonesia will have been independent for precisely 100 years. 

The de facto implementation of the SDGs, an effort commencing in 2016, has not been in accordance with global- & national-level GOI commitments. There has been little to report in the past six years (virtual stagnation). Indonesia is still placed 75th out of 194 nations included in the 2023 assessment, based on an SDG Index Score which compiles the achievement of the 17 SDG targets, ranked with a score of 70.2. Indonesia thus trails even farther behind other G20 / ASEAN nations, such as like Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil & China. Fiji, a partner country with Indonesia in the South-South Cooperation (SSC) receives a superior achievement, at 57th. 

None of the 17 Objective Implementation Progress Indicators fall into the “green light” category (“successfully achieved”). Seven, namely, “zero hunger”, “good health & well-being”, “affordable, clean energy”, “life below water”, “life on land”, “peace, justice & strong institutions” are still flagged in red (“major challenges”). The Government has a major task ahead of in before the SDG plan, stipulated to be completed within just eight years, can be accelerated. 

Andhi Kurniawan
Andhi Kurniawan, Policy Analyst at the Center for Program Fostering State Civil Apparatus Competency Development Policies, National Institute of Public Administration (LAN)

As part of the localized SDG agenda, development of our “frontier, outermost & least developed” areas (daerah terdepan, terluar, dan tertinggal/ 3T) is one of the spatial aspects that the SDGs agenda emphasizes, in keeping with the national development agenda created by the Government of Indonesia. Stimulus in at least four capacities—financial, science & technology, facilities & infrastructure and bureaucracy—are necessary to stimulate the growth of our 3T regions. The state civic apparatus (ASN) must function as catalysts. 

A government servant with the utmost professionalism and competence is required to supervise the implementation of the national & international development agenda in the 3T areas because eight years is a very limited period of time. The 3T regions are still plagued by issues with civil servant management, such as the incompatibility of educational background and skills with regional needs and leading sectors, disparities in welfare, and a dearth of technical staff outside of teachers & health professionals. The formula to achieving the post2015 development agenda in public services is to boost the job motivation of civil servants. Policies for managing public human resources that place a low priority on the concept of incentives will have an impact on employee morale & productivity, which will then degrade the standard of public services. 

Six components of civil servant management, namely: (i) preparation & needs assessment; (ii) career pattern; (iii) competency development; (iv) talent management; (v) performance management, and (vi) well-being, must be the emphasis of civil servant management transformation in 3T areas. 

The local community should be involved, because they are the ones who are most familiar with the traits, difficulties, problems and limitations of 3T regions. This recruitment strategy can be carried out by allocating 20–30% of formation to the local 3T region communities. Career development for government servants in 3T areas must be treated separately from that of civil servants in other areas. 

Bonataon M.T. Vincent Simandjorang, Researcher at the Research Center for Public Policy, National Research & Innovation Agency (BRIN)

In terms of ability & competence, there is a huge gap among civil servants in the 3T regions. Despite the fact that the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas) and Educational Fund Management Institution (LPDP) offer numerous opportunities for competency development in the form of educational scholarships, there are still not enough applicants for the scholarship program. This is also true of the number of registrants who pass receive educational scholarships from civil servants in the 3T areas. 

Future civil service leaders should have experience in the 3T sectors, as a minimum requirement. It is necessary to alter the perception that working in the 3T sectors is like being forced to work in a garbage dump. To work on 3T sectors, rebranding will create a positive impression. According to President Jokowi’s directives, Indonesia needs a functional-based bureaucracy in order to encourage civil servants moving toward functional positions to be more professional and gain specialized skills, in order to upgrade government performance and the standard of public services in 3T areas. Moreover, promoting public servants to functional roles creates an agile bureaucracy. 

Read: Mosque Architecture Of Ridwan Kamil: A Narrative Of Power And Knowledge Relations (Part 1)

Civil servants are drawn to the 3T sectors by the attraction of enhancing their well-being there, which acts as a magnet for them to self-actualize. Given the difficulties and severe topographical restrictions involved, the welfare of civil servants in 3T areas must be distinct from that of civil servants in metropolitan areas. The regional cost index must be used to assess the nominal amount of incentives to be offered to civil servants in 3T zones. 

In order to boost the achievement of SDGs nationwide in Indonesia by the end of 2030, the reform of civil servant management in these six areas is envisaged to speed up SDG achievement in 3T regions, which are still lagging behind that of other regions in Indonesia.