12 June 2020 | JAKARTA – During the first half of 2020, the world has been focusing on tackling COVID-19. The fact that the global pandemic hitting cities ten years towards the Global Agenda deadline definitely inhibits local governments efforts in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UCLG ASPAC LOCALISE SDGs Programme supported by the EU refreshed local governments once again, particularly in Indonesia, on their commitment towards the sustainability of local development through a Web-Share discussion session on “Local Governments’ Commitment on SDGs Attainment after COVID-19 Pandemic.” Participating in the discussion session were representatives from the Ministry of National Development Planning, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and representatives of city and local governments in Indonesia. UCLG ASPAC was represented by Secretary General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi.

The Head of SDGs National Secretariat, Mrs. Amalia Adiningrat Widyasanti, representing the Ministry of National Planning Development, shared that Indonesia is not the only country that experiences rough economic growth. According to her, the solution is to solve the core problem, which is virus containment. This is the reason the Government of Indonesia focuses on supporting the health sector, such as improving health service capacity and upgrading laboratory facility. She added, the most important thing is public health education, especially the level of awareness of people in applying social/physical distancing as part of the efforts to control the COVID-19. The solution for the COVID-19 needs to be found as soon as possible to reduce the pressure to those in vulnerable condition. There will be huge economic cost in the long term unless all stakeholders collaborate in controlling COVID-19.

Representing the Director of Local Development Synchronisation, Directorate General of Local Development from Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Nyoto Suwignyo mentioned that currently on progress is the development of the 2021 Local Development Workplan, in which there will be 52 targets of SDGs that require immediate/short-term action and related to COVID-19. The targets are from Goal 1 to 17, but mainly focus on Goal 1 (No Poverty), Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

Sharing the COVID-19 condition was Mayor Marten A. Taha of Gorontalo. The slow economic growth due to large-scale social restriction forced the hotels and restaurants owners to lose their revenue and close their business. The city government supported the small and medium enterprises by reducing tax.

The Head of Bengkulu City Local Development Planning Office, Mr. Firman Roz stated that Bengkulu City is committed to implement SDGs although the poverty rate has increased due to COVID-19. Local government of Bengkulu has developed innovation in health sector called “Jemput Sakit-Pulang Sehat or Pickup Sick and Return Home Well.” It is a health service programme that provides sick people with free pick-up service to the nearest health facility to get proper treatment and drop them back to their home when they recover.

Representing East Kalimantan Province, Mr. Muhamad Jauhar Effendi, Assistant I of Local Secretary, shared that, due to COVID-19, local development relevant to Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Goal 8 (Decent Works and Economic Growth) would be hard to achieve. Local government provides fund for COVID-19 related programme which is around IDR 500 Billion or approximately USD 34,816,516, focusing on health sector, economic recovery, and local social aid. It is expected that current condition can soon recover.

Representing Jakarta Province, Mrs. Suharti Sutar, Deputy Governor for Population and Settlement Control, shared the urgency of having mitigation plan to tackle issues that have existed before the  COVID-19 pandemic, such as stunting. If the mitigation plan is not developed, post pandemic would be uncontrollable, she said.

The virtual discussion is the 10th in the series of Web-Share organised by UCLG ASPAC since early April. More than 400 participants have registered, the largest registration amongst all Web-Share to date.

A quick poll among participants using mentimeter was also conducted during the web-share. The survey sought to identify:

  1. The most affected goal in COVID-19 pandemic:
    • 27% answers Goal 1 (No Poverty)
    • 25% answers Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being)
    • 21% answers Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth)

  2. Twomost challenging factors in implementing SDGs during COVID-19 pandemic:
    Answers revolve around budget, data collaboration, and commitment.
  3. What Local Government needs in implementing SDGs during COVID-19:
    • 28% answers Multi Stakeholder Partnership
    • 21% answers Budget
    • 17% answers Data

UCLG ASPAC thanks all speakers and participants for their contribution and sharing in the virtual discussion.