UNDP Declared a Fight on Poverty 50 Years Ago; Now a go-to Partner for SDGs

Mar 3, 2016

Development, ultimately, is a marathon, not a sprint.

Poor people need to be given opportunities to improve their lives, water pipes need to be built to support famers in dry zones; communities in disaster-prone areas need to be supported to reduce and manage risks; access to justice must be made available to all, including the most vulnerable groups. All of this development work is a long race that leads to sustainable results and benefits every woman, man and child on the planet.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been on this marathon for 50 years.

UNDP was established with a vision to eliminate poverty. Since then our mandate has grown as we became entrusted with more responsibilities and we have become one of the leading development agencies. We have played an important role to lift millions of people out of poverty and improve the lives of the populations in the 177 countries and territories that we work in.

We have worked in Indonesia since 1970, focusing on poverty eradication and in the past 25 years alone we have been actively supporting economic reforms and transition to democracy. UNDP has also promoted the adoption and implementation of policies for environmental protection. When disasters strike, as in December 2004 with the Asian tsunami, UNDP works with all its partners to provide relief and build resilience.

 Working closely with the Government, the civil society, the private sector and many other partners, we are particularly proud of the changes that we have helped bring about for the people of Indonesia. This included just to name a few UNDP’s support to the formulation of key laws, such as the national Law on Social Conflict Management, assistance for the creation of the Indonesia Democracy Index and of the Forest Governance index which analyzes the current state of forest governance. This also included hundreds of grass-roots level projects throughout Indonesia that have directly improved the lives of thousands of poor people, particularly poor women, by giving them skills to find jobs and access to basic services including energy.   

It is this kind of work, undertaken across the globe, which has helped make countries like Indonesia a better place now than it was 50 years ago. In its own right, Indonesia has made tremendous strides since gaining independence and this achievement needs to be commended. The country is now at middle-income status, with a GDP per capita of $US 3,491 as per 2014 The economy - by the volume of GDP - is now 16th in the world and its Human Development Index has jumped from 0.474 in 1980 to 0.684 in 2014 (a score of 1 indicates highest HDI achievement).

The world has seen impressive development progress since 1966 when UNDP was created, but it remains far from perfect. Even today, it’s estimated that one billion people live on less than $US1.25 a day and 750 million people lack access to safe water. We are not yet rid of poverty and hunger.

In Indonesia, we face some important challenges, particularly in the areas of poverty and income distribution. Around 28 million Indonesians or around 11 per cent of the population live below the national poverty line as per data from the Indonesian Statistics Agency (BPS). In some regions, particularly in the eastern part of the country, poverty rates are much higher than the national average. The Gini coefficient index that measured inequality has worsened from 0.329 in 2002 to 0.413 in 2013

UNDP, together with the UN system, is well placed to tackle these key challenges, and right now we are focusing on the implementation of the new global anti-poverty agenda as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals, better known as the SDGs. Agreed by world leaders at the UN Headquarters in September 2015 with the attendance of the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. Yusuf Kala, the SDGs agenda call to eradicate poverty and hunger, improve health and education, protect the planet and strengthen peace and justice. There is also a specific goal, which tackles widening inequalities, a challenge which many middle-income countries such as Indonesia are facing.

In Indonesia, UNDP stands ready to translate these global goals to the national and local context in partnership with the central Government, in particular Bappenas, and other stakeholders including local governments, CSOs, private sector, philanthropy and academics, In 2016, we are planning to work with a pilot province to develop institutional framework for SDGs implementation and to formulate a provincial action plan to fill the gap between the existing conditions and SDGs targets.

For the years to come and in support to the Nawacita and the RPJMN, UNDP will be working with Indonesian government in reducing poverty and inequalities, mitigating and adapting to climate change, consolidating democracy and access to justice and supporting Indonesia’s engagement in global issues and South-South Cooperation. 

Highlighting the urgency of the SDGs, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said last year "Ours is the last generation which can head off the worst effects of climate change, and the first generation with the wealth and knowledge to eradicate poverty". In this marathon, it’s important that we all have the commitment and the consistency to reach the finish line. 

It may be a long race but the stakes are clear; it’s only together that we can reach the finish line with no one left behind.

By Douglas Broderick, UNDP Indonesia Resident Representative and Christophe Bahuet UNDP Indonesia Country Director

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Indonesia 
Go to UNDP Global