Jakarta, May 20th From students to civil servants, around 800 people from around Indonesia gathered online this week during the first learning session on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by the SDG Academy, a brainchild of the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), UNDP Indonesia and the Tanoto Foundation.

The webinar featured lesson learnt from East Java Vice Governor, Dr. Emil Dardak and Rector of Padjajaran University, Prof. Dr. Rina Indiastuti.

The online training came at opportune time as Indonesia – along with the rest of the world - marks five years into the implementation of the SDGs. Indonesia has shown progress on many fronts – the endorsement of the Presidential Decree on SDGs Implementation, establishment of an SDGs Coordination Team and integration of SDGs into the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN 2020-2024). Yet, with only ten years remaining to achieve the ambitious Global Goals that aim to create a future where no one is left behind, it is clear more action is needed.

Spread into 34 provinces and 514 districts/municipalities, Indonesia operates under a regional autonomy policy – making local governance the key to achieving the SDGs. However, disparities in capacities between development actors have been among the most significant challenges in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs.

The Academy was set up last October mainly to respond to the disparity of capacity. It aims to increase the capacity of and narrow the gap between regions in Indonesia. It focuses on governance and policy transformation, innovative solutions, and SDGs monitoring and reporting.

The webinar featured representatives from local institutions who shared their experience in dealing with the fallout from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic; they discussed how capacity improvement is important to building resilience.

During the webinar, East Java Vice Governor Mr, Dardak, discussed the different affects of the crisis on various groups of people and noted the importance of local government in delivering public service.

He further noted that the “fiscal tsunami” experienced by most provincial governments today has caused a monumental shift in civil servants’ roles. He suggested that any capacity improvement efforts for local government should emphasize 1) coaching civil servants to independently deliver public service and rely less on consultants, and 2) the use of technology to facilitate capacity building of civil servants at district levels.

On a similar note, Rector of Padjajaran University, Prof. Dr. Rina Indiastuti, proposed that capacity improvement to accelerate SDGs attainment should involve education, research-based science and technology, social capital, creativity and innovation.

Strong improvement in capacity, particularly those of local stakeholders, will go a long way in ensuring Indonesia’s readiness to navigate the so-called new normal. The crisis has hurt Indonesia’s efforts towards speeding up the achievement of SDGs during the Decade of Action. The Academy will bridge the current learning gap, through providing access to knowledge, tools, and guidance to boost resilience of communities to future shocks.

The SDG Academy Indonesia has three main programs: SDG Mobile Learning, SDG Leadership Certification, and SDG Study Abroad, covering the 4 essential dimensions of capacity: knowledge, characters, skill and values. The Academy will develop learning materials relevant to the current crisis and make them accessible to learners free of cost until the end of the year.

There has never been a better time to rise up to make a difference in this moment of crisis.Perhaps this is the silver lining, a time for communities to work together. The SDG Academy Indonesia offers a space to learn and collaborate, to create a more impactful recovery and to support the country in accelerating sustainable solutions towards the achievement of the SDGs.

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Writing by Ainul Djula

Edited by Ranjit Jose and Tomi Soetjipto

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