At a time when we’re increasingly connected through digital technology, could Indonesian youth, including the most marginalized, be even more connected to its elected leaders?

The latest edition of UNDP Indonesia’s SDGTalks looked at the innovative ways in galvanizing young people’s voices to improve the performance of Indonesia’s public services by reporting their concerns and grievances to the country’s main citizen reporting application, SP4N-LAPOR!.

With support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (KemenPAN-RB), the event featured speakers from the disabled communities and youth influencers.

In many ways, the SP4N-LAPOR! system draws from the experience of South Korea, which has successfully developed a system that allows citizens to report complaints to the government directly. Based on the 2020 United Nations E-Government Survey, through e-People, the public complaint system in South Korea ranks in the top three globally for the most effective e-governance. 12.3 million complaints have been reported and addressed. As a result, this public engagement helps to improve the public service in the country.

According to UNDP Indonesia Deputy Resident Representative, Ms. Sophie Kemkhadze, supporting SP4N-LAPOR! application is in line with UNDP’s core values which promotes innovation for SDGs.

“UNDP has a strong history of innovation and the world faces new challenges, UNDP has been tapping into the tools through which we approach these situations. We hope to expand our partnerships and our reach. SP4N-LAPOR! is one such example of our commitment towards this directive. The platform has allowed more people to access its services,” said Ms. Kemkhadze during her remarks.

KOICA Deputy Country Director Ms. Song Joo Kim said the success of the e-governance approach, noting, “SP4N-LAPOR! communication system is part of the approach for behavioral changes in the communities to actively report the public complaints. This is to address the challenges of inequalities and social injustice we face today.”

Representing KemenPANRB, Mr. Rosikin, who spoke on behalf of Mr. Yanuar Ahmad, KemenPANRB’s Deputy Assistant of National Public Service Information System, emphasized the importance of youth engagement. , “When young people are involved, it is likely to trigger a snowball effect for broader participation of the people in our communities. The government encourages our young people to deliver their public complaints as a check and balance on meeting the needs of our society,” he said.

The event exposed some of the top concerns among the young people, namely the unequal access to technology and the bureaucratic red tapes which drive young people away from making the report.

“The reluctance might come from the uncertainty of the report made at the grass-root level. Will it be addressed appropriately?”  said panelist Mr. Rodhi Mahfur, a wheelchair-bound artist and a human rights advocate. Mr. Mahfur also campaigns for the rights of people with disabilities through the Jakarta Barrier-Free Tourism community.

Another panelist, Ms. Faye Simanjuntak voiced her frustration in accessing information online.

“Creating awareness and increasing access are keys to deal with any information from the grass-roots level,” she said. “It is unfortunate that even in a big city like Jakarta, internet access is considered exclusive,” added Simandjuntak who has been named among the “30 under 30” most influential youth by Forbes Indonesia magazine.

Three other panelists also highlighted the main points on ensuring an inclusive public complaint system in Indonesia. Mr. Siprianus Bete Soro, Head of Democratic Governance & Poverty Reduction UNDP Indonesia talked about the importance of involving a multi-stakeholder approach to supporting SP4N-LAPOR, while Ms. Dea Paramita, Progam Manager from KOICA Indonesia emphasized that Indonesia can accelerate its progress today to handle the public complaint system. Ms. Monnica Amy Nabella, the Public Complaint Analyst Kemenpan-RB and LAPOR! Ambassador 2019 noted that the young generation has been part of the public complaint system in Indonesia.

At the end of the discussion, the panelists encouraged the audience to use the SP4N-LAPOR! Platform to report complaints, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform is available online via its website https://www.lapor.go.id/ web and through the mobile app.

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Written by Enggi Dewanti

Edited by Tomi Soetjipto and Ranjit Jose

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