Can Civil Servants Live Up to Indonesia's Green Growth Ambitions?

The Indonesian government draws best practices in green growth from its Mexican counterpart. (Antara Photo/Rivan Awal Lingga)

By : Adi Suryanto | on 3:01 PM August 30, 2018
Category : Opinion, Commentary

The Indonesian government draws best practices in green growth from its Mexican counterpart. As the world's fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases and largest contributor of forest-based emissions, Indonesia's commitment toward effective climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts is of global significance.

Indonesia ratified the Paris Agreement in October 2016 and pledged to reduce its emissions by at least 29 percent by 2030 through its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). These commitments have also been integrated into the National Medium-Term Development Plan (Rencana Pembangunan Jangka Menengah Nasional/RPJMN).

Indonesia's commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the NDC is key especially with around 10 percent of Indonesia's population still in poverty. To ensure robust yet sustainable economic development, our administration is moving towards green growth, which predicates economic development in an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive way.

To equip civil servants with the necessary skills, the National Institute of Public Administration (Lembaga Administrasi Negara/LAN), supported by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), launched the "Competency Development System for Civil Servants on Green Growth," consisting of green growth curricula for technical and functional training for all levels of national and local government officials supplemented by development of green growth e-learning aimed to accelerate green growth knowledge transfer across the archipelago.

At the start of these developments, my colleagues and I met with our counterparts from the Mexican Federal and State Governments in April to exchange knowledge and learn about their best practices, as they have made significant progress in greening their growth in their part of the Pacific.

We have similarities economically even culturally; we are both growing in international influence as members of the Group of 20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and MIKTA partnership (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia). We are, respectively, the 16th and 15th largest economies globally and, according to reliable forecasts, will be the fourth and seventh largest economies in purchasing power parity terms by 2030. Incidentally, Indonesia and Mexico also celebrated 65 years of bilateral relations this April.

My good colleague, H.E. Armando G. Alvarez, Mexican ambassador to Indonesia, shared the concern that both countries are very vulnerable to climate change. His Excellency notes that as countries with similar economic and social challenges, we have a great deal of opportunities for cooperation and learning from each other's best practices to accelerate green growth, including in the agriculture, urban development, forestry, fisheries and transportation sectors.

Within the past four decades, Mexico has invested in and fostered green growth at institutional and regulatory scales. The Mexican government has ratified more than 20 federal environmental and natural resources laws, allocated 2 percent of its gross domestic product to environmental protection at the federal level and established an environmental ministry with a support base of 16,000 employees, among others.

The success of the Mexican government toward greener development provides our administration with an example of how we can improve our own policy instruments. Social inclusion, germinating ideas and best practices, are central to green growth. By applying green growth, the government is forced not only to take actions on its own, but through close cooperation with its citizens and, more importantly, civil society.

At a local level, the case of Mexico City's Metrobus was clear evidence for our delegation that green growth solutions can also be integrated into existing systems, without compromising efficiency. With more than 1.4 million people commuting every day, it is the largest bus system in Latin America and has twice the size of Trans Jakarta's daily ridership. The Mexican program focused on technological and behavioral changes by replacing obsolete and polluting buses with higher capacity and lower emission ones, by educating individuals to use Metrobus instead of own vehicles, and by making the buses more inclusive and attractive for women and people with disabilities.

Jakarta may want to study Mexico City's Mobility Law and how it helped change its investment in infrastructure that prioritizes pedestrians, then cyclists, followed by public transportation. By shifting the behavior of residents to choose public transportation such as the Metrobus and bicycle sharing system Eco Bici, Mexico City successfully reduced carbon emissions by over 168,000 tons, raised the efficiency of public space, improved its air quality, enhanced public health and convenience, and reduced average time spent on the road by 40 percent.

Such lessons and best practices are valuable and practical knowledge. The National Institute for Public Administration's green growth curricula and training programs will include both national and international case studies and best practices to further support Indonesia's civil servants in adopting green approach in their daily work. The curricula will be completed in 2019, dissemination will start in 2020 and will be accelerated through an online learning system. Our goal is to equip as many Indonesian public servants as we can with green growth competencies to realize Indonesia's goal of strong, sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.

Adi Suryanto is head of the National Institute for Public Administration (Lembaga Administrasi Negara, LAN).

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