SDG targets must not be lowered amid pandemic: Jokowi

Jakarta (ANTARA) – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has said the targets set under the sustainable development goals (SDGs) should not be lowered in the face of increasingly difficult challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This (COVID-19) challenge should not dampen our enthusiasm and should not lower our SDG targets. We have to find new ways, look for new breakthroughs, so that we can take a leap,” he said in his video remarks at the Annual Conference on Indonesia’s 2020 Sustainable Development Goals, which was organized virtually from Jakarta on Thursday.

There is no other way, he said adding, innovation to achieve the SDG targets must be continued.

Government ranks and other stakeholders must seek ways that are more effective and efficient and oriented towards optimal development results, he advised.

The President also urged the optimal use of science and technology. Researchers, academics, and practitioners are expected to continue to work together to achieve development results, he added.

“We must synergize the wealth of knowledge. It takes seriousness to share and synergize with each other. It takes a clear agenda in every forum like this with clear targets,” Jokowi remarked.

The Head of State asked the Minister for National Development Planning and head of Bappenas, Suharso Monoarfa, to prepare a sustainable national orchestration so that science and technology can be used optimally in policy-making and program implementation.

“I am waiting for all concrete recommendations from ladies and gentlemen that we can use as a reference to accelerate the achievement of the SDG targets,” he added.

There are 17 goals and 169 targets under the SDGs, which are expected to be achieved by 2030. SDGs comprise a global action plan, agreed upon by world leaders, including Indonesia, to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect the environment.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Indonesia country director, Christophe Bahuet, earlier emphasized the importance of using the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the baseline for Indonesia’s COVID-19 recovery.

“The pandemic and the new normal should make the SDGs more important,” he said, while advising Indonesia to pursue a “green” recovery, and to not return to business as usual upon recovering from COVID-19.

In the meantime, the Indonesian government has added Rp56.5 trillion to the economic recovery budget in the Government Work Plan (RKP) 2021 to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Minister of National Development Planning (PPN), Suharso Monoarfa.

The budget will be prioritized for the development of leading sectors such as tourism, industry and agriculture; infrastructure construction; and, improving human resource capacity, among other things.

The PPN Ministry/National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) has emphasized that the fiscal stimulus channeled to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic must also support sustainable, low-carbon development.

“Certainly, (it is important to see) how economic stimulus packages can be designed to trigger a greener economic growth in future,” the ministry’s director of environmental affairs, Medrilzam, remarked during a virtual seminar on sustainable development, held on May 28, 2020.

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