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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

06 December 2021


Excellency Mr. Suharso Monoarfa, Minister of National Development Planning,

Excellencies, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join this Forum with the theme “Localizing SDGs – Indonesia’s experience.”

In our rapidly urbanizing region, where by 2050 there will be a projected additional 1 billion urban residents, localizing SDGs is critical if we are to realize the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Analyses in ESCAP’s 2021 SDG Progress Report found that-- even before the pandemic-- our region was not on track to achieve any of the SDGs by 2030 and that we have actually regressed on Goals related to climate action and life below water, Goals that are critical to our region’s livelihoods and economies.  

Furthermore, the recent finding of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasized that climate change is “widespread, rapid and intensifying, and some trends are now irreversible.” It reflects the reality we see in the Asia-Pacific region, which is already one of the most vulnerable to climate change and disasters.

The pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, which are especially evident in our urban areas.

We have seen inequalities grow and social systems strained, economies diminished, environmental flaws exposed and long-standing infrastructure needs highlighted. 

Recovery strategies must address all these issues if we are to build back better, with the SDGs being the framework for inclusive, resilient and sustainable green-blue recoveries.

At this early stage in the Decade of Action, to deliver the SDGs, we must urgently accelerate actions, and we know that roughly two-thirds of the targets in the goals require either local action or engagement with local actors.

Post-pandemic recovery efforts and effective climate action will require whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches. National and local policies should be aligned to ensure progress towards the SDGs and to realize ambitious climate action.

Indonesia has been a leader in highlighting the role of cities in creating a more sustainable future and sharing its experiences with cities across the world. Indonesia was one of the leaders in the global commemoration of World Cities Day in October, highlighting the theme of Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience.

The Voluntary Local Review (VLR) is an effective tool that allows communities, in coordination with the national government, to engage all stakeholders, to consider the SDGs in their local contexts, build data and monitor progress using local indicators. VLRs help to make national reporting more robust and reflect local efforts more visibly.

Last year, Surabaya was the Global Host of World Habitat Day, and this year is developing Indonesia’s first VLR, utilizing regional guidelines developed by ESCAP. The VLR was highlighted in Indonesia’s Voluntary National Review of the country’s progress against the SDGs.

Some of Indonesia’s local efforts are addressing some of the common challenges facing cities.

The city of Bandung has shared with cities across the region its efforts to develop an integrated public transport system. Surabaya is deploying digital tools to manage plastic pollution. Jambi City and Malang Regency have developed integrated resource recovery centres to better manage local solid waste.

These urban solutions touch on multiple SDGs, and cities are realizing the multiple co-benefits, from poverty reduction and employment opportunities to environmental protection and energy efficiency.

Given the region’s urban growth projections and an associated increase in energy demand, as well as existing and future climate vulnerabilities, national and local authorities must work in concert to accelerate climate actions.

First, a transition to renewable energy is essential and cities can help lead the way in planning their urban growth through clean and low-carbon development.

There are clear opportunities for investments in green energy (geothermal and solar) and green transport, including electric vehicles.

Secondly, cities must be full partners in raising the ambition and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions. Many of the actions necessary to achieve national strategies will be implemented at the local level.

Leveraging many of the urban solutions and continuing to develop innovations at city levels, as Indonesia has done, not only contributes to climate action but ensures that recovery efforts build resilience and reduce future risks.

Subnational GHG emission registries and emission reduction plans at the local level, financing local climate actions and building capacities at the subnational level to help implement NDC actions are just a few of the key elements to accelerating actions.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

This forum comes at an opportune time.

Following COP26 and in this Decade of Action, we know that local engagement is a critical factor to realizing the aspirations of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Indonesia has solutions to share and opportunities to continue to learn from others.

We must continue to work together to address our global and regional challenges. ESCAP is pleased to work with national governments and local communities to develop and deploy innovative solutions and share experiences across the region.

I wish you a very successful forum.

Thank you very much.

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