Mixed progress on MDGs

Indonesia is on track to achieve the goal of halving the number of citizens living in abject poverty and hunger by 2015, a joint government-UN report, Let's Speak Out for MDGs, stated.

But the report, detailing Indonesia's latest progress in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), revealed the country had made little progress in providing safe drinking water, reducing maternal mortality, improving child nutrition or tackling several environmental issues.

The 2008 report released on 29 October stated that the number of Indonesians living on less than US$1 per day had declined significantly, from 20.6 percent in 1990 to 15.4 percent this year, against 24.2 percent at the height of the economic crisis in 1997-1998.

The report stated, however, that 15.4 percent represented more than 34 million Indonesians categorised as poor. Based on recent trends, it should still be possible to reduce the poverty rate to 7.5 percent by 2015 but the report was compiled before the global economic crisis.

"This report shows good cause for optimism that many of the MDGs will be reached in Indonesia at the national level," El-Mostafa Benlamlih, UN Resident Coordinator for Indonesia, was quoted as saying in a statement.

"But the same cannot be said of many poorer provinces and districts which, by any measure, have remained behind," he stated.

Although the national poverty rate has decreased, local figures range widely from a 4.3 percent poverty rate in Jakarta to around 20 percent in Central Java, and almost 40 percent in Papua.

Abdurrahman Syebubakar, programme manager in the poverty reduction unit at the UN Development Program (UNDP) in Indonesia, said that despite progress, there had been disparities in achievements among the regions, with a significant number of districts and provinces in the outer islands unlikely to meet some of the goals.


Benlamlih said even in national aggregate terms, some of the targets such as maternal mortality rates and access to potable water "show very little progress".

School enrolment has risen to nearly 95 percent and primary schools have equal numbers of boys and girls, while in secondary schools there are more girls than boys, reflecting progress in efforts to promote gender equality, the report stated.

Photo: Dewi Kurniawati/IRIN
A Jakarta seminar for hairdressers to learn about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The report cited an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 5.6 percent per 100,000 nationally

The mortality rate for children under five has fallen to 44 per 1,000 live births, suggesting Indonesia will likely reach the 2015 target of 32 deaths or less per 1,000 live births.

The proportion of children immunised against measles has increased to 72 percent in infants and 76 percent among children 12 to 23 months old, but it needs to be much higher, the report stated.

The report also cited an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 5.6 percent per 100,000 nationally but at present there is no indication that the country is halting the spread of the syndrome.

About 2.5 percent of the population in the eastern Papua region are living with HIV and there could be 500,000, or even a million, people infected with HIV/AIDS by 2010 unless effective action is taken, it stated.

The number of mothers who die during childbirth remains high, at 307 per 100,000 live births, far from the target of 110 in 2015.

In 2006, only 57.2 percent of the population had access to safe drinking water. In the same year, the proportion of households with safe sanitation was 69.3 percent. Many of the systems are sub-standard, with septic tanks frequently leaking, contaminating ground water.

"Although they may be safer for the user of the toilet, they are very unsafe for water supplies," the report stated. "We may seem to be doing well but that's probably an illusion. We will need to invest more," it concluded.