H.E. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa
Ambassador/Permanent Representative of
the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
in New York
Head of Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia
at the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement
on the Advancement of Women
(Guatemala City, 21 – 24 January 2009)
Allow me to express my delegation’s full appreciation to the Government and people of Guatemala for their hospitality since our arrival in this beautiful city. I should also like to acknowledge the substantial and excellent work of the NAM Senior Officials Meeting in preparing the Guatemala Declaration and Programme of Action that will be the outcome of this conference. Indonesia also continue to recognize the importance of The Putrajaya Declaration and Program of Action which we agreed upon at the First Ministerial Conference in 2005, as the basis for any further elaboration in our thinking and the means for follow-up action in the future.
The theme before us, “Advancement of Women towards the Achievement of the MDGs” is indeed timely and highly relevant. So far, significant progress has been made towards achieving the MDGs, but not all NAM members are fully on track to implement the goals. The need for swift action is compelling as indicated by current statistics revealing that women are more vulnerable to many severe social and economic constraints that prevent them from maximizing their full potential.
It is unfortunate that at present a number of crises have slowed down the global economy and seriously hamper efforts to achieve the MDGs and are impacting the lives of women. It is also unfortunate that terrible conflicts in some parts of the world, as was evident in the Gaza Strip recently, remain a hindrance to the attainment of the MDGs. Whilst commending the cessation of hostilities, Indonesia wishes to underscore the challenges that remain, including those related to the well-being of women and children in Gaza Strip.
Indonesia recognizes that much more can be done to achieve implementation of the MDGs. What is urgently needed is a conducive environment to facilitate and sustain the MDGs progress, in particular those related to women and girls. National governments must collaborate with civil society, the private sector, the United Nations system and other international organizations, to create an enabling environment as envisioned in the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action.
Realizing that women’s participation in the development of society is an important driving force to alleviate poverty, the Government of Indonesia has been focusing on reducing the percentage of the population barely subsisting on less than $1 per day. That figure fell from 20.60% in 1990 to 7.54% in 2006. One of the measures which have been adopted to reduce poverty is the National Program of Society for Self-empowerment (PNPM) aiming to increase the participation of women and men in poverty alleviation, through the utilization of local potentials and increased use of technology and innovation.
In the area of primary education, overall progress in terms of gender equality has been quite significant. However, the problem of illiteracy persists and affects twice as many women as men. One of the initiatives the Indonesian Government is using to counteract this and improve school enrollment is the School Operational Aid Program (BOS) which commits all students to nine years of compulsory primary school education.
Indonesia recognizes that gender inequality in the workplace also requires careful consideration. Female unemployment rates have been consistently higher than that of male and most women work in the informal sector without the benefit of social security and equal wages. To overcome the handicaps of the labor market, women have made themselves the dominant presence in the field of micro, small and medium enterprises.
They account for 60 percent of these businesses. The Government of Indonesia has been facilitating these women’s access to capital and financing through the implementation Women’s Economic Productivity Advancement Program (PPEP) which further promote women’s economic development.
In the field of health, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to promote the comprehensive health care of women, girls and children. To reduce child mortality, in 2005 the Indonesian Government established the Health Insurance for Poor Families (Askeskin), that allows the poor to obtain basic health services and certain referral services for free, including regular checkups for infants.
The Government of Indonesia also plans to launch the “Health Indonesia 2010 Program” with the main theme “Making Pregnancy Safe”, emphasizing on a systematic and integrated planning approach in medical interventions. Healthcare has also been enhanced through a simple social security system called the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (PKH), which provides cash transfers to the poorest families on condition that these families enroll their children in school. It also requires pregnant women to undergo prenatal supervision during their pregnancies.
Reducing the maternal mortality rate (AKI) and improving reproductive health services are other priorities as reflected in the National Midterm Development Plan (RPJM) of 2004-2009 as well as of 2010-2014. Yet, there is room for further progress in promoting well-balanced nutrition for pregnant women and enhancing men’s and society’s participation in making pregnancies safer.
On the issue of HIV/AIDS, national efforts emphasizes on prevention, provision of medication, surveillance, research and coordination of activities. The success of these activities depends on a network of existing institutions. As of November 2007, there were 296 Centers for HIV Voluntary Testing and Counseling, 153 referral hospitals for Anti-retroviral (ARV) medicines, 20 Communities Health Centers serving Integrated Management of Adult Illness, and 19 referral centers for preventing mother-to-child transmission.
Climate change and its effect on women is also being actively considered by the Government. Poor women are the ones mainly affected by this phenomenon and its resulting environmental degradation. Thus the ultimate national goal is environmental sustainability. In this connection, under the leadership of Indonesia’s First Lady, a special event focusing on Women as the Driving Force to Fight Climate Change was held in the margin of the UNFCCC-13 held in Bali in 2007.
Motivated by enlightened self-interest, NAM members should collaborate under the umbrella of South-South Cooperation to ensure the advancement of women and achieve gender equality towards the full realization of MDGs. At the national level, the internal machinery to assist women should be vastly improved and gender mainstreaming should be implemented in all aspects of national development.
Beyond sectoral concerns, Indonesia sees the need to enrich the advocacy process on the whole for and on behalf of women. In this regard, a number of strategic initiatives have been undertaken by Indonesia, namely:
Increasing the involvement of women in political processes and more public decision-making responsibilities
Strengthening the institutionalization and coordination of gender mainstreaming networks by providing support in planning, performance-based gender-responsive budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs, including the fulfillment of international commitments.
In addition, it is important to make certain that gender-related data and statistics are made available to determine key areas for action.
In conclusion, we recognize that the nature of the challenge to promote women’s advancement requires sustained and wide-ranging efforts well beyond 2015.
Despite the less favourable economic conditions at present, the developed countries must live up to their commitments, especially the provision of ODA, even as beneficiary states continue putting the policies and programs in place to remove the constraints adversely affecting women.
I thank you.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, New York
325 East 38th Street, New York, NY, 10016, USA
Tel: 1.212.972.8333, Fax: 1.212.972.9780 - www.indonesiamission-ny.org