DR. Makmur Sunusi
Director for Children Welfare Services – Ministry of Social Affairs
Forty Fourth Session of
The Commission for Social Development
On Agenda Item 3 A
Follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development and the
Twenty Fourth Special Session of the General Assembly
Priority Theme: Review of the First United Nations
Decade for the Eradication of Poverty
New York, 9 February 2006
First of all, on behalf of my delegation allow me to congratulate you and other members of the bureau on your election. My delegation wishes to reaffirm its full cooperation in the deliberation and work of the Commission. We also align our statement made by South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
We wish to thank the Secretary-General for the analytical approach to the report on the priority theme of this session particularly on his insightful observation in maintaining pro-poor growth. My delegation fully agrees with the recommendations of the report that rapid poverty reduction can only take place if we adopt and implement pro-growth, pro-employment and pro-poor policies.
Ultimately however, being pro-poor is not about raising incomes and consumption only. We must not lose sight of the fact that poverty is also characterized by inequality, exclusion and marginalization. Equal priority needs to also be given to investments that raise social development.
The Secretary-General also made further mention of the fact that national development strategies can only thrive when governments can make the necessary investments on pro-poor policies.
Obviously, such investments have to be done with the commitment of governments. Indonesia’s economic vision is in fact based on a triple track strategy of pro-growth, pro-employment and pro-poor. At the same time international support should be strengthened to galvanize national efforts. In other words, financing for development, debt relief, a rule-based trading system and the systemic imbalances in the international financial system are corrected and truly working to benefit the poor.
Furthermore, many of the investments that the Secretary-General has mentioned in his report such as child and maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS and agricultural development, have all been at the center of Indonesia’s development strategy.
The investment we have put into realizing our development strategy has shown positive results, although it has to be said that challenges still remain. We are still making the effort to overcome the deep blow to our economy caused by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.
If we look at the progress Indonesia has made in poverty reduction before the crisis we managed to steadily reduce in six years the total number of people living on less than US$ 1 a day from 27.2 million in 1990 to 22.5 million people in 1996.
Unfortunately, the crisis caused a rift in our progress doubling the number of poor. Nevertheless, with political and economic reforms since 1999, we have been able to reduce the number of poor steadily. In 1999, we had 48 million people under the poverty line. Five years later, in 2004, we managed to improve a total of 11.8 million people’s lives, reducing the number of poor to 36.2 million.
Even with the national proportion of poor people declining, the disparity among regions and the fulfillment of basic rights still exists. There is also a higher proportion of poor in rural areas compared to urban areas.
In mentioning our progress in poverty eradication, allow me to also briefly share with you Indonesia’s poverty reduction strategy papers (PRSP). The Indonesian government is targeting to reduce by half of the current figures the number of poor to 8.2 percent of the total population in 2009.
In reaching this target, the PRSP emphasizes on four important areas namely macro-economic management, basic rights, gender equality and regional development. In this connection, we have four medium term action plans implemented since 2004 and should be completed by 2009 including the Macro-economic Management Action Plan; the Basic Rights Fulfillment Action Plan; the Gender Justice and Equality Action Plan; and the Accelerated Regional Development Action Plan.
The most difficult problem in implementing the PRSP is maintaining macro-economic stability. The year 2005 indeed tested our resolve. We have been aiming at an average economic growth of 6.6 percent per year, which could decrease the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent. We closed the year not quite reaching these targets but we remain optimistic.
The rising oil crises combined with the aftermath of the tsunami and the looming avian flu pandemic has certainly affected our economic performance. The rapid rise in the price of crude oil posed a tremendous load on our national budget, a quarter of which was being used for fuel subsidies. We had to take the painstaking steps of reducing these subsidies so that financing could be channeled for education, health care units, roads and stimulating growth and productivity. We now have reallocated budgets that give us the room to invest in poverty reduction programs and raise the living standards of Indonesians. In 2006, we will be stepping up our health and education programs as well as continuing to work towards the achievement of the MDG targets.
Indonesia is determined to eradicate poverty. While it is true that every country must shape its own destiny, in our globalized world, our destinies are unavoidably entwined and so in the course of development, growth can only flourish in a global partnership for development.
As the President of Indonesia said during the UN Summit in September last year, he stressed that “We must form a global partnership for development. Financing for development must flow. Exports of developing countries must gain access to markets in a rules based international trading system.” At the same time, we developing countries must put our houses in order including achieving good governance, fighting corruption and carrying out development strategies.
Let us therefore put every effort to strengthen our partnerships and ensure that by 2015 and beyond, poverty eradication would not merely be a promise but a reality.
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
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