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Message from WRI Indonesia Director

Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development in Indonesia

Located at the strategic nexus between Pacific and Indian oceans under the nurturing tropical climate, Indonesia is a rich archipelago with abundance of natural resources —ranging from millions of hectares of rainforest canopies hosting exotic plant and animal species, to that of commodity plantations that supply world demands. Its geographical fortuity has blessed the country with various marine and fishery opportunities, mineral reservoirs, livestocks, as well as energy source potentials.

While allowing Indonesia to tremendously boost its economic growth, a business model that is heavily reliant on natural resources will threaten the existence of those resources. A visionary leadership that aims not only for short-term benefits, but also sustainable development is required. The World Resources Institute Indonesia (WRI Indonesia) is established to be part of various efforts to achieve this challenge.

WRI Indonesia, a legal entity (“yayasan”) under the Indonesian law, is an independent research organization that is dedicated to contributing to the socioeconomic development of Indonesia in an equitable and sustainable way. WRI Indonesia determines its own research, portfolio and activities, that are designed to fully support the Indonesian government’s sustainable development agenda through various research, innovative technology and recommendation for evidence-based policies. We work with government and business leaders from different sectors to turn big ideas into action, that ultimately would create a balance between economic opportunities, environmental soundness, and human well-being.

Such mission is not impossible, given how Indonesia’s political leaders have set on a bold decision to move towards a greener development pathway. In 2009, the then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono announced Indonesia’s 26% emission reduction target by 2020 against its business-as-usual level, coupled with a 7% economic growth target. These numbers were met by a unique emission profile where 79% of the greenhouse gas emitted by Indonesia was coming from land-use change, deforestation, as well as peat degradation. The emission profile clearly shows Indonesia’s development characteristic that puts a lot of pressure on land-based economic sectors.

End of 2014 marks the entrance for Indonesia toward an exciting new phase when President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was sworn-in as the leader of the world’s 3rd largest democracy. Well known for his people-centric approach, Jokowi won the election by emphasizing more on inward-looking vision for Indonesia. Among his promises are heading towards food and energy sovereignty, boosting Indonesia’s investment on infrastructure, and develop a strong maritime doctrine—both for strategic security and economic reason. A glimpse at Indonesia’s new strategic direction will expose the pragmatism of the new administration to deliver its national targets and provides well-being for the people.

As an independent legal entity, WRI Indonesia is well-positioned to support the current government to implement its ambitious development targets. The pragmatism and swiftness of Jokowi’s government needs to be accompanied with sound environmental and social safeguards in order to ensure the sustainability and inclusiveness of its growth. The in-house WRI Indonesia expertise with the support of WRI’s global network are all committed to provide technical support, produce objective policy analysis, as well as facilitate key in-country stakeholders to meet the challenges of a sustainable and equitable Indonesia.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Nirarta Samadhi
WRI Indonesia Director

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