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Down to Earth IFIs Factsheet Series

No 36, October 2004

IFIs in Indonesia

This will be the last IFI factsheet for the time being. DTE is undertaking a review of its IFIs work to decide how to direct staff time and resources most effectively.

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The Millennium Development Goals

What are the Millennium Development Goals?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are a series of goals agreed by UN member states at the high-level Millennium Summit in September 2000. The MDGs represent a commitment by the international community to development which promotes human development as the key to sustaining social and economic progress and which recognises the importance of creating and developing global cooperation and global partnership.

The MDGs encourage governments, donor agencies and civil society groups to re-orientate their efforts towards attaining specific development goals within a specified time frame as defined within eight main development categories:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
    Goal for 2015:
    Reduce by half the number of people whose income is less than USD 1.00 per day and who suffer from hunger.

  2. Achieve universal primary education
    Goal for 2015:
    Ensure that all boys and girls complete a full course of primary schooling.

  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
    Goals for 2005 and 2015:
    Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015

  4. Reduce child mortality rates
    Goal for 2015:
    Reduce by two thirds the mortality rate among children under five.

  5. Improve maternal health
    Goal for 2015:
    Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio.

  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
    Goal for 2015:
    Stop and begin to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

  7. Ensure Environmental Sustainability
    • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
    • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
    Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020.

  8. Develop a global partnership for development
    • Develop further an open trading and financial system that is rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory. Includes a commitment to good governance, development and poverty reduction-nationally and internationally.
    • Address the least developed countries' special needs. This includes tariff- and quota-free access for their exports; enhanced debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries; cancellation of official bilateral debt; and more generous official development assistance for countries committed to poverty reduction.
    • Address the special needs of landlocked and small island developing States.
    • Deal comprehensively with developing countries' debt problems through national and international measures to make debt sustainable in the long term.
    • In cooperation with the developing countries, develop decent and productive work for youth.
    • In cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, provide access to affordable essential drugs in developing countries.
    • In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies-especially information and communications technologies.

The Background

These goals were first set out by international conferences and summits held in the 1990s. They were later compiled and became known as the International Development Goals.

In September 2000, 189 members states of the UN, including Indonesia, signed the Millennium Declaration at the Millennium Summit. The main challenge identified was how to ensure that globalisation be "inclusive and equal."

At the heart of the Millennium Declaration are the eight main goals listed above. In addition to these eight goals, the Millennium Declaration also refers to other important issues such as peace, security and disarmament, human rights, democracy and good governance, special needs for Africa and strengthening the United Nations institutions. The values on which the Millennium Declaration is based include: freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility.

The Millennium Development Goals mandate was further strengthened at the G8 summit in Evian, France, at the end of 2003.

Institutional Arrangements for Attaining the MDGs

The UNDP, as part of the UN, acts both as liaison and coordinator of various national and global level initiatives to attain the MDGs. The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has appointed UNDP administrator Mark Malloch Brown (chair of the UN Development Group) as coordinator of the MDGs in the UN system. The UNDP has four main strategies for attaining the MDGs:

  1. Integrating the MDGs into all aspects of the UN system's work at the country level, including creating new guidelines for country assessments and national development frameworks;
  2. Assisting developing countries in preparing MDG reports that chart progress towards the goals, in cooperation with other UN agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, civil society and other partners;
  3. Supporting the Millennium Project, led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, and the Millennium Campaign to build global support for the goals;
  4. Supporting advocacy and awareness-raising efforts based on national strategies and national needs. Developed countries focus on trade, aid, technology and other support needed to reach the MDGs, while in developing countries, the aim is to build coalitions for action and help governments set priorities and use resources more effectively.

The eight Millennium Development Goals will be evaluated by the UN General Assembly in 2005. A number of NGOs associated with the UN will meet at the UN headquarters in New York between 8-10 September 2004 in order to discuss how best to support this process.

Criticism of the MDGs

The MDG programme is, of course, an ideal. Its implementation will face many obstacles in the field, and, in all likelihood, it will be difficult to meet the deadlines that have been set. Criticism of the MDGs is related to problems of dependence of some poorer countries on donor countries. Funding from the richer countries is usually accompanied by conditions which further burden the recipient country. Donor states often include their own hidden agenda that may be unrelated to the eradication of poverty and improvements in the standard of living, and relate instead to promoting economic growth. Economic growth in the short term often has little or no meaning to the poor. Instead, what is needed is a development model that is genuinely pro-poor.

The Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum, held in Bangkok from 6-8 October 2003, made a number of specific criticisms of the MDGs, including:

  1. The MDGs, in their vision, scope and direction, define poverty in narrow terms and ignore human rights.
  2. The MDGs do not re-evaluate analysis of institutional and policy change. Tying the MDGs to World Bank and IMF prescriptions is a mistake.
  3. The developed/industrial nations' attention and funding are diverted from poverty reduction activities. Funding is directed towards debt servicing and military spending.

Indonesian NGOs that signed this declaration include Solidaritas Perempuan, the Institute of Global Justice and the Indonesian Federation of Peasant Unions (FSPI).

Developments in attaining the MDGs

Even the World Bank and the IMF are doubtful that the targets will be met by 2015. Based on the World Bank's report, World Development Indicators 2004, and the IMF's Global Monitoring Report, the first goal - to reduce by half the number of people whose income is less than USD 1.00 per day - may well be attained. However, this is mainly due to economic development in East and South Asia, China and India in particular. The other seven goals will be very difficult to attain.

Industrialised nations have failed to fulfil their commitment to provide 0.7% of their GNP in official development assistance. If this continues, it will make it very difficult to attain the goals in almost 60 nations, particularly the lesser-developed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Meanwhile, around USD 87 billion has already been allocated for military expenses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2003 UNDP Human Development Report, Millennium Development Goals: A Compact among Nations to End Human Poverty, reports on the status of national efforts to attain the MDGs and discusses real changes in policies and budgetary commitment as well as resources needed to attain the goals. It also proposes a new action plan to attain the MDGs - the Millennium Development Compact. The report calls for cooperation between the developed and the poorer countries whereby the poorer states need to mobilise resources at national level and implement good governance in order to attain the MDGs. For their part, the rich countries must increase assistance and reduce the debt burden.

The Millennium Development Goals in Indonesia 1990-2002 (%)
Goal 19902002
Eradicate poverty and hunger:
- proportion of citizens living on USD 1 or under per day 20.67.2
- proportion of citizens consuming less than the nutritional minimum (2.100 Kcal/capita /day)69.564.6
Achieve universal primary education:
- proportion of class 1 (junior school - SD) that reach class 5 75.682.2
- proportion of class 1 students who graduate from junior school 62.074.4
Promote gender equality and women's empowerment:
- ratio of girls to boys at higher education85.192.8
- ratio of female literacy to male literacy (15-24 years)(15-24 tahun) SD 97.999.8
Reduce child mortality rates:
- death rates of under-5s (per 1000 live births)-46.0
- death rates of infants (per 1000 live births)-35.0
Improve maternal health:
- proportion of assistance in labour by trained health workers 40.7 68.4
- rates of contraception use by married women aged 15-49 years50.554.2
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases:
- rates of use of condom by married women aged 15-49 years 1.3 0.4
- recovery rates for tuberculosis 76-
Ensure environmental sustainability:
- proportion of citizens with access to appropriate sanitation facilities 30.9 63.5
- access to protected and sustainable potable water -50.0
Develop a global partnership for development
- ?

Although there has been improvement in several areas as indicated above, Indonesian planning and development minister, Kwik Kian Gie, has stated that he believes the development process has stagnated. According to Kwik, this is reflected in the sluggish attempts to eradicate corruption, collusion and nepotism. There are also low levels of prosperity and economic motivation. Kwik has also criticised the IFIs for hampering the development of poor countries rather than assisting them. In addition, provincial level surveys are not able to provide accurate figures concerning the actual number of citizens living below the poverty line.

The UN Ambassador to the Asia Pacific region, Erna Witoelar, agrees. She believes that local-level efforts at poverty eradication are much more effective than national-level efforts that rely on loans from the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank. Erna thinks that levels of inequality between the regions are still high and that damage to the environment is on the increase.

A number of civil society organizations, including INFID, have questioned why the Indonesian government did not include the eighth MDG - Develop a global partnership for development - in its 2003 Millennium Development Report. INFID Executive Secretary, Binny Buchori, expressed surprise that the government has did not include this, despite the fact that this goal is crucial for efforts to eradicate poverty because it concerns the realities of external debt, global co-operation and the politics of international trade.

The government responded by underlining that the eighth goal is the responsibility of the developed nations only. Indonesia, in its position as a developing nation, is only obliged to report on progress made in attaining the first seven MDGs, said the Director of Multilateral Funding at the National Development Board, Delthy S. Simatupang.


The MDGs should be viewed not only as goals that must be attained by developing nations, but also as obligations of the developed nations. The goals are ideals, which are meaningless unless the political constellation and power relations at global, national and local level are taken into account. The MDGs should act as a catalyst towards the creation of a concept and approach that is truly on the side of the poor.

References: Research concerning the Millennium Development Goals may be found at:

NGOs may take an active role in the monitoring progress in attaining the MDGs by contacting the following:

NGO Section
Department of Public Information
Room S-1070 L
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: (212) 963-6842
Fax: (212) 963-6914

Department of Public Information
Room L-1B-31 New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: (212) 963-7233; 963-7234; 963-7078
Fax: (212) 963-2819

The United Nations Department of Public Information / Non-Governmental Organizations Section (DPI/NGO) held its 57th annual meeting under the theme "Millennium Development Goals: Civil Society Takes Action" between 8-10 September 2004. This conference aimed to encourage public concern and support of the MDGs via 3000 NGOs that work directly with the UN secretariat. Information concerning this conference may be found at:
List of the participants of the NGO conference
World Development Indicators 2004 and the Global Monitoring

Millennium Development Goals: A Compact among Nations to End Human Poverty can be found at:

Indonesia's 2004 progress report on the MDGs is at

This IFI factsheet is published by Down to Earth, the International Campaign for Ecological Justice in Indonesia.

Office: 59 Athenlay Rd, London SE15 3EN, England, email:
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