International Development Law Organization

Putting children’s voices at the heart of decision-making in Indonesia

12 Aug 2019

Lenny N. Rosalin is the Deputy Minister for Child Growth and Development at the Indonesia’s Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection. Since she joined the Ministry in 2007, she worked on various portfolios including violence against women, ‘child-friendly cities’ and protection of women laborers. She is now in charge of child growth and development.

IDLO spoke with Lenny N. Rosalin in the margins of the Global Conference on SDG 16 to discuss how the voices of children can be integrated in decision-making and how an inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach is the only way forward to realize justice, peace and sustainable development.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How is Indonesia implementing SDG 16?

In the government of Indonesia, we have already integrated SDG 16 and other SDGs into our national development plans: in our five-year national development plans but also in our annual development plans. In this process, we have a multi-stakeholder approach, involving as many stakeholders as possible such as the business community, NGOs, academics, women, children and even the media.

Being responsible for children’s development, I can describe how we involve children not only in the planning process but also in the implementation. In this participatory process, we involve children from the village level to the national level. Thus, we are able to get children’s voices and integrate them as their input into our plans. This is directly in line with SDG 16’s requirements to improve participation and inclusion. Not only women but also children and of course, people with disabilities.

Is there another innovation you consider worthwhile sharing?

An innovation related to SDGs that I would like to mention is the initiative called Child-Friendly Indonesia 2030. 2030 is a reference to the 2030 Agenda and a timeline for us to contribute to making the world more child-friendly. In this strategy, we have identified and integrated five target groups that are, according to us, very critical. There are: children themselves as the principal actors; families; schools; factors to create an enabling environment; and regional targets.

For children, our first target, we have established Children’s Forums.

For families, the second target, we have innovated by establishing Family Learning Centers where we explain to families how to nurse children, how to prevent violence, and where they can access information for children and families.

For the third target, the schools, we are developing child-friendly schools in which we integrate the concepts of “safe schools” and “healthy food” as well as “safe routes to and from school”. Our actions also aim to improve the knowledge of children and teachers in the field of climate change.

For the fourth target, the enabling environment, we have been working a lot with religious and community leaders, as well as with children and women, but also with businesses. We have created the Indonesian Association of Child-Friendly Companies which was rewarded in 2013 with the UN Global Compact Award as being the first one in the world. We believe that the role of companies is to create a link between children rights and business principles through a human-based approach. So, we bring businesses into all the programs that contribute to the Child-Friendly Indonesia 2030 initiative whose targets and indicators are all related to SDG 16. This is a real integrated program.

For the fifth and last target, related to government, we work at different levels of administration, from the national level to the regional level. At the regional level, we have what we call the Innovation Integrated Child Mechanism by which problems involving children can be reported and resolved locally. We work at a grassroots level, with local community leaders to help prevent, report and solve children matters without having to go directly to the city, the province or even the national level. If a problem cannot be solved at the village or district level, then it can move up to the higher level. Children’s problems are thus solved at the most appropriate and efficient government level.

Well, with these five strategic pillars that we use and with SDG16 indicators and assessments, we hope that our Child-Friendly Indonesia 2030 initiative can be achieved. We are committed to a truly multi-stakeholder and participatory approach.

What is your message for achieving SDG 16?

I think that the key to achieving SDG 16 around the world is to develop multi-stakeholder actions. All of us need to make sure that “no one is left behind” is not just a catch line but that it is really integrated into policies and programs not only at a national level but also at a local level.

The role of businesses, NGOs, academics is also very critical, therefore, we need to constantly seek their participation and involvement. We will only achieve SDG 16 together.

My responsibility is linked to child development. In Indonesia, a third of our population is under 16 years old which represents approximately 81 million people. So imagine if we are able to inform this future generation at an early age, if we are able to put them at the heart of the decision-making process, once they become adults, they will be able to implement the decisions they helped to shape.