Nawa Cita Begins With Children


Budi, a Jakarta boy born today in the Bantar Gebang slum could reach age 5 with a healthy start in life in 2020 and be a successful high school student by 2030. Grace, a young girl from rural Papua turning 13 today and coming of age with a high school diploma in 2020 could head a green technology start-up by 2030 on her way to becoming one of the future leaders of her country.

Today we must shift […] from consumption to investment: Investment in our infrastructure, investment in our industry, but most importantly investment in our human capital, the most precious resource of the 21st century

President Joko Widodo


This can be the future of a growing number of children in a prosperous 2030 high-income Indonesia. This reality can endow Indonesia with its future entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, teachers, CEOs, religious leaders and social workers.

Based on current realities, the prospects of Budi and Grace could look radically different. Both born to poor parents, they have low chances of evading poverty. Budi faces one chance in 25 to die before age 5, and one chance in 3 to be stunted in his first days of life affecting his brain capacity, future skills and earning prospects. Grace has one chance in 6 to be married before 18 to then drop out of school and become a teen-mom. Both children’s exposure to child poverty, malnutrition, poor health, low quality education, and violence have costs to their bodies, brains, and to Indonesia’s economy now and in the future. In a context of increasing inequalities, all these drivers also increase the risks of disenfranchisement and social detachment that could threaten the stability of the Indonesian society.

Which path Budi and Grace find themselves on will depend on Indonesia’s ability to transform the vicious cycle of deprivation into a virtuous circle of prosperity. This is achievable, but requires changing mindsets to see children, their rights and well-being, as foundational to the advance of Indonesia. It requires investing in Indonesia’s most deprived children as a pathway to sustained economic growth and prosperity for the road to 2030.

The political commitment to invest in a better future for children is sealed in the country’s 2015-19 medium term development plan.[2] This plan also integrates the new international goals for the people and the planet, the sustainable development goals (SDGs), that all countries will soon pledge to achieve by 2030. And the plan captures the President’s vision for change : Nawa Cita …

This document shows how investing in Indonesia’s children contributes to theNawa Cita and presents a 9-point roadmap to turn existing commitments into a better future for all children in Indonesia. This roadmap has a level of ambition aligned with the high-income country status Indonesia will have in 2030. It goes above and beyond international targets such as the SDGs. It makes the most marginalized visible as a first step towards inclusivity. Its level of ambition is in synch with the aspiration to lift and sustain national prosperity.

Today Indonesia is the poster child of rapid economic development. With the 16th largest economy in the world and the lowest level of economic volatility of all richest countries,[3] today’s prospects are bright. But with the second highest number of people without sanitation facilities and the fifth highest number of stunted children in the world, these prospects may not materialize.

An ambitious children agenda offers an opportunity for Indonesia to level up its economic and social indicators simultaneously while contributing to regional and global progress.

When leaders formally adopt the SDGs at the September 2015 United Nations General Assembly, Indonesia could be the first country whose national development plan incorporates the new SDG targets with a bold agenda for children at its core.

When ASEAN countries join the new Economic Community in December 2015, they will face the unique situation of designing national strategies to reach the SDGs in a context of greater economic integration. Indonesia could become the country that leads not only by the weight of its economy, the size of its population and the clout of its moderate Muslim influence, but also by the quality of its child indicators, the ultimate measure of a prosperous society.

When the world takes stock of progress towards the SDGs in 2030, Indonesia’s advances will be significant. With the growth of its population and its economy, Indonesia’s progress will also move the needle regionally and globally. Equipped with an ambitious roadmap for children, Indonesia’s footprint will matter for global progress towards international goals and could position Indonesia as the global powerhouse for change China was for the MDGs.

© 2016,

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