INDONESIA PROJECT NEWS No. 10 July-December 2010

"2010 Indonesia Update"

William Farmer (former Ambassador to Indonesia, 2005–2010) delivering the Update 2010 Opening Address. L-R: Chris Manning, Sudarno Sumarto, Bill Farmer, Tom Kompas.

The Highlights on the Indonesia Project calendar for the period July–December 2010 were the annual Indonesia Update Conference on the topic Employment, Living Standards and Poverty in Contemporary Indonesia, followed by a Mini-Update in collaboration with the Lowy Institute in Sydney on Monday September 28 immediately after the main Update in Canberra, and a roundtable meeting with Indonesia’s Minister for Trade, H. E. Professor Mari Pangestu on November 23.

The 2010 Indonesia Update Conference, now in its 28th year, on the topic of Employment, Living Standards and Poverty in Contemporary Indonesia was held at the Australian National University on 24–25 September. Convened by Chris Manning (Indonesia Project, ANU) and Sudarno Sumarto (SMERU Research Institute, Jakarta), the conference attracted around 300 participants from academia, government, NGOs and the business community, including many from Indonesia. The conference aimed to assess how Indonesia has travelled in regard to social policies and poverty alleviation since the Asian Financial Crisis, and especially under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). The conference papers will also seek to identify possible new directions for poverty alleviation policies in SBY’s second term of government.

Both academics and policy makers from Indonesia, Australia and elsewhere contributed to the conference. Speakers included established and early-career staff and graduates from Australian, Indonesian and other universities, staff of international agencies, NGOs and research institutions, and government and aid officials.

The keynote address was delivered by Lant Pritchett (Harvard University) who looked at Indonesia’s growth, governance and poverty performance in the democratic post-Soeharto era compared with previously.

Lant Pritchett delivering the Keynote address

Apart from the standard political and economic updates given by Thee Kian Wie and Siwage Dharma Negara, and Dirk Tomsa respectively, six broad topics were covered: employment, migration and microenterprises; education and health; health care for the poor; trends in poverty and social protection; government interventions; and the politics of poverty.

A report by Karina Bontes Forward is available in the latest issue of the BIES.

At the roundtable meeting on November 23 Indonesia’s Minister for Trade, H. E. Professor Mari Pangestu gave a wide ranging and frank account of Indonesia’s current economic situation and challenges. She also discussed developments in international economic cooperation through various regional and global fora, including recent meetings at APEC and the G-20. Professor Pangestu fielded a lively set of questions from the audience on these topics. A summary of the event is available on the Project Blog.

Our regular Core Activities include the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES), the Indonesia Study Group seminars and The Jakarta Seminar Series. Click on the links for summaries of the contents of the August and December issues of the BIES. Both issues are available online.

The Indonesia Study Group (ISG) program remains a dynamic on-campus activity with 20–30 people regularly attending the fortnightly and sometimes weekly seminar presentations and wide ranging discussions. While sessions tend to focus on political and economic issues, a wide range of other topics were the subject of a number of ISG meetings in the second half of 2010, including religion, foreign policy, demography and business. Besides academics and students, seminars continued to be attended by government officials from AusAID, DFAT and ONA, the Indonesian Embassy, as well as by members of the general public.

Podcasts are available for most of the talks. See the Indonesia Project website for the full list. The last three ISG addresses for 2010 were given by:

• Teguh Surya, S. Muliadi, Arie Rompas (Representatives from WALHI – Indonesian Evnironmental Forum (Friends of the Earth Indonesia), ARPAG – Aliansi Rakyat Pengelola Gambut (Alliance of Peatland Users), Central Kalimantan)
Implications of illegal logging for deforestation and forest degradation

• Chris Manning (Indonesia Project, The Arndt Corden Division of Economics, ANU)
A Dramatic Turnaround in Indonesia’s Job Situation: What’s Going On?

• Anne Booth (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
Varieties of Exploitation and their Consequences: Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo Compared

In the previous newsletter, we mentioned the two Jakarta Seminar Series initiated by Budy Resosudarmo in March 2010 in collaboration with the Institute for Economic and Social Research (LPEM) of the University of Indonesia. The series are Kelompok Diskusi Sore HariLPEM (Afternoon Discussion Group – LPEM) and Seminar Ekonomi Pembangunan – LPEM (Development Economic Seminar – LPEM) in Jakarta. Both seminars are held at LPEM office in Jakarta.

In the period July–December, Kelompok Diskusi Sore Hari – LPEM has held 11 discussions with topics ranging from economic and political developments in Indonesia, climate change, free trade agreement, to monetary policy, decentralisation and investment climate. Discussants were academics from various research institutes in Indonesia, the ANU, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and private enterprise. Seminar Ekonomi Pembangunan – LPEM also held 11 seminars during this period. Presenters in these economic development seminars were researchers and academics from the University of Antwerp, the National University of Singapore, Bappenas, the Indonesian Bureau of Statistics (BPS), the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies GRIPS, Japan), the World Vegetable Centre, the University of Western Australia, and the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE/JETRO ).

Detailed agenda of these two group discussions are available on the website as well as the full seminar paper for most of them.

Jakarta Seminars

Audience attending one the Jakarta seminars

Project staff participated in two workshops with AusAID on selected issues in Indonesian development. In the first, Mark Baird (consultant) was invited to discuss issues of ‘connectivity’ to promote economic and social development (July 2010). In September, a workshop on poverty issues and the Australian Aid program involved a panel of experts who were visiting Canberra for the Indonesia Update program. Dr. Sudarno Sumarto (TNP2K – the Poverty Coordination Facility), Dr. Asep Suryahadi (SMERU) and Dr. Vivi Alatas (Poverty Program, World Bank, Jakarta) responded to a series of discussion points posed by AusAID staff from Canberra and Jakarta (the latter via video link up) on Indonesia’s poverty program, and the present and potential role of AusAID.


Sisira Jayasuriya and Peter McCawley, The Asian Tsunami: Aid and Reconstruction after a Disaster, Cheltenham UK and Northampton MA USA: Edward Elgar, 2010.

This new book examines the delivery of both international and local assistance after the Asian tsunami in December 2004 which took almost 230,000 lives. The most important lesson is the need to ‘go local’ in building up resilience at the grass roots level in poor countries in Asia. Other lessons include the need for better cooperation between the international community and local and national organisations as well as the need to ensure that adequate funding is provided. The analysis, which looks at the delivery of aid in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, draws on the views of local contributors from the countries most affected by the disaster.

Five visitors interacted with staff of the Project and School. Mark Baird (Independent consultant, ex World Bank Director of the Jakarta Office) visited in July 2010 and attended a Policy Dialogue meeting with AusAID and a briefing with the Office of National Assessment. Russell Toth (Cornell University) gave a PhD seminar on small scale credit in Indonesia. Thee Kian Wie (LIPI, Jakarta) worked on the Survey for the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, gave the Economics Update at the Indonesia Update Conference with Siwage Dharma Negara. He also presented an Indonesia Study Group talk on “Personal Recollections of Indonesia’s First two decades of Independence: The Issue of Changing Identity”. Sudarno Sumarto (SMERU Research Institute) co-convened the Indonesia Update Conference 2010 with Chris Manning. Haryo Aswicahyono also attended the Indonesia Update and spent time in Canberra working on a paper with Hal Hill (in addition to catching with some friendly possums he had visited in earlier times!).

Noteworthy Upcoming Events include:

Update 2011: Emeritus Professor Anthony Reid and Michael O’Shannassy will be the convenors of the 2011 Indonesia Update: Indonesia and the World. The Update will be conducted on 30 September – 1 October 2011.

Sadli Lecture: Professors Robert Lipsey and Fredrik Sjoholm are expected to give the 2011 Sadli Lecture.

Mini-Update and Book Launching: It is anticipated that the Update book from the 2010 conference will be launched at a Mini-Update conference in Jakarta in April-May.

Contact Details:

Indonesia Project
Arndt-Corden Division of Economics, RSPAS
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200

T: +61 2 6125 3794
F: +61 2 6125 3700

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The Indonesia Project wishes to thank ANU and AusAID for their substantial and continuing support.

All underlined items are live links. Please click on the link to read a more detailed article on the topic. Please read the previous issues of the Indonesia Project Newsletter here.