New committee to help Yudhoyono with post-MDG aims

Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) -Indonesia is forming a committee to support President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in his duty as a cochair of the UN High Panel on the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG), an official says.

The committee would include the country's best MDG experts as well as officials related to post-2015 development, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of the Presidential Working Unit for Supervision and Management of Development, said.

"The committee will help the President compile thoughts and ideas in relation to the UN High Panel," Mangkusubroto told The Jakarta Post, adding that he could not disclose the members of the committee, pending the President's approval.

The forum has been tasked to advise on the developments after the MDGs expiration in 2015 and to draft Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Yudhoyono, alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to cochair the panel. Ban has also named 26 civil society and private sector figures, as well as former state leaders from around the world to be members of the advisory panel. The first meeting will be carried out on Sept. 25 at the United Nations in New York.

An international affairs expert from the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwana, has suggested that Yudhoyono utilise his position as one of the three cochairs of the panel to help accommodate the interests of the Asian poor and developing nations instead of merely to raise Indonesia's global position.

Yudhoyono's appointment as a panel member was mainly aimed at representing developing Asian countries, hence the President should put aside his desire of bringing Indonesia's role in the global arena to a higher level, he said.

"Yudhoyono will be considered successful in the forum if he brings up the interests of developing countries particularly those from Asia, although we should also acknowledge that his appointment could not be separated from the fact that Indonesia's global position is becoming more important nowadays," Juwana told the Post.

Yudhoyono has repeatedly boasted that his appointment to the panel is more proof of recognition of Indonesia as one the world's considerable global and regional players. "Indonesia's part in this noble task is for the sake of all of the people in the world," he told the press recently.

As part of the preparations for the first meeting in New York, Yudhoyono, as well as Cameron and Sirleaf, were involved in a one-hour teleconference meeting led by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on Aug. 29.

Joining from the "situation room" located in the presidential compound, the President was accompanied by a number of Cabinet members to meet virtually with Eliasson, who joined from the UN office in New York, as well as Cameron (London) and Sirleaf (Monrovia).

In the meeting, Yudhoyono shared some of his notes he made during the Rio+20 Earth Summit in June, underlining that in achieving the main target of sustainable development, countries should not only champion a robust economic growth but also a "sustainable growth with equity".

"In my opinion, this agenda must be accomplished in a global partnership to eradicate poverty and improve welfare, because poverty could lead to conflicts, even war," Yudhoyono told the meeting.

Yudhoyono also said Indonesia was keen to host the panel's second meeting, which is expected to be held in November. The third and fourth meeting will be in Monrovia in January and London in March before returning to New York for the fifth meeting.

The panel is expected to conclude its work by May 2013. On previous occasions, Yudhoyono expressed his concerns about Indonesia's path toward the 2015 MDGs.

He also voiced worries regarding other countries that might fail to meet some of the targets, such as the poverty level, basic education coverage, halting the HIV/AIDS pandemic and reducing maternal and child mortality.

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