Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where are the flats?

Vice President Jusuf Kalla wonders why Indonesian real estate companies are so slow in building low-income flats. FYI, last year the VP declared a national programme to build 1,000 low-income residential highrises in 10 big cities by 2009 (yeah, right..).

The Indonesian Real Estate Association answered as such: (local) governments are not providing land, and this makes it practically impossible for the private sector to supply flats in cities for the low income. Ciputra, the real estate mogul, said that any land priced over Rp 3 million (~USD 300) per square meter is not feasible to be procured by the private sector to be sold as low income flats. Furthermore, "even if the local government wants to provide land, there are many regulations that discourage it," someone from DPR said.

I guess we won't be seeing 1,000 low-income flats in the near future..

Privatizing what's not yours

I generally don't care much about Malaysia's recent claims over cultural products (i.e. batik, angklung, the song 'Rasa Sayange') native to peoples who now live in Indonesian territories. That is, as long as such products are left in the public domain.

However, this time some Malaysian academics have gone too far. As Kompas reported, they are now roaming over Indonesian villages, 'hunting' for classic Malay manuscripts, and place them on a site which people have to pay to use.

Really, I don't care if they claim it as part of their culture. But putting proprietary rights to something that they did not invent? Please...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Community Radio Social Impact Assessment

AMARC has recently finished its global assessment of the social impacts of community radios. The conclusion is clear: The main social Impact of Community Radio is Voice for the poor and marginalized. In further detail, community radios are effective in supporting poverty reduction, ensuring proper governance, ensuring inclusion of the marginalized, and are effective in conflict resolution and disaster prevention and relief.

The single principal barrier to CR social impact is absence of a friendly legislation; the existence of media oppression and military threats are a generalized barrier to the development of community radio.

Case studies from Indonesia are included in this report, as contributed by Ade Tanesia from Combine under the heading Women as Producers of Information. Nice work!

Third Global Knowledge Conference

The 3rd Global Knowledge Conference (GK3) – one of the most important knowledge sharing and creative development conferences in the world – will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 11 -13 December 2007. Themed "Emerging People, Emerging Markets, Emerging Technologies," GK3 promises to be a dynamic event focused on the future. GK3 will explore concrete solutions and possibilities within the inter-play, interface and interweaving of issues related to the Knowledge for Development (K4D) and Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) in the context of our globally evolving societies, economies and technologies worldwide.

For AMARC, network activities in Kuala Lumpur will focus on how women can use knowledge sharing in their community radio programming activities to empower other women so they can play a stronger role in good governance and democracy. This is one of AMARC’s most important theme areas for development in 2007.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pro-poor planning and budgeting

A new buzzword is floating around in the development world. Pro-poor planning and budgeting. What is it?

On the one hand it's an ADB-Bappenas technical assistance project that will "contribute to improvement of access of the poor to quality social services and infrastructure." But more than that, pro-poor planning & budgeting seems like an operational answer to questions like "how can we make sure that the government is taking MDGs seriously?" Especially given that planning documents are usually very general/thematic with no specifically measurable targets and not linked to budgeting process, etc. etc.

So what makes a plan and budget "pro-poor"? The project team said there are four indicators:
  1. it answers the root causes of poverty
  2. it will have impact on improvement of poor people's lives (as stated in MDGs or government mid-term development plans)
  3. its targets are majority poor
  4. the poor are included in the planning & budgeting process
Hopefully this will not be merely hype.

More on rural-urban migration

I still can't get enough of supporting people to move to cities. It's good that Kompas has got another FOKUS on this topic, under the heading "Fencing Jakarta from the Poor." Of course, this is quite a late post, and the features are still related to post Idul-Fitri movement of people into (back) into big cities.

Let me just take this opportunity to highlight other articles I've recently found. The first is something from the Guardian, UK, that says "migrants are a boon to UK economy."
Migrants are more skilled and often more reliable and hardworking than British workers, and are fuelling the country's economic growth to the tune of £6bn a year...
To put things into perspective is this excerpt on urbanization and migration, taken from the Address given at Commonwealth Youth Forum Opening ceremony by Dr. Anna Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Migration to urban areas takes place not because of real opportunities for better wages and livelihood but due to the expectations of such opportunities... In other words, people move or migrate not because they will be better off, but because they expect to be better off.

Unchecked flows of rural poor seeking better lives have exerted an unbearable strain on Africa's capitals...

But then we know that migration has historically improved the well-being of individuals and humanity as a whole. Just think how many countries and cities around the world were founded by migrants. Or today, how many economies are driven by the energy and initiative of new-comers. Let us not forget that what we call the “New World”, namely the Americas and Australasia was populated by immigrants from Europe.
Let us not forget that without migrants, Jakarta would not be Jakarta as it is.