Philanthropy’s Unique Role to Reach the SDGs in Indonesia

Content Manager • 16 September 2017

Philanthropy organizations in Indonesia have a significant role to play in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Philanthropic contributions are needed because the success of reaching the SDGs depends on inclusive global partnerships, active engagement from the government, public, and the private sector, and also innovative ways to mobilize financial and technical resources. “Philanthropy organizations can offer new approach that complements other approaches, and also resources and expertise that government and the private sector cannot offer,” said Franciscus Welirang, Chair of Association of Philanthropy Indonesia Advisory Board, in Philanthropy Learning Forum I, Thursday (19/11/2015), at Auditorium Wisma Indocement, Jakarta.

According to Franciscus, philanthropy organizations have the ability to take higher risks and to run new projects that favor marginalized communities and neglected issues. Philanthropy can also attend to and support new strategic and effective ways to do charity by involving young people and using information technology. “Philanthropy organizations also have a wide network with non-governmental organizations and local communities through their grants,” he continued.

The SDGs are a set of universal goals each with its own targets and indicators from the development agenda at the global level, agreed to at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York, September 25 2015. The SDGs contain 17 goals with 109 targets and aim to overcome global issues, including the eradication of poverty and hunger, improve health and education, build sustainable cities, tackle climate change, and protect the ocean and rainforests. The SDGs are supported by 193 countries of UN members and will be used to establish national frameworks in countries all over the world for the next 15 years.

To enhance the role and involvement of philanthropy organizations in SDG achievement, three global organizations established the SDG Philanthropy Platform - Ford Foundation, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the MasterCard Foundation, together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Foundation Center. The implementation of this platform started in four pilot countries: Ghana, Kenya, Colombia, and Indonesia. The main partner of SDG Philanthropy Platform in Indonesia is the Indonesia Philanthropy Association.

Timotheus Lesmana, Chairman of the Indonesia Philanthropy Association Executive Board, explained that the SDG Philanthropy Platform aims to facilitate international dialogues and partnerships between philanthropy organizations. This platform is focused on efforts to include philanthropy in the development landscape by helping organizations to understand their involvement in global development goals. “This platform will also help the government and UN agencies to understand the value of philanthropy’s involvement, and also to help the beneficiaries and philanthropy partners in defining and achieving development goals,” he explained.

“The Indonesia Philanthropy Association will push for an effective implementation of SDG Philanthropy Platform in Indonesia by developing discussions and dialogues to socialize SDG, facilitating collaboration and partnerships between philanthropy organizations, government, private sector and general public, also by advocating against regulations that hinder philanthropy’s contribution to the SDG. One of our main priorities is tax deduction as an incentive that has not been effective and does not encourage the growth of philanthropy in Indonesia,” said Timotheus.

In general, philanthropy in Indonesia has grown in quantity and in types of contribution, which is encouraged by local customs, public relations, and religious values. The rapid growth of philanthropic activities in Indonesia is also due to the economic growth of Indonesia as one of the nations with the fastest growth of wealthy people in Asia, known as High Net Worth Individual (HNWI). Wealth Insight Report shows that HNWI population in Indonesia grew 67% between 2007 and 2011 and they own a total of US$241 billion. The rapid growth of HNWI has also encouraged many wealthy families in Indonesia to establish their own foundations in the last few years. The CAF World Giving Index Report (2014) put Indonesia as one of the top 10 countries that likes to do charity. The report revealed that 66% or 117 million Indonesians gave donations to charity. While the PIRAC and Dompet Dhuafa research (2015) shows that the donations from corporations in 2014 reached Rp 12.45 trillion, or Rp 1,04 trillion per month. Islamic philanthropy also grows rapidly with the increase of the zakat fund (Rp 3.2 trillion in 2014) and the broad usage of zakat, Infaq, and alms for social development.