#RioPlus20: Corruption, the main constraint of sustainable development

Jakarta, Yakkum. Rio+20 conference will be held on 20-22 June 2012. This conference plays significant roles in putting the foundation of sustainable development. This meeting is expected to be the milestone to formulating global development framework of post MDGs 2015. Yakkum tried to collect opinion from CSO’s leader and here is the result.

Few weeks ago, Yakkum conducted an online national survey to CSOs networks. This survey is aimed to collect CSOs’ perspective on Rio+20 conference that will be held this June 2012. One interesting finding showed that majority of CSOs consider corruption as the main constraint of sustainable development in Indonesia.

This issue was raised after YAKKUM assessed three major constraints of sustainable development. The three most highlighted problems are: corruption (77%), poverty and famine (62%), and disaster hazards and environmental degradation (46%). Thus, it can be concluded that the major concerns of CSOs are clean governance, limited access for the vulnerable to development, and environmental resources degradation pollution or climate change.

In accordance to the above-mentioned problems, three priorities of policies that have been proposed by CSOs are combating corruption, followed by managing food production system and enhancing the resilience of the community to disaster. Combating corruption is supported by 69% of the respondents, while managing food production system is supported by 46% of the respondents, and enhancing the resilience of the community to disaster is also proposed by 46% of the respondents.

A distinct finding showed 38% of the respondents urge to stop violence and war as a priority of policy for sustainable development. It reflects CSOs’ point of view that sustainable development does not merely deal with environmental issues, but also social and political issues. Violence and war are obviously will reduce the rights of future generations to live peacefully, that we are partly experiencing it.

Environmental protection pillar has been seen as the highest priority in the draft of sustainable development declaration or so called “zero draft”. From the total responder, 54% stated that the “zero draft” mostly talk about the environmental protection pillar, while each of economic development pillar and social development pillar has been stated by 23% respondents. Most of the respondents also perceive that the zero draft meets the needs to deal with future challenges. This opinion has been supported by 62% respondents, while the proportion that doubts it is 38%.

Sustainable Development is not “Economic Growth”

Surprisingly, no survey respondents consider sustainable development as economic growth. From the optional answers presented, no one voted economic growth as the most relevant definition of sustainable development.

Instead, the responder chose to associate sustainable development to “preserved environmental and biodiversity” that had been voted by 38% of the respondents and the state where every human being has the independence to contribute and receive benefit has 23% of the vote.

This finding confirms the growing opinion amongst CSOs that economic growth cannot be used as an indicator to measure the development success. On the other hands, development success is reflected through the success of government in “preserving environment and biodiversity” and giving the freedom to all citizens to contribute and receive the benefits of development.

Although there is a fairly strong criticism against the conception of economic growth, but the Governments globally still use this conception in development documents. Government of Indonesia for example, has set the terms “pro-growth” before “pro-poor”, and “pro-job”. Now, it is added with “pro-green”, as climate change adaptation and sustainable development become the burning issues.

The main critic to the concept of economic growth lies on the reduction of the meanings of development, which is merely measured by the growing economic graphs.

Whereas, development, as emphasized in UN Declaration on the Right to Development, which actually means “a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom”. ***