United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


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Preparatory Meeting of
Commission on Sustainable
Development - 17
4th meeting
Intervention by
Mr. Tri Tharyat
Deputy Director of Sustainable Development
Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia
At the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of the
Commission for Sustainable Development -17
On Rural Development
New York, 24 February 2009
Madame Chair,
Indonesia would like to associate itself fully with the statement made by Sudan on
behalf of the G77 and China. I should also like to take this opportunity to thank the
Secretary General for providing a useful report on rural development. The report tracks
the progress being made in rural development and points the way forward.
Madame Chair,
Rural development is critical for ensuring overall economic development, including
poverty eradication. From an economic perspective, development of the rural economy
and the general level of income of the rural sector affect a country?s ability to embark on
the road to broad-based economic development.
Rural development does not only imply the development of the agriculture sector. We
fully share the view that was highlighted by the Secretary General in his report that
enhancing human and social capital, improving access to infrastructure, promoting
non-farming employment, and managing natural resources in a sustainable manner are
critical for rural development.
For the majority of developing countries, however, agriculture remains critical for the
development of the rural sector. This has in fact been borne out by the experience of
many developed countries where sustained national economic growth was enabled
after the development potential of the agriculture sector was realized.
Madame Chair,
Despite that link, the marginalization and under-development of the agriculture sector
over the years has limited the development of rural areas in many developing countries.
There has been an ever-increasing wealth gap between the urban and rural sectors,
often with consequent social and political ramifications.
The challenges we face in Indonesia on rural development are similar to those in other
developing countries. Approximately 60% of our population lives in the rural areas and
83% of the rural economy is agriculture based. Agriculture therefore plays a central role
not just for rural development but also for the overall economic development of
Indonesia. Although 41.24% of our total population or about 95 million people work in
the agriculture sector, the development of the sector has not been fully realized. Rural
development has been slow, resulting in 64% of those living below the poverty line
being found in rural areas.
Indonesia?s approach to addressing rural development has been through a
revitalization program that better mainstreams agriculture and rural development into
our overall development strategy. The revitalization program we implemented
empowers smallholding farmers by facilitating their access to financing and other input
resources. We have also implemented policies aimed at developing and rehabilitating
rural infrastructure. This has increased rural income causing the growth rate of the
agriculture sector to move from 2.7% in 2005 to 5.3% in 2008.
Madame Chair,
But now there is concern that the global financial and economic crisis will have a
tremendous impact on the rural poor. Already we are seeing a decline in the price of
agricultural commodities which will no doubt reduce income for the rural sector.
Urgent action is therefore needed to prevent further deterioration of this sector.
In this context, I should like to highlight three areas which Indonesia feels need to be
the focus of attention in order to limit the impact of the crisis on rural development.
First, there is a need to enhance the social safety net for the rural population.
International assistance for social safety nets in developing countries, particularly in
least developed countries, to deal with the adverse impacts of the crisis is needed.
Synergies between humanitarian and development assistance provided by donors
should also be immediately improved.
Second, it is important to empower the rural population to enable them to fully realize
their earning capacity and aid rural development. Providing better property and
business rights to the rural population can facilitate their empowerment.
Third, rural development programs should be an integral part of the stimulus package
provided by governments and international organizations in addressing the financial
and economic crisis. As has been stated in the earlier discussion, investment in
infrastructure is critical for agriculture and rural development. Investing in rural
infrastructure as part of the stimulus package to deal with the crisis will have the
desired multiplier effect, not just on the rural but also the national economy.
Thank you.