On Tuesday 16 May, Ir Kennedy Simanjuntak MA, Deputy Minister for Development Funding of the Ministry of National Development Planning, Dra Sri Danti Anwar, MA, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, and H.E. Vincent Guérend, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Indonesia, jointly launched the EU-Indonesia Blue Book 2017, an annual report on EU-Indonesia development cooperation. The report demonstrates the success stories of the substantial development aid that the EU and its Member States provide to Indonesia.
"Development cooperation is an affirmation of Europe’s strong commitment to address two of the world's greatest challenges: eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development. In Indonesia, we have been targeting human rights, good governance, education, forestry and land use, as well as climate change. The EU has also been supporting trade, economic development and health services", said EU Ambassador Vincent Guérend.
The main theme of the EU-Indonesia Blue Book 2017 – gender equality – symbolises the EU's support for women empowerment, economically, socially and politically, as well as the fight against gender-based violence and the implementation of gender-oriented policies in line with SDG 5 – to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. In line with these aims, this year's Blue Book launch featured an engaged panel discussion on "Breaking the Barriers: Together for Women Economic Empowerment".
"Equality between women and men is one of the EU's founding values. The EU and Indonesia share the belief that gender equality should be at the heart our societies, and that women empowerment enhances social justice, sustainable development, economic growth and peace", emphasised Ambassador Vincent Guérend.
Gender equality allows women to participate fully in society – politically, economically and socially – and enhances their ability to take their communities forward. It is not just a matter of social justice and peace, but also one of 'smart economics': women’s participation in the economy is essential for sustainable development and economic growth. The EU is therefore fully committed to support Indonesia in establishing a more enabling environment for the fulfilment of girls’ and women’s rights and to achieve real and tangible improvements in gender equality. Following the 2016 Gender Action Plan as a guideline, the EU’s three pillars in promoting gender equality are: ensuring girls’ and women’s physical and psychological integrity, promoting the social and economic rights and empowerment of girls and women, and strengthening girls’ and women’s voice and participation.
The EU and its Member States address gender equality and women’s empowerment through awareness raising, dissemination of information, capacity building, policy advocacy and dialogue activities. Specific projects range from increasing the participation of women in local decision-making processes, including the development of gender-sensitive budgets for their communities, to enhancing the capacity of young rural women to improve their farming skills and earn and save money sustainably.
The panel discussion was joined by representatives of the Indonesian government, the private sector, and civil society as well as EU Member States Ambassadors: H.E. Johanna Brismar Skoog, Ambassador of Sweden to Indonesia, Mrs Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, CEO of Sintesa Group and Chairwoman of the Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment, Dra Eko Novi Ariyanti R.D., M.Si., Assistant to Deputy for Gender Equality in Economics at the Ministry for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, and Ms Nova Eliza, Actress and Founder of Suara Hati Perempuan Foundation.
To highlight the importance accorded to EU-Indonesia development cooperation, the EU launched its new report in the framework of Europe Month. Throughout the month of May, the EU Delegation in Indonesia is organising a series of enriching and thought-provoking events to mark the EU’s birthday and to present the scope of work and diversity of activities the EU undertakes in Indonesia. The celebration of Europe Day – the birthday of the EU on 9 May – draws on how Europeans have come together to work for peace and prosperity, while highlighting the continent's many different cultures, traditions and languages. This year is particularly significant, as it marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, the founding treaty of the European Union.