A Long Road toward Research-Based Policy Making

well-staged and well-targeted research set up a robust foundation crucial for the development of quality policies. The use of accurate research results in policy-making will better ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and inclusiveness of these policies when implemented in the field. Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) provided support to IRE, PSHK dan SMERU in their efforts to produce policy research and carry out their advocacy activities. The support KSI provided was mainly in the form of a flexible funding scheme to allow institutions to design their research and advocacy work according to the needs. This was a historical milestone, as this was the first time for them to include their work as the focus of national development, especially for the 2020-2024 period.

A Long Road toward Research-Based Policy Making

Village boundary delineation was one of the issues included in the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024. This was a historical milestone, as this was the first time for such issue to be made the focus of national development, especially for the 2020-2024 period.

The inclusion of the village boundary issue in the 2020-2024 RPJMN was the result of a long process. A policy research institute, the Institute Research and Empowerment or IRE played an important role in advocating this issue. For IRE, this momentum was a success of their continuous effort. Since its establishment in 1994, IRE had put forward the issue of decentralization and village empowerment through a series of policy research, analysis and advocacy activities. 

This success shows that well-staged and well-targeted research set up a robust foundation crucial for the development of quality policies. The use of accurate research results in policy-making will better ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and inclusiveness of these policies when implemented in the field. 

Apart from IRE, there are two other institutions that have also succeeded in pushing the results of their studies to be adopted in the 2020 - 2024 RPJMN. The Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK) succeeded in initiating the process of regulatory reform in the 2020-2024 RPJMN. Meanwhile, SMERU contributed by promoting the issue of inclusive economic development as a priority in the 2020-2024 RPJMN.

Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) provided support to these three institutions in their efforts to produce policy research and carry out their advocacy activities. The support KSI provided was mainly in the form of a flexible funding scheme to allow institutions to design their research and advocacy work according to the needs. KSI also played a catalytic role that encouraged the development of various stages in the peer review process, a consultative process with relevant policy makers, and the inclusion of an analysis that emphasized on the need to promote gender equality and social inclusion in policy-making processes to ensure that the policies developed would be beneficial for all levels of society. 

  

Village Development

The success to advocate for the inclusion of an issue in the 2020-2024 RPJMN was achieved thanks to the implementation of various activities, using various discussion platforms and involving many parties. IRE started by conducting a research related to the implementation of Village Law in three regions, namely Sumatra, Sulawesi and Java. The research funded by KSI resulted in findings pertaining to 12 important issues, namely village boundaries, assets, village authority, village apparatus, economic development, local democracy, village planning and budgeting, village finance, accountability and social inclusion, rural area development, village assistance and village information system. Based on the analysis conducted, IRE prepared recommendations to advocate for these issues to be included in the 2020-2024 RPJMN. 

Recommendations alone were however not sufficient. To be able to support a policy, IRE had involved various related parties, including Bappenas, in all stages of research and advocacy so that they could provide sharp and precise input for the RPJMN development process. To ensure the relevance of the draft response to the draft RPJMN, IRE held national workshops in the provinces of DI Yogyakarta and West Nusa Tenggara inviting representatives from civil society groups and the government. The workshop confirmed IRE's recommendations to support the development of RPJMN. 

These efforts received good responses. In August 2019, Bappenas invited IRE to conduct a technical evaluation of the study conducted to support the development of RPJMN. IRE used the opportunity to provide input based on the results of their preliminary research. A positive response was given to this input even though the delineation of village boundaries was a new issue for Bappenas. 

This cooperation continued until IRE prepared a response to the technocratic draft of RPJMN between October and December 2019. Through a series of discussions conducted during this period, IRE and Bappenas finally agreed to cut down the number of recommendations from 12 to 3. This decision was considered to provide a more realistic proposal to be integrated in RPJMN. The three recommendations were basically divided into three issues, namely village boundaries, village human resources, and village facilitation. 

Later, IRE presented the final draft response to Bapennas on 12 December 2019. Bappenas agreed that the recommendations would be included in RPJMN. The good cooperation between IRE and Bappenas helped push the three recommendations proposed to be adopted in the 2020-2024 RPJMN. 

 

Regulatory Reform

The Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK) was also overseeing the regulatory reform in the 2020-2024 RPJMN through a series of policy research and advocacy activities. PSHK had long been pushing for a more effective regulatory reform and because Bappenas planned to include this issue in the new RPJMN, PSHK saw an opportunity to emphasize on the need to prioritize this issue as it was very important to promote the sustainability of Indonesia's development.

PSHK then prepared a study plan and Bappenas provided a feedback thereto. Bappenas specifically advised that PSHK’s input should be based on the four pillars of the 2015 of the national strategy for regulatory reform, so that the analysis and recommendations resulting therefrom could be aligned with the existing policies.

A series of discussions were held during the process, co-facilitated by PSHK with Bappenas, involving the relevant ministries, such as the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, as well as representatives of several provincial governments. Even though the cooperation with Bappenas was intensive, coordination with other agencies outside Bappenas was often challenging, making it one of the obstacles in advocating for this issue. Still, PSHK managed to finalize the study, incorporating input from various parties before submitting it to Bappenas. One of the recommendations was to improve the monitoring and evaluation activities to support a systematic implementation of the regulatory reform. 

This process fell under the spotlight when it attracted a lot of public attention as it became one of the questions in the presidential candidate debate on January 17, 2019. This opportunity was used by PSHK and Bappenas by delivering a presentation on regulatory reform in the 2020-2024 RPJMN before the media on February 6, 2019, which was immediately followed by a seminar with a similar theme. The presence of the Minister of Bappenas in these two activities also increased  attention from the media. 

In the 2020-2024 RPJMN, it was explicitly written that the advocacy effort was deemed to be a success. For the first time, RPJMN contained a plan to organize regulations by establishing a regulatory management agency or institution. Specifically, the agency's function was to integrate monitoring and evaluation processes. 

 

Inclusive Economic Development

Meanwhile, SMERU also supported Bappenas in its effort to strengthen the measuring tools and guidelines to integrate inclusive economic development in the 2020-2024 RPJMN. This effort began with SMERU's collaboration with Bappenas and the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) in developing the Indonesia Inclusive Economic Development Index, which was launched in July 2018 at the 2018 Indonesia Development Forum (IDF). A very specific national scale index was developed to measure inclusive economic development, suitable for the Indonesian context. This index could be used to measure the level of inclusiveness of economic development at both the national and sub-national (provincial and district/city) levels, to promote inclusiveness in the economic development policies.

Pursuant to the launch of the index, SMERU collected data at the district and provincial levels with support from Bappenas and Ford Foundation, and later in 2018 with the support from KSI, they prepared a study to provide a policy guidelines on how to strengthen inclusive economic development and to recommend this guidelines to be included in the new RPJMN. SMERU also conducted case studies in West Java, East Kalimantan and Aceh. 

Through these efforts, SMERU played a role in introducing inclusive economic development both within Bappenas and beyond. Bappenas used this study to advocate for the inclusion of the issue of inclusive economic development as one of the priorities in the 2020-2024 RPJMN. In addition, Bappenas and SMERU also made effort to integrate the Inclusive Economic Development Index in the RPJMN target. However, this has not happened yet as more time is needed to develop a concept that can be aligned with the characteristics and goals of each ministry.

The success of these three institutions in advocating for the important issues to be included in RPJMN shows that evidence-based policy making requires a long process which requires to be supported by a series of activities ranging from research, issue monitoring, and collaboration with key parties. The process is not only time consuming but also costly and labor-intensive. For this reason, the availability of resources, the involvement of many parties and the use of various discussion platforms to promote evidence-based policy-making are essential for the next process in the development.