CSIS Strengthens Evidence-Based Pandemic Management

CSIS has been producing policy research analysis on COVID-19 from multiple perspectives, including disaster management, the economy, and social politics. Knowledge is shared by publishing it on CSIS Commentaries, a platform for scholars and researchers to write briefs on strategic issues. Since its launch in March 2020, CSIS commentaries was downloaded more than 90 thousand times. This shows the rapid pace of dissemination, vast public reach, and high relevancy of policy research carried out by CSIS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSIS Strengthens Evidence-Based Pandemic Management

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is an independent, non-profit organization established on September 1, 1971. CSIS focuses on domestic and international economic policy-oriented studies, political and social change, and international relations. In 2018, after the earthquake that hit Palu-Donggala, CSIS saw how the lack of knowledge sharing in Indonesia weakened disaster management. Therefore, CSIS developed a research unit that became a convening platform to gather relevant insights from multi-disciplinary actors, provide policy recommendations, and maintain critical thinking on disaster management. This organization, which is ranked the 2nd best think tank in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific regions, according to the Go To Think Tank Global Index in 2020, has been producing high quality policy research analysis on COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Multi Aspect Perspective

CSIS has been producing policy research analysis on COVID-19 from multiple perspectives, including disaster management, the economy, and social politics. Knowledge is shared by publishing it on CSIS Commentaries, a platform for scholars and researchers to write briefs on strategic issues. Since its launch in March 2020, CSIS commentaries was downloaded more than 90 thousand times. This shows the rapid pace of dissemination, vast public reach, and high relevancy of policy research carried out by CSIS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, CSIS established a new partnership with Facebook to utilize its big data, namely Facebook’s Disease Prevention Map. This data supported CSIS to develop analysis and insight on people’s movement and inform its policy recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, CSIS officially launched the COVID-19 dashboard on July 28, 2020. This one door portal for COVID-19 research findings contains various indexes, economic and health condition matrices, and a map of COVID-19 spread in Indonesia, and includes CSIS Commentaries and webinars. The map of COVID-19 spread in Indonesia contains the data spread of active cases, accumulated mortality cases, and COVID-19 Movement and Intensity Indexes at the provincial and national level. The Movement Index was obtained from the Facebook Range Map data. A higher index indicates that movement in a province has escalated compared to the baseline in February. Meanwhile, the Intensity Index is calculated from three index sub-components, namely mortality index, growth index, and active cases index. A higher COVID-19 intensity index shows worsening development of COVID-19 cases.

Related to the economy and health, the COVID-19 dashboard contains the Economic and Health Condition Matrix. This matrix compares the changes in economy and health conditions in an area to June 4, 2020, when DKI Jakarta announced the ceasing of its large-scale social distancing (PSBB). Moreover, data regarding the inflation of food ingredients and prices of various food commodities such as sugar, rice, chicken, meat, eggs, and other primary food commodities are also included in this dashboard.

One aspect that has not been explored deeply in the pandemic management process is the social-cultural side. For this, CSIS released a behavior survey on the Perception, Effectiveness, and Implementation of COVID-19 Protocols. This survey was carried out in DKI Jakarta and DIY Yogyakarta at the beginning of 2021 and covered three issues, namely the COVID-19 spread, social responsibility, and the vaccination program. The survey found that the public knowledge level in Jakarta and Yogyakarta about COVID-19, regarding the transmission method, symptoms, and types of co-morbid diseases, is high. Meanwhile, a statistical test showed that the awareness to apply health protocols is influenced by the belief in COVID-19’s existence. However, almost 40 percent of respondents in Jakarta and 27.5 percent in Yogyakarta said they are unwilling to be vaccinated.

In addition to the COVID-19 dashboard, CSIS published the book “Indonesia and COVID-19: Multi Aspect and Sectoral Perspectives”, discussing in detail the development of efforts to handle COVID-19 in Indonesia from multiple aspects. In this book, there are 11 analyzed aspects related to Indonesia and COVID-19, comprising international relations and political comparison, digital sector and data collection policy, defense and security governance, disaster and environmental management, economy and workforce, politics, public policy and governance, law and history, religious and cultural affairs, urban management, and vulnerable groups and social inclusion. The launching of this book was attended by the Head of National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB)/Head of COVID-19 Management Task Force, Doni Monardo, who was the keynote speaker, and who was also there to formally agree the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between BNPB and CSIS to institutionalize the collaboration in knowledge production and knowledge management in the field of disaster management in Indonesia.

Program Logic to Strengthen Mitigation

CSIS established its program logic alongside a facilitator through a series of discussions on intended achievements, required activities and outputs, and analysis on appropriate stakeholders, including the media. For two years, various collaborations have been conducted between CSIS’ Disaster Management Research Unit (DMRU) and BNPB. Through the program logic, CSIS mapped its way to forge a more robust and formal relationship with BNPB. CSIS set the number of forms of knowledge products, the variety and direction of multiple advocacy activities, and media engagement plan.

The MoU signed by BNPB and CSIS formalized the cooperation of both institutions and served as an umbrella for the Cooperation Agreement (PKS) between CSIS and various directorates within BNPB. Following the signing of this MoU, the first PKS was signed between CSIS and BNPB’s Data and Information Center (Pusdatin). CSIS and Pusdatin BNPB agreed to share data more deeply, to together develop studies and policy recommendations related to disaster handling and management, processing the knowledge and institutional memory owned by BPNB, and to together deepen and expand international cooperation. With this MoU and PKS, CSIS is expected to contribute further in its efforts to mitigate disasters, both natural and non-natural, in Indonesia.

CSIS was also invited to the Hearing Meeting held by the Working Committee (Panja) of Commission VIII of the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI) to discuss the Revision to Law Number 24/2007 on Disaster Management. According to the Head of Panja of Commission VII, this Law needs to be revised considering the increasing types of disasters, more frequent occurrences, and rising material loss and lives lost, to become the basis for strengthening disaster management institutions. Going forward, there are several public hearings (Rapat Dengar Pendapat (RDP)) that need to be held to revise the Law, which will fall under DPR RI’s initiative. CSIS’ participation in this is expected to help produce a better Law based on sound evidence. CSIS continues to advocate to move disaster mitigation away from short-term politics and look at mutual interests to strengthen disaster preparedness in Indonesia.

Support from Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI)

KSI provided support primarily in the form of a flexible funding scheme and facilitation to create the program logic, supporting CSIS in designing and carrying out various research and advocacy activities to achieve their vision. CSIS has reallocated some of the Strategic Partnership Grant funds given by KSI to conduct policy research on the best way to respond to COVID-19 in Indonesia. In August, CSIS received its second year Strategic Partnership Grant, with the objective of conducting policy research on the social and cultural aspect of people’s behavior during the pandemic. KSI’s support enabled CSIS to strengthen its knowledge-to-policy process in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.