"Today, I am pleased to announce that the following leaders have accepted my invitation to serve as co-chairs of this high-level panel: His Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia; Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; and His Excellency Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom," Ban Ki-moon said in New York on May 9, 2012, during an informal meeting of the UN General Assembly.
The Panel is part of the Secretary-General`s post-2015 initiative mandated by the 2010 MDG Summit. UN Member States have called for open, inclusive consultations involving the civil society, the private sector, academia and research institutions from all regions, in addition to the UN system, to advance the development framework beyond 2015.
Expected to be achieved by 2015, the MDGs comprise eight goals: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.
President Yudhoyono has been actively leading efforts to achieve the MDGs at home as well as abroad since the program was launched by the United Nations in 2000 and signed by 147 heads of state of the UN member countries.
For Yudhoyono, the MDGs are "a perfect, rare and historic international instrument for development", because the world community had never before agreed on a set of global development targets to be met within a specified time frame.
The Indonesian government's national development strategy has been in line with the MDGs.
"In recent years, we have made sure that our development programs are consistent and compatible with MDG targets," Yudhoyono said in his opening speech at the Regional Meeting and Stakeholder Consultation on Post-2015 Development Agenda, which was held in Bali on December 13-14.
The two-day Bali meeting was aimed at collecting inputs and proposals from 213 delegations representing 19 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
"They shared several ideas with the President, which can be included in the Post-2015 MDGs," Chairman of the Indonesian National Committee on the Post-2015 Development Agenda Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said.
To demonstrate Indonesia`s firm commitment to sustainable development, President Yudhoyono on September 21, 2012, established the National Committee on Post-2015 Development Agenda under the Presidential Decree No. 29/2012, and appointed Kuntoro Mangkusubroto as the chairman.
"As for the MDGs, Indonesia could achieve certain goals and even exceed some targets by 2015. However, we have to work harder to achieve other goals," the President had said then.
Since 1990, Indonesia has been able to reduce the number of people living in poverty, from 20.6 percent in 1990 to 11.9 percent in 2012. The country has achieved universal primary education for children by implementing the 9-year compulsory education policy. Infant mortality has been reduced from 68 per 1,000 births in 1991, to 34 in 2007.
Despite some notable achievements with regard to meeting the MDGs targets, Indonesia faces challenges in achieving the fifth MDG (reducing maternal mortality ratio and achieving universal access to reproductive health) and the sixth MDG (reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS).
However, in May this year, Nila Moeloek, the Indonesian special envoy on MDGs, expressed optimism that Indonesia would be able to meet the fifth MDG target despite having a high MMR. The fifth MDG target is to reduce the MMR by three quarters by 2015.
According to the latest data from Indonesia Demographic and Health Survey, the country`s MMR reached 228 per 100,000 live births, which is among the highest in Southeast Asia.
"Although Indonesia`s maternal mortality ratio is the highest in Southeast Asia, we are optimistic that the MDGs` fifth target will be achieved because many people are currently working on the reproduction-related problems of various communities," Moeloek said at a seminar themed "Beyond MDGs: Indonesia`s Role as Middle Income Country on HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights" in Jakarta.
On a separate occasion in the same month, Indonesian Vice President Boediono expressed his optimism in Surabaya, East Java, that Indonesia`s targets for MDGs would be reached in 2015.
"Judging from the role of the Family Welfare Movement (PKK)`s cadres and the Indonesians` spirit of mutual cooperation, I am sure that the MDGs target can be met as scheduled," he stated.
In order to support the national health programs and achieve the MDGs, the government needs to increase the budget allocation for the health sector to Rp80.6 trillion in 2013.
"An increase in budget allocation for the health sector must top the list of priorities to achieve the MDG targets by 2015 as well as to improve human health development index in poor regions," Coordinator of Civil Society Coalition for State Budget for Welfare Erani Yustika said recently.
"Budget allocation for the health sector in the revised 2012 state budget stood at Rp48 trillion, accounting for 3.4 percent of the state budget. The figure violated Law No. 36 /2009, which had set budget allocation for the health sector at a minimum of 5 percent of the state budget," she pointed out.
As the MDG deadlines are approaching, it is the task of the High Level Panel to help the world set a post-2015 MDG agenda for the next 20 years, which is more ambitious, comprehensive and in tune with the changing global landscape.
The 27-member panel held two productive meetings this year in New York on September 25 and in London on November 1 and plans to submit its first report to the UN Secretary-General during the second quarter of 2013.
The panel`s next three meetings will be held in Monrovia (February 2013), Bali (March 2013), and New York (May 2013), which will focus on national capacity, global partnership, and the draft of the final report of the High Level Panel on post-2015 development agenda.
Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa once said the President was expected to offer recommendations to the UN Secretary General on dealing with poverty, hunger and diseases in less privileged countries by April next year.
Yudhoyono had earlier emphasised the concept of "sustainable growth with equity' for the next MDG framework, which might be called "Sustainable Development Goals" (SDGs) by 2035.
"A different name might be agreed upon by UN members, but our main concern is achieving sustainable development with equity, where environmental preservation is the main goal," he told the press after attending the Rio+20 Conference.
Recently, an international affairs expert from the University of Indonesia, Hikmahanto Juwana, suggested that Yudhoyono should use his position as one of the three co-chairs of the panel to help accommodate the interests of the poor and developing nations of Asia instead of simply focusing on raising Indonesia`s global position.
"Yudhoyono will be considered successful in the forum if he brings up the interests of all developing countries, particularly those from Asia, although we should also acknowledge that his appointment could not be separated from the fact that Indonesia`s global position is becoming more important nowadays," he was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying.
As for the Southeast Asian region, Jakarta-based SEAN Foundation and General Electric (GE) last month signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the improvement of health services in rural areas of the Southeast Asia region in an effort to help the government achieve the fifth MDG target.
"The fifth MDG target, of improving maternal health, is still far below expectation. Therefore, the involvement of private sector players, such as GE, is needed to accelerate the achievement of the target," ASEAN Foundation Executive Director Makarim Wibisono said.
He noted that the maternal mortality rate in the Southeast Asian region was still high. According to a survey conducted by ASEAN in 2011, around 44 women die every day due to pregnancy-related problems.
Wibisono stated that the use of technology to detect problems in pregnancy would help reduce maternal mortality rate significantly, especially in rural areas.
Under the MoU, GE and ASEAN Foundation have agreed to implement competency development programs for paramedics, including doctors, nurses, and midwives.