Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Australia is working with the Indonesian Government to support social protection programs as one of the most effective ways of reducing poverty and inequality in Indonesia, the Australian Embassy here said.

Australia`s co-sponsorship of the Asia Public Policy Forum opening in Jakarta today is part of its growing commitment, bringing together some of the world's leading thinkers on poverty and influential policy makers from around the region to share their knowledge and expertise, the embassy said on its official web site on Wednesday.

The Indonesian Government provides social protection programs to poor people, families and communities to help reduce poverty. The programs provide subsidies to the poorest and most vulnerable families so they can invest in their future by keeping their children in school, feeding them sufficient and nutritious food, and providing them with health care.

"Australia has significantly increased its investment in social protection across the region. In Indonesia between 2009 and 2014 we are investing $57 million in supporting home-grown solutions that enable improvements and expansion of Indonesia`s social protection system," said the Head of AusAID in Indonesia, Jacqui de Lacy.

"This work is based on a strong relationship with the Indonesian Government to establish and maintain affordable, universal social safety nets," said de Lacy.

The assistance is helping the Vice President`s National Team for Accelerating Poverty Reduction (TNP2K) to develop a unified database to better target the government`s largest social protection programs such as those around conditional cash transfers, health insurance for the poor and rice subsidies.

It also includes assisting the Government to improve the management and monitoring of its successful community empowerment program, PNPM, which delivers grants to communities for small scale infrastructure and income generating activities.

"We anticipate this week's Asia Public Policy Forum will inspire lively debate and strengthen networks amongst policy makers, scholars and others interested in social protection in the region, and we're really pleased to be part of these efforts," said de Lacy.


Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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