Faces of Open Government – Ibu Raden Siliwati
Ibu Raden Siliwati is the Director of State Apparatus, Ministry of National Development Planning, Republic of Indonesia.
What got you personally involved in open government? What in your background inspired you to work in this field?
I have worked a lot with civil society throughout my 25 years of service in the government. All through the journey, I have seen how civil society contributes to the betterment of decision making processes, policy oversight, and policy outcomes. In the case of Indonesia, all of these have been made possible due to the government’s commitment to open up the civic space. To sustain this, it will need everyone’s support across all levels.
That has been the reason I have committed my time and the resources we have to further facilitate the open government initiatives in Indonesia. To me, open government offers an opportunity to further promote collaboration between government and civil society. With a growing society where problems have become more complex, multi-stakeholder collaboration is inevitable in ensuring a better policy-making. Furthermore, I personally believe that collaboration is the key word that will help bring Indonesia forward.
What challenges does the Indonesian government face when trying to implement open government policies?
From my perspective it is way more fundamental than just opening up our government. It is the effort in persuading the government and civil society to change the way they work that has been quite challenging. They used to work in conditions in which everyone works in silos, not just the government, but civil society as well. Reaching out to everyone and advocating collaboration toward each other has been quite challenging, even today after 5 years of advocating it. However, I have confidence enough that it soon will change as we have seen much progress in the government and CSOs as well.
How do you think Indonesia can act as a leader in open government in the Asia Pacific region?
Indonesia hopes to bring more meaningful and consistent contribution to further promote open government initiatives in the region. We hope to do this by collaborating with other key players in the region, such as existing OGP participating countries and/or OGP multilateral partners. Indonesia has some specific experiences such as the decade-long process to push the FOI (freedom of information) law, or the experience in setting up the permanent dialogue mechanism between government and civil society, that might be useful as peer-learning experience.
Tell us one commitment in Indonesia’s forthcoming NAP that you are really excited about and why?
I’m excited about almost all of it, honestly. But I think the one that excites me the most is the approach that we have in developing our NAP for this year, which is more inclusive and paves the way for a better collaboration between government and CSOs. This is major progress in our journey to embrace open government, and the result has been exciting. Especially as most of us know, collaboration between the two sectors is still something new for both Indonesian government and CSOs. So this kind of approach is something that is culturally changing the way the government and CSO work.
Since we implemented it, we saw a massive improvement in Government and CSOs’ partnership in developing the NAP. We can see throughout the process that the dialogues have gone very constructively. The CSOs have also been very keen listening to our (the government) perspectives in assuring the NAP to be doable and progressive at the same time.
Indonesia is one of the endorsers of the Joint Declaration on Open Government for the implementation of the SDGs. How are you aligning the work on open government and SDGs that both sit within your Ministry’s portfolio?
Transparency, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and accountability are key to ensuring that the targets and indicators of the SDGs are met inclusively so that no one is left behind. In Indonesia we are currently working towards creating a legal framework that will provide the enabling environment for the country to meet the SDGs. The legal framework, among others, will ensure that the three aforementioned principles are enshrined throughout the planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation processes of the SDGs National Action Plan. As a case in point, we are currently developing the operational definition and national indicators around Goal 16 of the SDGs. We are undertaking this consultation by engaging not just relevant government stakeholders but also non-government actors including the business community, civil society and academia. The conversation so far has been very enriching and constructive and we hope to consistently replicate this approach as we develop the SDG National Action Plan in the coming months.
Ibu Raden Siliwati is currently Director for State Apparatus at Ministry of National Development Planning / National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Her previous professional experiences include serving as Director for Politics and Communication Affairs (Bappenas), and National Project Director for Indonesian Democracy Index (UNDP). Ms. Siliwanti also leads the Good Governance Secretariat at the Ministry that is responsible for developing the Good Governance Index. She holds a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from University of Pittsburgh, and completed her doctoral degree in Political Science at University of Indonesia in 2010. She is one of the National Focal Points for Open Government Indonesia along with Mr. Yanuar Nugroho, Deputy Chief for Staff, Executive Office of the President.