Vulnerable groups become the main part of inclusive recovery from the pandemic impacts

Collaboration and socio-economic approaches are a surefire way to accelerate the recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in an inclusive manner.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 20 October 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has lasted 18 months, brought tremendous impacts to the world, including Indonesia. Not only on the health aspect, the global pandemic has affected the socio-economic aspects as well.

The United Nations (UN) recorded 255 million people lost their jobs causing economic losses up to US$ 3.7 trillion and leading 124 million people categorized as very poor. This condition is also experienced by Indonesia where 2.6 million out of 29 million workers in formal economy have lost their jobs. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of poor people during the pandemic.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia, Valerie Julliand, emphasized the importance of collaboration to quickly recover from the impact of the pandemic. “We are faced with difficult choices between a breakthrough or a breakdown. The same situation happened at the end of World War II. Therefore, there is a need for inter-country collaboration in order to rise up and recover from this global pandemic,” she explained during a virtual discussion of Ngobrol@Tempo entitled “Inclusive Recovery from the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic Towards a Resilient Indonesia” on Friday, 15 October 2021.

The UN, through the UN inter-agency funding mechanism or the United Nations COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF), becomes a catalyst for efforts to accelerate the recovery of the pandemic through an inclusive socio-economic approach by involving related parties.

The collaborative funding involving the ILO, UNDP, UNAIDS, and UNHCR targets vulnerable groups, including women, youth, people living with HIV (PLHIV), persons with disabilities, refugees, un-employed and other groups who are far from access to social welfare and protection.

In line with Valerie, Deputy for Economics of the Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, supported the collaborative steps to achieve sustainable recovery and inclusive development. “Cross-stakeholder partnership and collaboration in inclusive and adaptive economic recovery to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable groups are the key words for successful implementation of the SDGs initiated by the UN," she said.

One of poverty alleviation programs for vulnerable groups is currently being implemented through Center of Social Rehabilitation Assistance or Sentra Asistensi Rehabilitasi Sosial (ATENSI). The Director of Children Social Rehabilitation of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Kanya Eka Santi, said that the program which is assisted by the Ministry of Social Affairs has provided protection for vulnerable groups. “This program includes support for meeting the need of decent living, psychosocial and mental spiritual therapy, entrepreneurship training, social aid and social assistance for vulnerable groups,” she explained.

Meanwhile, the President of the All Indonesian Labour Union Confederation (KSBI), Elly Rosita Silaban, responded to the issue of recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, especially in the employment sector. “Currently, issues in employment still revolve around layoffs and reduced working hours and do not touch other issues related to the disability group and HIV/AIDS in term of industrial relations between workers and employers,” she said.

In the employers’ side, the Executive Director of the Indonesian Employers' Association (Apindo), Danang Girindrawardana, explained that discrimination against vulnerable groups, especially people with disabilities and PLHIV is often perpetrated by individuals, not because of the inadequacy of corporate regulation. “Apindo has a moral obligation to reprimand members of the association who discriminate workers with disabilities. Therefore, we encourage proper infrastructure and equal career development for them. Apindo has signed such agreement with the ILO,” he argued.

The Director of ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste, Michiko Miyamoto, explained that the agency will strengthen the social protection system for vulnerable groups, “One of them is by providing entrepreneurship training, business coaching, skills training for thousands of people to enable them recover from the pandemic situation. Social inclusiveness is not a cost but an opportunity for growth. The ILO estimates that global investment will create 269 million green jobs as new job opportunities until 2030. Indonesia must be careful to take advantage of this opportunity,” Michiko concluded.