The Role of Youth in Realizing a Sustainable Indonesia

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Earth Day is commemorated every year on April 22 to show support for environmental protection and human concern for the sustainability of the planet earth. In line with that, now the development of the world’s population continues where the world demographic dividend is at its peak. The United Nations (UN) noted that in 2014 the world’s young population (aged 10-24 years) reached 1.8 billion people, which is a quarter of the world’s total population. This is a unique force for the shift in the development paradigm from exploitative to restorative, from one that is always economically oriented to an economic-ecological balance.

By Stevie Leonard Harison *

The change in development paradigm must be accompanied by changes in lifestyle, especially from the generation who will inherit the planet Earth for a longer period of time, namely children and youth. For Indonesia itself, the demographic bonus is a game changer for the progress of national development in all lines and dimensions. The number of youth in Indonesia alone is almost 65 million people or 25% of the total population, so Indonesia’s future development policies must be based on the demographic bonus for the 2020-2035 period as one of the key factors. Youth should actually be the focus of the axis and spearhead of the current Indonesian government policies and have great potential for the improvement of national development, especially the aspects of protecting nature and the environment.

The Indonesian government through the Ministry of National Development Planning (PPN) / BAPPENAS recently launched a Climate Resilient Development Policy (PBI) document which is in line with the vision and mission of sustainable development and climate resilience. There is 1 special book on the theme of the Role of Non-Governmental Institutions in Climate Resilience, but it is very unfortunate that it does not explicitly discuss youth and demographic bonuses even though it should be categorized as very crucial considering that the involvement and contribution of youth will be very large and have an impact on sustainable development and climate resilience in Indonesia today.

This initiative can be said to be late because the launch of the Paris Agreement has been carried out since 2015 while the Indonesian government has just launched this PBI in 2021 so that it tends to slow down the acceleration of reducing carbon emissions and shift to environmentally friendly development (green development) which should have happened. This is especially true when considering that the policy launched should coordinate and collaborate closely with other ministries so that it is more comprehensive and does not stand alone so that the seriousness of the national government can be seen clearly. For example, this PBI policy must be in line with education handled by the Ministry of Education and Culture, then the demographic bonus phenomenon handled by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, then with various sectors such as industry, trade, agriculture, transportation, tourism, health, and others.

The positive dynamics in the issue of the climate and environmental crisis are actually led by civil society, especially from civil society organizations and youth communities assisted by massive movements in the digital world and social media so that there has been an increase in public awareness of the issue of the climate crisis. Youth becomes a great potential and strength for the transformation of national development based on a sustainable lifestyle, which is a combination of a healthy lifestyle and an environmentally friendly lifestyle (green / eco lifestyle).

Recovery after the Covid19 pandemic can be carried out by adopting a sustainable lifestyle by young people in Indonesia so that it contributes greatly to the achievement of the national SDGs by 2030 and also reduces national carbon emissions. Earth Day is a momentum so that we will always be reminded of our commitment to care more about a more sustainable country and world through concrete actions such as an environmentally friendly lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle that is easy for young people across the country to practice.

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  • Stevie Leonard Harison is Founder Inspirator Muda Nusantara & Climate Ambassador Global Youth Climate Network (GYCN) World Bank Group) – https://id.linkedin.com/in/steveharison