Indonesia Harnesses Islamic Donation Tradition to Support SDGs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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UNDP’s Country Support Platform in Indonesia is capitalizing on the country’s culture of religious giving as a way to support SDG achievement.

According to UNDP Indonesia, donations from Indonesia’s Muslim populations could generate US$16 billion annually.

In a blog post, UNDP Indonesia presents the key characteristics of its innovative Country Support Program.

22 February 2018: UN Development Programme (UNDP) Indonesia has launched the ‘Innovative Financing Lab,’ a Country Support Platform that aims to support SDG achievement by harnessing the country’s potential for religious giving and private investment. In a blog post, UNDP Indonesia shares nine characteristics that are key to its Country Platform’s potential success.

The UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021 envisions the role of Country Support Platforms as helping countries design and deliver integrated SDG solutions, with variation among platforms according to the country context. The platforms respond to increased demand for collaboration among a wider range of actors.

UNDP Indonesia presents the SDGs as “the trillion-dollar investment opportunity that they are” rather than focusing on potential funding shortfalls. According to UNDP Indonesia, 79% of Indonesians donated money in the past month, making Indonesia the second most generous country in the world. Islamic law mandates that all Muslims who are eligible donate at least 2.5% of their income or accumulated wealth to the poor and needy, a practice known as Zakat. UNDP Indonesia calculated that, if every eligible Muslim pays US$74 annually, the country could generate US$16 billion, an amount that “represents a huge potential to support the SDGs.”

The nine key characteristics of Indonesia’s Country Platform are:

  • A collaborative space: The Platform involves the UN, the Government of Indonesia, private sector and civil society, both in Indonesia and globally, in developing solutions to achieve the SDGs;
  • Focus on partnerships: UNDP Indonesia has invited a wide range of actors to participate in the Platform, including to set the agenda, provide funding, second staff and become investment partners;
  • Pilot and scale innovation: The Platform has tested new solutions with the aim of replicating solutions within and across countries and advises large-scale investments on inclusivity and sustainability;
  • A networked Platform: The Platform is composed of a horizontal network of platforms that are linked with other countries to facilitate South-South cooperation;
  • Focus on SDG financing: The Platform is focused on designing financing instruments, informing investments and developing and advising partners on policy and knowledge sharing, an approach aimed at responding to demand and producing results;
  • Maximum innovation: The Platform has “one foot inside and one foot outside the government,” a position that allows the Platform freedom to innovate and leverage change;
  • Capacity-building: The Platform utilizes skills like Islamic finance and private investment, SDG impact measurement, systems thinking and design and technological solutions;
  • Sustainable: The Platform’s business model relies on a combination of grants and service fees, with the aim of increasing fees over time; and
  • Integrated: UNDP serves as an integrator in the Platform by facilitating a system-wide approach to the SDGs, bringing together partners and providing a space for innovation.

The partnership between BAZNAS, the state zakat agency, and UNDP Indonesia is the first time a Zakat organization has committed to supporting the SDGs. Zainulbahar Noor, BAZNAS, said that the agency’s conversations with UNDP helped BAZNAS to realize that “when you are talking about SDGs, you are talking about zakat.” Noor said UNDP and BAZNAS are collaborating on zakat inclusion, explaining that when the agency collects zakat through branchless banking, it can use the funds to support the SDGs. [UNDP Blog Post] [UNDP Indonesia Brochure on Financing Landscape]

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