Civil Society

Indonesia’s story of digital innovation in the public sphere is an excitingly recent one. In 2014, national legislative and presidential elections prompted the creation of digital platforms such as Kawal Pemilu, as well as the country’s first governance-inspired hackathon, Code for Vote. 

Digital Governance in Indonesia: An On and Offline Battle

May 18, 2016

Blog

The data revolution has permeated beyond the closeted realm of computer science into becoming a lynchpin of public policy-making. Data in all of its buzzy forms (big data, little data, open data) are transforming the face of public governance into a digital one. With the dawn of the data revolution comes digital innovation. But effective implementa… Read more

On April 30, In.CoDe hosted a day-long event in Jakarta that included a “speed date” involving over 140 participants as well as short panels and three-minute pitches by the top 10. 

Breaking Down Silos of ‘Innovation for Development’

May 4, 2016

Blog

Innovation is a tricky word to define. It has a whiff of excitement as well as – increasingly –inevitability, since technology is coloring our work and our lives. Development partners are adapting to explore the enormous potential of information and communication technologies. This, in turn, is introducing new actors, partnerships, approaches – suc… Read more

Last month, government officials, NGO leaders, and development experts from more than 10 countries gathered in Beijing for the 14th meeting of the Asian Approaches to Development Cooperation (AADC). 

Asian NGOs Expand Global Influence

May 4, 2016

Blog

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have long played a crucial role in development cooperation, both in delivery of services and in policy advocacy. According to the OECD DAC, in 2013, DAC members allocated $19.6 billion in official development assistance (ODA) to NGOs. The majority of this (almost $13 billion) was channeled through NGOs based in… Read more

A forest fire rips through Sumatra. Unfettered forest clearing and peatland draining to make way for palm oil and pulp and paper plantations are considered to be the main cause of Indonesia’s agricultural fires. Photo/Muhammadiyah 

Civil Society Takes on the Haze Crisis in Indonesia

April 20, 2016

Blog

The Indonesian province of Riau declared a state of emergency last month as haze from agricultural fires across Sumatra continued to envelope the region. The fires are the result of an early dry period, which comes all too quickly after last year’s extended dry season that saw agricultural fires burn over two million hectares of peatland mostly in… Read more

YouthFestival4 

In Photos: Unlocking the Potential of Bangladesh’s Youth

April 13, 2016

Blog

The global youth population has reached a remarkable 1.8 billion out of 7.3 billion, and most of them live in developing countries like Bangladesh. According to the UNFPA’s most recent State of the World Population Report, 30 percent of the 161 million people living in Bangladesh are 10-24 years in age. As Bangladesh aspires to attain middle-income… Read more

AmCham 

Tech for Good: Civic Tech and Indonesian Development

April 6, 2016

Blog

Indonesia’s digital era is well underway. Many start-ups have been established and achieved notable success, the number of technopreneurs is growing, and the government has now decided to open the economy to more investment in e-commerce. Add a new idea into the mix. Where some IT initiatives tend to focus on business and the economy, The Asia Foun… Read more

PWDIndonesia2 

Local Pathways to Disability-Inclusive Governance in Indonesia

December 16, 2015

Blog

“Nothing About Us Without Us” has become a familiar slogan used by the international disability movement and relies on the principle of full participation for all. However, in Indonesia, where people with disabilities (PWDs) still face enormous barriers…

PakistanStreetScene 

Signs of Hope for Pakistan’s Religious Minorities

December 9, 2015

Blog

The last few years have seen some of the most brutal attacks against Pakistan’s religious minority communities, estimated to make up approximately 3-5 percent of the total population of over 190 million.

MyanmarElection10 

In Photos: Elections Make History, Generate Hope for a New Myanmar

November 11, 2015

Blog

On Sunday, November 8, more than 30 million voters in Myanmar went to the polls to cast their votes for members of the Union Parliament as well as for the 14 state and region parliaments. These were the first elections in many decades in which an astounding 91 diverse political parties participated. Given that many were voting for the first time, the Union Election Commission, political parties, and hundreds of civil society organizations provided much-needed voter education.

IndonesiaFerryGoods 

Social Entrepreneurship: A Tool for ASEAN Integration?

October 28, 2015

Blog

2015 is a year of economic change for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as the region seeks to establish the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by December 31. The AEC will usher in a single economic market for the ASEAN member nations – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – allowing the free movement of goods, services, skilled labor, and capital. The reorganization of the region’s economy will be a step toward ASEAN’s “Vision 2020,” which calls for a unified partnership that is outward-looking, peaceful, stable, prosperous, and developing in a dynamic way.

DeforestationIndonesia 

Indonesia’s Forests Disappearing at Record Rates

February 25, 2015

Blog

In early November, less than one month after Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s inauguration, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, the newly installed Environment and Forestry minister, announced that the government would extend an existing moratorium on the issuance of new permits for logging in primary forests in an effort to halt deforestation. While environmentalists and concerned citizens alike certainly welcomed this news, the road ahead to improving forest and land governance in Indonesia is steep.

CambodiaInternetUsage 

New Economic and Social Landscape in Cambodia Attracts More Users to the Internet

January 21, 2015

Blog

In 2014, internet usage in Cambodia grew at a rate of 42.7 percent, according to a report released by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications last year. This sharp growth rate is being driven by an increasingly dominant youth demographic that aspires to connect to each other…

PakistanCRG 

Locally Led and Politically Smart Routes to Accountable Governance in Pakistan

January 14, 2015

Blog

Commentators on citizen-led accountability programs in persistently underdeveloped and conflict-prone states frequently advocate approaches that “work with the grain” of local social norms and institutions. At the same time, it is argued that local ownership…

ASM-miners 

Formalizing Mongolia’s Artisanal Mining Sector

December 3, 2014

Blog

With the appointment of Mongolia’s new prime minister, Saikhanbileg Chimed, in November, expectations are high for the further development of Mongolia’s mining industry, which accounts for 18.5 percent of the country’s GDP. While large-scale mining operations often make headlines…

MongoliaMiningSite 

Human Rights and Mongolia’s Small-Scale Mining Sector

October 29, 2014

Blog

Since the collapse of the socialist regime in 1990, Mongolia’s economic development has been dependent on an expanding formal and informal mining sector that for many years had little regard for the environment.

GSMPlantiff 

Indonesian Lawsuit Pushes Local Government to Regulate Massive Coal Mining Industry

October 15, 2014

Blog

In last week’s In Asia, I examined the growing environmental and social costs that the coal mining industry is having on Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, home to 28 percent of Indonesia’s total coal reserves. Already, 6.6 million hectares have been allocated for mining across the province, and in the provincial capital…

IndonesiaElections 

In Indonesia, Decentralization and Direct Elections Two Sides of the Same Coin

October 1, 2014

Blog

Last week, Indonesians woke up to the news that in the dead of night the parliament voted for a bill that would end direct elections for over 500 local-level political offices (mayors, district and sub-district governors), and replace them with an indirect selection process in regional parliaments. Since then, the country has been engaged by the decision, and civil society groups have readied themselves…

IndonesiaElections 

Proposed Bill to Eliminate Indonesia’s Direct Elections Puts Price on Democracy

September 24, 2014

Blog

In what is yet another significant twist in this fascinating election year in Indonesia, the country’s national legislature (DPR) will vote today on a hastily cobbled bill that aims to eliminate over 500 direct local elections. Following heralded national elections in April and July and a decade of direct local elections, this bill has surfaced like a sudden malady afflicting Indonesia’s electoral democracy. Here is a brief diagnosis of this disorder as well as a prognosis for recovery.

CSES 

Civil Society Organizations in Asia Press for More Open Environment

September 24, 2014

Blog

Indonesians have spoken out about a contentious bill to be voted on today that would eliminate direct elections for local mayors and district heads. Leading the charge against the bill, tabled just a month before President-elect Joko Widodo assumes office…

SichuanEarthquake 

Emerging Chinese Foundations Expand Role in Disaster Management

September 17, 2014

Blog

Last month, the One Foundation, one of China’s most visible charitable organizations, presented a new strategy to government officials and national researchers that marks a major shift in the approach to disaster mitigation in the country.

Asia-Foundation-60th-anniversary-series 

A Conversation with Chinese Fellow, Environmental NGO Leader Lican Liu

September 17, 2014

Blog

In Asia editor Alma Freeman recently interviewed co-founder and Director of Programs and Communications at the Greenovation Hub, a grassroots NGO that focuses on environmental protection and innovation in China.

IndonesiaElections 

After a Lively Election, What’s Next for Indonesia’s Mobilized Civil Society?

August 13, 2014

Blog

Just weeks after election results declared former Jakarta governor Joko Widodo (“Jokowi”) as Indonesia’s presidential front-runner, the president-elect’s team of volunteers announced that he would be crowdsourcing his cabinet. Through an online survey, anyone can choose…

Blog-Banner_60-60v2 

A Conversation with Mongolian Free Press Advocate Naranjargal Khashkhuu

August 13, 2014

Blog

As The Asia Foundation recently marked its 20th anniversary in Mongolia, Country Representative Meloney Lindberg sat down with Naranjargal Khashkhuu, president and CEO of the Globe International Center…

Jokowi 

Indonesia’s Reformasi, Bearing Fruit 16 Years Later

August 6, 2014

Blog

In this year’s hotly contested presidential elections, Indonesia’s democracy went through what probably has been its hardest test yet. Two hours before the General Elections Commission (KPU) announced the final results on July 22, when Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s victory…

Asia-Foundation-60th-anniversary-series 

Q&A with Indonesian Fellow, Women’s Movement Leader Dwi Rubiyanti Kholifah

August 6, 2014

Blog

In Asia editor Alma Freeman recently interviewed Dwi Rubiyanti Kholifah, Indonesia country director for the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), which focuses on the role of women in peace building and inter-faith cooperation. Kholifah was selected as one of the 10 inaugural 2014 Asia Foundation Development Fellows.

PakistanStreetScene 

Media Campaign Ignites Push for Local Elections in Pakistan

July 9, 2014

Blog

There is much talk these days in Pakistan about democracy. Just over a year since national elections marked the first transition in the country’s history from one democratically elected federal government to another, some are already calling for new elections for reasons ranging from alleged malpractice at the 2013 polls…

 

Draft Media Bill Threatens Press Freedom in Timor-Leste

March 19, 2014

Blog

Google “newest democracy” and you are likely to find the young island nation of Timor-Leste among the top hits. Do the same for “media censorship,” however, and the top results are of nations not exactly known for promoting democratic values such as Russia and China. However, right now, Timor-Leste’s national parliament…

NepalImpunityReport 

New Report Examines Impunity and Political Accountability in Nepal

March 12, 2014

Blog

Public disenchantment with Nepal’s political parties has been on the rise since the end of the decade-long conflict in 2006. Discussions about impunity have increased correspondingly, mirroring the growing frustration with the political process. A newspaper uncovers an instance of high-level corruption…

TimorLesteRoadtoASEAN 

Timor-Leste’s Road to ASEAN

February 12, 2014

Blog

The Government of Timor-Leste has indicated that it is committed to joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2015, but as the date for the planned accession draws near, questions regarding the benefits of membership, and the young country’s readiness, remain unanswered.

LaosRiver1 

Photo Blog: Improving Water Quality in Laos

February 12, 2014

Blog

Clean rivers in Laos are critically important to the well-being of local communities and to the country’s national development. Nearly 80 percent of the population of this landlocked Southeast Asian nation depends on river-fed subsistence agriculture for its survival.

Asia-Foundation-60th-anniversary-series 

Indonesia’s Election Activists Fight to End Money Politics

January 22, 2014

Blog

By the end of President Yudhoyono’s term, for the first time, Indonesians will have witnessed their first 10-year stretch of both democracy and stability. While there is no shortage of criticism of what democracy has yet to achieve, the last 10 years have proven a commitment to what the overwhelming majority of citizens…

SichuanEarthquake 

China’s NGOs Essential to Disaster Preparedness

January 8, 2014

Blog

According to latest Ministry of Civil Affairs estimates, natural disasters in China last year killed 1,851 people, left 433 missing, and affected some 390 million people across the country. Indeed, China is one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters – on May 12, 2008, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit Wenchuan City…

 

Mongolian Women Urge Amendments to Domestic Violence Law

December 18, 2013

Blog

Every year, a “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” campaign is held across the globe, including in Mongolia, to increase awareness about this global pandemic. This year in Mongolia, the spotlight was shone on domestic violence…

ADNAssembly1 

Civil Society Leaders Gather in Seoul for Inaugural Asia Democracy Network Assembly

October 30, 2013

Blog

As civil society in Asia has made significant progress over the past several decades, the need for a forum that brings together the major players to focus on key challenges to inclusive and participatory democracy has become increasingly important.