Indonesia’s South-South and Triangular Initiatives: Contributing to Southern Countries Capacity Development Author: Vimala Asty Fitra Tunggal Jaya
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 04:57



Indonesia’s South-South Triangular Initiatives: History and Current Situation

Indonesia, as the 16th biggest economy in the world with stable economic growth around 5.5% in 2015[1], has emerged as one of the important key players in the development cooperation field. Eventhough Indonesia still receives big amounts of officials development assistance (ODA), 64 million USD in 2013[2] , Indonesia has been implementing South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) initiatives for more than thirty years in its commitment to contribute in global development cooperation. According to ILO’s GB (2012), SSTC is a manifestation of solidarity among the countries and peoples of the South that contributes to their national well-being, national and collective self-reliance, and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals.

Indonesia started its involvement in global cooperation architecture in the 1950s when Indonesia -together with India, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka- initiated the first Asian African Conference (AAC) in Bandung, Indonesia, which gathered numbers of Asian and African countries in solidarity to strengthen the cooperation among themselves. The conference outcome documents, called Bandung Communique, outlined the idea of the South as developing countries and the North as developed countries while promoting mutual cooperation among Southern Countries.


[1] OECD Data, 2015

[2] World Development Indicators Data, 2015




In the early 1980s, Indonesia established the Coordinating Committee for International Technical Cooperation (CCITC) which became the focal point for all technical cooperation activities and initiatives with fellow developing countries. Indonesia’s highest profile project in the beginning era of its SSTC was the Apprenticeship Project on Rice Culture in Gambia and Tanzania in 1985[1]. There was modalities combination that reflect the ideal form of SSTC, technical training in Gambia and Tanzania, apprenticeship in Indonesia and provision of equipment. The training centers in Gambia and Tanzania still operates until now, providing human resources development in both countries and also throughout the region. Since then, Indonesia’s SSTC has advanced  to more inclusive form with many variety of fields which championing Indonesia’s strength.

With its shifted status to middle income country and as one of the emerging economies, along with China, Brazil, Russia and India, Indonesia has intensified its SSTC initiatives. As Indonesia is still an ODA recipient country, Indonesia understands the importance of the mutual authority between countries in implementing the development cooperation to reach the designated goals. All of Indonesia’s SSTC initiatives are based on global policy commitment comprises from Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, the Accra Agenda for Action, the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, Nairobi Outcome Documents, in order to achieve the aid effectiveness.

Indonesia’s SSTC experienced major changes in 2014 under the leadership of newly elected President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). Jokowi’s leadership, via nine priorirty programs –called Nawacita- has emphasized the importance of SSTC to his administration and Indonesian’s foreign policy. He called for Indonesia to continue its free and active foreign policy and take part in establishing global peace, with SSTC as one of driving force in Indonesia’s foreign policy. One of Jokowi’s move when he took the office was to put SSTC in the Medium Term National Development Plan 2015-2019 which strengthen the support Indonesia’s role in international development cooperation architecture.

Since its establishment in early 1980s, Indonesia’s SSTC programs scaterred among line ministries in Indonesia, which each ministry has their own authority in the implementation and management of SSTC programs. With the fragmented form, there were no comprehensive national commitment in SSTC which led to the confusion of the projects implementation. Thus,  a centralized working mechanism was needed to manage SSTC to be more inclusive and to avoid program fragmentation. With this intention, Indonesia established the National Coordination Team of South-South and Triangular Cooperation (NCT of SSTC) which consists the main ministries involves in SSTC: Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), Ministry of State Secretariat, Ministry of Finance. NTC of SSTC serves as the national focal point of contact in delivering SSTC, it also coordinates SSTC programs from technical line ministries, it connects and formulates cooperation with the development partners and also plays roles in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of SSTC program.


Indonesia’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation: Capacity Building Programs

Indonesia’s SSTC is a manifestation of its strong commitment and contribution to global development. Indonesia has been differentiating their SSTC initiatives from the traditional form of international cooperation, since Indonesia –which comes from recipient country- has fully understood how to bring more effective partnership with other countries. In Indonesia’s view, SSTC works best for the cause of development because SSTC serves as a model for genuine global partnership for development and can bring more transparency and accountability. SSTC also can be precisely tailored to the needs of each developing country. That’s the reason Indonesia always map the demand needs from other developing countries to match the countries needs with Indonesia’s comparative advantage. The main principle of Indonesia’s SSTC based on equality, mutual respect, mutual benefit and opportunity.

There are three main aspects to Indonesia’s international development cooperation: capacity building, investment leverage and international cooperation.  For the capacity building initiatives, Indonesia implements the transfer of knowledge to fellow developing countries while also increasing its capacity to manage program. In other hand, Indonesia also seek for the investment leverage from the program which include the PPP promotion and private sector involvement that can be expected to increase the Indonesia’s investments in development. Meanwhile, it will have domino  effect across international cooperation activities and strategic contribution to the global forums.

From 2006 to 2014, Indonesia has engaged in SSTC programme worth an estimated  49.8 million USD. The portfolio comprised of more than 700 individuals programme with close to 4,000 participants from Asia and the Middle East (75%), Africa (17%), Pacific (5%), and South America (3%)[2]. There are three flagship programs of Indonesia’s SSTC: development issues, good governance and peace building and economi issues. Each of these issues reflects the comparative advantages of Indonesia and also a field to create regional and global knowledge hub. In 2014, there were 26 SSTC initiatives which absorbed approximately USD 1.18 million from the stage budget, along with the fund from development partners or partner countries.

Indonesia’s main SSTC intiatives is capacity building training for other developing countries, in 2014, 63% of SSTC spending went to trainings. The trainings were conducted by implementing agencies, whether via Indonesian training centers with specific on-site technology or knowledge to share, ready-made training modules, additional implementing capacity for international programs or tailor-made programs. Aside from trainings, there were expert disptached to other countries, scholarships and equipment transfers. More than 400 participants from Asian, African and Middle East countries took part in Indonesia’s SSTC capacity building program in 2014.

Half of the SSTC initiatives in Indonesia was implemented through partnership with development partners, in the form of triangular cooperation. Triangular cooperation involves Southern-driven partnership between two or more developing countries supported by a developed country(ies)/ or multilateral organization(s) to implement development cooperation programmes and projects[3]. Indonesia provides expertise in several fields that have comparative advantage and could be beneficial to other countries, and also provides funding for the training costs. Development partners contributes in several forms, from financial contributions, exchange of experience or expertise to providing technical assistance for capacity building.

In its efforts to contribute to global development, especially after the establishment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, Indonesia has  determined several core fields refflect the strength of Indonesia’s which called flagship programs. There are several flagship programs has been implemented by Indonesia’s SSTC such as Capacity Building on Community Empowerement Program, Artifical Insemination of Beef Cattle, Revitalizaton of Farmer’s Agricultural and Rural Training Center, Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Program, Capactiy Building on Democracy Program and Conflict Resolution, Capacity Building on Trade and Export Program, Infrastructure Program for Road Sector, Population, family planning and reproductive health program, Scholarship for Developing Countries Partnership Program and Capacity Building on Macro-economic, public finance and micro finance program.


Best Practice of Indonesia’s SSTC Capacity Building Program: Artificial Insemination of Beef Cattle

One of the well-known Indonesia’s SSTC Capacity Building is Training Program on Artificial Insemination of Beef Catle, which was inspired and initiated by the successful Artificial Technical Assistance (ATA-233) Project, a joint project run by the Government of Indonesia (Ministry of Agriculture) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which was initiated in 1986 and terminated in 2002. After the know-how technology elaborated by the Japanese experts was successfully passed on their counterparts, Singosari National Artificial Insemination Center (SNAIC) which located in East Java, SNAIC was not only able to apply it, but also improve the technology and knowledge gained from the Japanese experts, thereby playing an important role in promoting the Artificial Insemination (AI) Program in Indonesia.

Through the triangular cooperation with JICA, training on AI of Beef Cattle was conducted from 2007 to 2012. The training course aimed to upgrade and improve the knowledge and technique of inseminators in other developing countries. The training also gives opportunity for participants to exchange ideas, information and experience among them. The training itself was conducted in SNAIC where participants learned about AI and other related skills such as pregnancy diagnose, reproductive disorder, frozen semen handling, bull master, Hay and Silage making, bull salon and also Hoof Trimming. SNAIC and its experts resources were developed through a series technical cooperation programs with the Japanese government.

Throughout the years, there were several countries participated in the training such as Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Timor Leste, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Myanmar and the Republic of Yemen. The training program addressed the issue of livestock improvement in developing countries by promoting optimal conditions for livestock breeding and development, as well as emphasizing the need for every country to train staff in the techniques of AI and other related skills in such way to advance breeding programs in their own countries.

This training program reflected a good triangular cooperation between a common donor country, pivotal southern countries and receiving countries. Good commitments between the parties involved ensured transparency and mutual accountability to produce highly skilled AI personnel. Since its inception, each steps made for the training program were discussed and defined together involving the Ministry of State Secretariat as focal point, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and JICA.

The objectives of the program are to improve the skills of each participants in the techniques of AI and the management of dairy cattle, to improve artifical insemination programs in developing coutnries and to increase farmers’ income. Based on the Ex-Post Evaluation conducted by JICA in 2012, showed that the training program brought positive impact to the livestock breeding in the beneficiary countries. Most training’s participants utilized the training result by supervising and inspecting artificial practice in district areas, coordinating implementation of artificial insemination service, applying the metods from Indonesia in the field and also designing further training on artificial insemination in their countries. In the case of Viet Nam, there were folow-up trainings conducted by alumnus’ instituiton in Viet Nam which developed and implemented artificial insemination for 1,500 technicians in Viet Nam on how to conduct an artifical insemination and improve quaility of cattle seeds[4]. It showed one example that this training program is practical and sustainable in the beneficiary countries. Eventhough one of the objectives of the training program is to increase the farmers’ income, but it’s difficult to measure the impact of the training in the economic terms. It’s assumed that with the progress in the development of cattle breeding program in beneficiary countries, it will also bring an effect to the farmers’ income.

The triangular cooperation between Indonesia and JICA on AI of Beef Cattle training program has stopped in 2012, but the government of Indonesia sees AI of Beef Cattle as one of its strongest capacity building program can be shared to other developing countries. In 2014, Indonesia conducted International Training on Bolstering Artificial Insemination as a Food Security Strategy in the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste, with its own state budget. This program targeted the managerial skills of Timorese government officials working in livestock sector and AI. Nine Timorese officials came to SNAIC to enchance their knowledge so that Timor Leste can implement AI program in national basis to increase livestock production. The impact of this training program hasn’t been measured yet by the government, as the evaluation has not been implemented yet.

Other than that, Indonesia also have triangular cooperation with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in the framework used by IDB called Reverse Linkage, a mechanism for the transfer of knowledge, expertise, and technology among developing countries. The MoU on Reverse Linkage Project on the Strengthening of the Artificial Insemination of Livestock has been signed by the Minister of Agriculture of Indonesia, Minister of Agriculture and Melioration of Kyrgyz Republic and Vice President of IDB in 2015, which focused on strengthening the institutional capacity of management of AI program, upgrading of AI program production value chain, improvement of livestock productivity and improving the distribution network/system of frozen semen products. The training was held in SNAIC and was participated by participants from Kyrgyz Republic which are 23 specialist in the first batch (October 2015), 19 participants in the second batch (November 2015) and 10 participants in the third batch (January 2016).

From the explanation above, it can be seen that the training program on AI of beef cattle is sustainable both in Indonesia and recipient countries. Indonesia as the provider of the expertise keep continues its efforts to share the knowledge on AI to other developing countries in the form triangular cooperation or with its own state budget. In the other hand, the beneficiary countries also implement the knowledge and skilled gained from the training program in their respective countries.


The Way Forward

Indonesia’s SSTC has made contribution for global development, through its capacity buildings programs and other programs. With more than 30 years in implementing programs for fellow developing countries, Indonesia has to start to review where program things are going and how to keep on the track and spinning. Although there have been evaluation formats or mechanisms, they had been those owned by development partners, thus created to fulfill the needs of development partners, not Indonesia’s. Indonesia has created its own evaluation mechanism, but it’s in a very simple format and can’t assess the impact of the program in comprehensive way. The evaluation mechanism also has not able yet to measure the long-term effect –economic and socio- of the training in the beneficiary countries.

The evaluation of SSTC initiatives is becoming crucial for making a better SSTC program, not only for Indonesian side but for beneficiary countries as well. The main advantage is getting feedback or inputs on what has been done, to improve the next or future programs, and adjust them to the needs of the beneficiaries. Result of evaluation can be used for accountability and transparency for the Indonesian public to showcase that the implementing agency is capable, as well as for justification on the effective use of government budget.

As one of the key player in South-South and Triangular Cooperation, Indonesia has to strengthen its insitutional capacity, starting from renew its evaluation guidelines on training program to asses the next priority for its SSTC initiatives. With the plan to create single agencies in implementing Indonesia’s SSTC in the future, there is great possibility to achieve better SSTC which contribute more to global development.



[1] Annual Report of Indonesia’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC), National Coordination Team of SSTC, 2014.

[2] Annual Report of Indonesia’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC), National Coordination Team of SSTC, 2014.

[3] The Framework of operational guidelines on United nations support to South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

[4] Ex-Post Evaluation Report, Training Coure of Artificial Insemination on Dairy Cattle for Developing Countries by Singosari National Artificial Insemination Centre, JICA and Ministry of State Secretariat of Republic of Indonesia, 2012



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