Sustainable Development Solutions Network

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The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) initiative was launched in 2012. It operates under the auspices of the United Nations to mobilize scientific and technical expertise in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of the global network, SDSN South-East Asia (SDSN-SEA) mobilizes universities, other knowledge institutions as well as civil societies of South East Asia to support the SDGs.[1] The network is headquartered in Indonesia and chaired by the United in Diversity (UID) Foundation

The SDSN-SEA Leadership Council guides SDSN-SEA in the development of its programs to champion sustainable development initiatives. SDSN-SEA facilitates tri-sector partnerships with governments, businesses, and civil societies as well as align regional and international multi-stakeholder collaborations to scale innovative SDG solutions for South-East Asia.

SDSN Southeast Asia Regional Hub (SDSN-SEA)[edit]

SDSN networks around the world are platforms to promote and share sustainable development solutions that can be put into practice. They are crucial for the continued improvement of emerging economies in ASEAN in a way that minimizes negative impact on the environment, generates employment and inclusive growth, and helps to eradicate poverty.

SDSN-SEA and SDSN Indonesia were launched in October 2013 by the then President of the Republic of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with Prof Jeffrey Sachs (Director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University and Special Consultant to UN Director-General Ban Ki-moon) and Mari Pangestu (the then Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia).

The entire organization is housed under UID Foundation co-founded by Cherie Nursalim, Vice Chairman GITI Group, Vice Chair International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The President of UID Foundation is former Minister of Trade, Mari Elka Pangestu. Both are members of the SDSN Leadership Council

Tri Hita Karana’ Philosophy and the SDSN Goals[edit]

“Humanitarian response, sustainable development and sustaining peace are three sides of the same triangle”.

UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterre, December 2017

SDSN-SEA seeks to promote the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals through the Balinese cultural lens of “Tri Hita Karana”, which literally means “Three Ways to Happiness” through the harmonies of people with people, people with nature and people with the spiritual.

The Tri Hita Karana SDG Pyramid concept aligns the 17 Goals in a holistic three tiers signifying the need for a harmonious relationship within and across the three realms to create a better and happier world.[2]

The first ten Goals (SDG 1 to 10) represent the harmony of people with people and address social issues such as poverty, education, and health. The next five Goals (SDG 11 to 15) represent harmony with nature and address sustainability in urbanization, climate change, and biodiversity. Finally, the last two Goals (SDG 16 & 17) represent harmony with the spiritual calling for inner strength and faith to bridge peace and collaboration within and across sectors and countries.

The harmonies across the three realms of social, ecological and the spiritual represent universal values. These same values are shared by other cultures such as the Chinese, Hindu, Islam and Greek for the attainment of peace and prosperity.

The bridging of these pathways — the social, ecological and spiritual — in bringing forth the happiness of individuals and societies form the core of many of SDSN-SEA's programs.

2014 Regional Workshop (Partnership for Solutions)[edit]

SDSN Regional Workshop (SEA, Indonesia and Australia / Pacific)

The first Regional Workshop was jointly hosted by SDSN-SEA, SDSN Indonesia and SDSN Australia / Pacific. It was held in Jakarta in November 2014 and brought together leaders and experts from academia, government, business and civil society.

The main partner was the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia[3] led by Minister Siti Nurbaya. Organizing partners were the University Indonesia Research Center for Climate Change, United in Diversity Forum (UID), Monash University in partnership with the Carbon War Room, the Australia–Indonesia Centre and the Harold Mitchell Foundation.

The regional workshop primarily focused on identifying an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for Indonesia. It also looked at how progress can be measured, focusing especially on the current UN proposal for the Sustainable Development Goals.[4] Much of the discussion was on Indonesia's future energy needs, identifying how they can be met in line with decarbonizing the energy system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and developing plans for collaborative solution initiatives.

Nugroho Indrio, Senior advisor to Minister of Transportation, Republic of Indonesia Chaired "Transportation" group

UID-SDSN Award[edit]

UID-SDSN Indonesia award is an initiative to encourage organisations across Indonesia to submit their sustainable solutions, which must be in line with United Nations sustainable goals. Projects have to be Indonesia-based, demonstrate some initial success, yet have the potential to be scaled up, adapted or replicated. The winner receives a cash award, mentoring advice, a vast network of assistance and media exposure.

Winner 1.0: Community Road Paving, Bojonegoro, Java

A community-driven and community-built system for repairing and replacing the roads in Bojonegoro.

Winner 2.0: The Learning Farm, Java

The Learning Farm is a residential organic farm teaching life skills and farming to vulnerable youth and refugees.

Winner 3.0: Bintang Sejahtera Waste, Lombok

Bank Sampah Bintang Sejahtera is a local organization in Lombok focused on waste management, and in creating jobs for the surrounding underprivileged communities.

Youth Action Forum[edit]

Youth Action Forum is a platform for young people (16–30 years old) to gather, share insights, knowledge, experiences, wisdom and ideas; to collaborate under the spirit of unity for a better future; to learn from one another and produce creative and fundamental solutions to answer the most pressing problems of society in an inclusive, holistic and sustainable way. The forum consists of a five-day workshop session where participants are equipped with skills to trigger personal and inclusive social transformation.

Happiness Festival[edit]

The Happiness Festival is hosted annually in Jakarta with support from the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), SDSN Southeast Asia, Project Semesta, and United in Diversity (UID). The festival is inspired by the SDG Pyramid to Happiness, an initiative led by the UID which frames the 17 SDGs according to the three Pathways to Happiness rooted in the ancient Balinese belief of Tri Hita Karana. The Happiness Festival aims to encourage every level of society and stakeholders to actively participate and take action in fulfilling the SDGs and solve the disharmony of social, ecological, and spiritual relationships occurring in Indonesia.

Re-weaving Indonesia's Future Dialogue “Merajut Masa Depan Indonesia”[edit]

The purpose of the Future Dialogue is to rebuild trust among the diverse communities and institutions of Indonesia to achieve a future for our common good, aligned with the UID vision defined at its conception 15 years ago. At the time, in the aftermath of the 1998 financial crises and the Bali Bomb tragedy, UID was founded to rebuild trust between the Government, the business sector, and the civil society, along with their respective related institutions.

  • How can we collectively prepare Indonesian human resources to readily respond to the Government's aspirations for national character building?
  • How can the private sector and civil society work hand-in-hand in creating a sustainable, just and inclusive country?
  • How do we learn to listen and understand the aspirations of the younger generations who will inherit all that we have left behind?
  • How can the private sector and the business community adopt ethical and responsible business practices in order to create a Better Business Better World --- a sustainable and happy world for all. 

The dialogue uses an approach adopted by UID for the past 15 years in its tri-sector (Government - Business - Civil Society) leadership training programmes, namely the Theory U and Systems approach of Open Mind - Open Heart - Open Will. The dialogue evokes, amongst others, the local spirit of "gotong royong" (the voluntary act of shouldering and solving problems together) and tolerance which have been the sustaining pillars of Indonesia's resilience.

The THK Bali Forum[edit]

The ‘Tri Hita Karana (THK) Forum for Sustainable Development’ with the theme of ‘Blended Finance and Innovation for Better Business Better World’ was launched in Bali around the 2018 IMF World Bank Annual Meetings. It takes place every two years. Held under the patronage of the Government of Indonesia, the aim of the THK Forum is to accelerate global action for the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the use of blended financing to mobilize private sector engagement. The first forum launched over 30 high impact projects, and mobilized up to US$10 billion for priority SDGs sectors including green infrastructure, sustainable land use, oceans, women, ecotourism and innovation in Indonesia and globally.

Notable initiatives launched or catalysed by the THK Forum include:

  1. A first-of-its-kind integrated funding platform “SDG Indonesia One”. This was launched by PT SMI, Indonesia's infrastructure finance unit under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance, to support large-scale sustainable infrastructure projects in Indonesia. SDG Indonesia One has since raised $2.46 billion in commitment.
  2. The Billion Dollar Fund for Women. This is a global consortium of venture funds tackling the gender funding gap. Launched with around US$500 million, the initiative has already exceeded its US$1 billion target. It has seen a number of investments in high impact women-funded companies, including a number of high impact companies in Indonesia.
  3. The Tri Hita Karana Roadmap for Blended Finance. This is a set of principles championed by the Indonesian Government and THK partners which seek to define a shared value system for the effective deployment of blended finance to support the delivery of the SDGs.

The Blended Finance and Innovation Institute (BFI)[edit]

The ambitious BFI Institute aims to overcome barriers that prevent capital from flowing to SDG-related projects in emerging markets. The BFI Institute hopes to align global partners to support the incubation of innovative financing for inclusive business and the SDGs, seeks to overcome barriers to investing in high-impact sectors in emerging markets, creates a hub of best practice for developing country infrastructure finance institutions, accelerates on-ground pipeline development (especially for natural solutions, clean energy and circular economy), and convenes leaders around catalytic financial instruments to crowd in commercial investment at scale. The institute will create shared institutional learnings across stakeholders, match-make capital to projects, catalyse leadership and forge new collaboration between public, private, civil society and academia to scale up innovation and investment for sustainable and inclusive development. The BFI Institute is expected to be officially launched in November 2020.


IDEAS which stands for (Innovative, Dynamic, Education and Action for Sustainability) is a collaboration between MIT and UID to implement the goals in actionable projects using the philosophy of U-theory. IDEAS Indonesia's work is aligned with SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals) asnd focuses on developing collective leadership capacity across the pillars of society. Knowing how massive and complex are our challenges of sustainable development, this capacity is critical to accelerate impact through impactful collaboration and communication between government, business, and civil society.

In collaboration with MIT Sloan School of Management, each cohort of IDEAS Indonesia takes thirty prominent society leaders and thought influencers from all walks of life, crossing disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, and guides them on a learning journey to investigate deeply the systemic forces operating on our current reality, with a special focus on reflective process to understand how each sector can play a role in co-shaping a different future. These insights then serve as a guide to hatch and incubate collaborative solutions to overcome systemic hurdles holding back our society from reaching its highest future potentials as envisioned with the SDG goals.

The program also relies on a strategy of growing a critical mass of alumni comprising leaders with the capacity to initiate and foster collaborative action. As IDEAS Indonesia grows, its strong alumni has continued to steward other initiatives in their own context and sector, slowly evolving society with them.


  1. ^ "Indicators for Sustainable Development Goals" (PDF).
  2. ^ "The SDG Pyramid of Happiness and Kura Kura Bali". Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC). Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  3. ^ "Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Republic Indonesia website".
  4. ^ "UN proposal on Sustainable development goals".

External links[edit]