The term “public participation” has been popular in Indonesia since the reform era started in 1998. Nowadays it is a ubiquitous feature of government policy and practice, both at the central and local levels, including in managing development planning. Based on observations of Musrenbang, a multi-stakeholder public consultation forum for discussion of development issues, this study highlights key findings of how the approach actually works. Democracy and decentralization are crucial as the main foundations to support genuine public participation, as well as some other technical necessities. As genuine public participation in Indonesia is a relatively new approach, the implementation of participatory governance is somewhat vague. Even when democratic methods are adopted, in practice it is difficult for some groups, particularly those who are marginalised in society, to participate and get their voices heard. However, it should be noted that participative development planning itself is a long and complex activity with contested views about the balance of community empowerment versus an ‘output-based’ planning process. The institutionalisation of the approach through laws and regulations within the context of a newly but profoundly democratised and decentralised governance in Indonesia deserves continuous assessment to foster improvement.
|Keywords:||Decentralization, Public Participation, Development Planning, Gender, Poverty|
Postgraduate Student, Department of Politics, School of Political and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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