Brief report on plenary round table session on day 2 January 28, 9.25-10.45 AM: “Research –Markets – Politics: Good Governance and Governing Health”
Chaired by prof Irawan Yusuf (Universitas Hasanudin) and prof Henk Schulte Nordholt (KITLV/Leiden).
Ideally scientists identify a societal problem and circulate their findings among their colleagues and present their recommendations to policy makers, after which these policy makers can implement new scientific based policies. This seldom occurs. Good findings are often only partially or not implemented, and if implemented they have unintended outcomes.
This round table aimed to discuss three examples of the relationship between research and policy implementation and the valorization of social science research.
The format of this meeting was a round table in which participants joined the discussion with brief statements while the chairs moderated a quick Q&A exchange of ideas.
1. Prof Gerry van Klinken (KITLV), Arianto Sangaji (University of York) and dr Tickson (UNHAS) discussed aspects administrative decentralization in Indonesia, which promised a. o. good governance and more democracy. Van Klinken explained the background of communal violence in the Moluccas, Central Sulawesi and Kalimantan, and pointed at the instrumental role of local elites in these conflicts. To his surprise local ‘stakeholders’ were not interested to discuss their role in the conflicts but pointed at outside forces which had caused the violence. A similar response was given by NGO’s. According to Arianto Sangaji local activists were more inclined to identify abstract outside forces – capitalism, the military etc – as main causes of violence instead of searching for local actors. Dr Tickson brought forward that decentralization failed in many parts due to weak local cultures. This statement caused considerable debate about the question to what extent ‘culture’ can be identified as an actor in local politics, an explanation for democratic failures, and to what extent ‘culture’ can also be used by perpetrators of violence and corruption to deny responsibility for their actions (“it is our culture….”). A lively debate with the audience demonstrated that this is a sensitive issue.
2. Dr Jacueline Vel (VVI, Leiden) and Dr Suraya Affif discussed the rise and decline of Jatropha – a wonder plant among the biofuels. It is a story of a hype that promised a golden future for poor peasants but eventually did not produce any results at all. There was no success, so what was left of the research project? The unexpected outcome was that the Jatropha hype offered very good insights into the socio political dynamics of this hype and the extent to which various stakeholders managed to make considerable profits. The discussions was continued in a separate session.
3. Prof Irawan Yusuf discussed with dr Korrie de Koning (KIT, Amsterdam), Dr Sudirman Nasir and prof Alimin Maidin (both UNHAS) the implementation ad impact of new health policies and especially the introduction of new universal health insurances. Aspects that were discussed included the role of the way insurance policies need to be rooted in local contexts, how corruption enters the implementation and the potential discrepancies between financial demands by hospitals and limited funds offered by insurances.
The round table format is recommended for next meetings as it offers both quick introductions to relevant themes and lively debates.
Dr. Din Syafruddin and Prof. Bambang asking a question.