Promoting Central and Local Government Institutional Capacity for Just Transition

press release

Jakarta, October 26, 2023 – The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), conducted a collaborative study on the analysis of central and local government institutional capacity for sustainable coal transition in Indonesia. 

The preliminary findings of this study show that of the eight ideal capacities that governments must possess to facilitate the energy transition, national and local governments have different strengths in their ability. The national government understands the energy transition well, while local governments have sufficient capacity to implement it. However, national and local governments still require capacity building in seven other abilities to support the energy transition successfully.

Wira Swadana, Program Manager of Green Economy, IESR, mentioned that a just energy transition requires careful planning and implementation. For this reason, qualified and complementary capacities and close collaboration between the national and local governments are crucial. 

“The national government can play its role in establishing regulations that support the implementation of an equitable energy transition, attracting investment and financing the energy transition through various international cooperation. Meanwhile, local governments can act as coordinators and stimulators in the energy transition process because they are better positioned to understand the field conditions and directly interact with citizens,” said Wira Swadana at the National Workshop on Equitable Transition: Building Capacity for Sustainable Coal Transition in Indonesia.

IESR assessed eight government capacities: awareness, technical knowledge, stakeholder engagement, communication, multilevel networking, finance, instrumental mastery in organizational structuring and strengthening, and implementing the energy transition. Based on IESR’s initial analysis, the national government needs capacity building in technical knowledge, communication, and networking. Meanwhile, local governments must also improve technical knowledge about the energy transition, finance, and authority, including instrumental capacity.

Martha Jesica, Social and Economic Analyst at IESR, explained three major gaps in the capacity building of the government at the national and regional levels. First, the rapid transfer of labor that limits the exchange of information. Second, there needs to be more awareness about the impact of coal and its implications on economic development. Third, multilevel communication between governments is hindered by complex bureaucratic processes.

“To address the capacity gap in technical knowledge among national and local government, shifting from a coal-centered economy to a more sustainable and equitable green economy is imperative because future economic growth and development are moving towards sustainability and equitable development. Furthermore, it is important to involve actors outside the government in planning, such as civil society groups at both the national and local levels, to facilitate knowledge exchange about this energy transition,” Martha said. 

Stefan Bößner, Researcher at Stockholm Environment Institute, said that the government can enhance its capacity to create policies and regulations supporting low-carbon initiatives and technologies. He also mentioned that economic diversification is a key solution to making an equitable energy transition. 

“These economic diversification options are available in Indonesia. For example, coal-producing regions can develop environmental tourism and use mining sites for solar energy installations or as energy storage,” Stefan said.