Forum for Young Indonesians: sufficient and healthy food for all

October 29, 2017

The world global food system faces unpredictable challenges. By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to reach 9.8 billion people. This continuous increase in population growth and consumption  will lead to a significant increase in malnutrition, diseases and even deaths if we do not put a sustainable food system in place.

At the Forum for Young Indonesians, held on 22 October 2017 in Jakarta against the backdrop of World Food Day (16 October), health actors from various sectors discussed the current challenges to their respective national sustainable-food programmes.  Hivos was one of the major supporters of the event.

The Forum featured five panels where representatives from government, companies, international and local NGOs, national actors and independent businesspeople discussed different themes revolving around healthy food production, sustainable diets and the environment.

Importance of Indonesian youth

In the first panel, the 11th Indonesian Vice-President, Boediono, highlighted the importance of Indonesian youth in addressing food availability. “Indonesia is blessed with abundant natural resources. It is important for our young generation to be aware of this because one day it will be their responsibility to use these resources and keep them sustainable. And now, we are responsible for educating them; a good generation is one who can create better generations after them.”

The Government of Indonesia has considered the younger generation a pivotal and strategic actor in ensuring food security and achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the country.

Citizens’ diets must also change

Minister of Health, Dr Nila F. Moeloek, underlined the importance of citizens’ diets in achieving sustainable food. “Managing food resources in Indonesia is a huge and long-term undertaking. Hence, creating healthy and high-quality human resources should start in the womb and during the first 1,000 days of life. The stunting prevalence in Indonesia is 27.5% in 2016, which means one out of three children are stunted. Our people’s behaviour in the provision and consumption of food must change. We need to eat more local fruits and vegetables. This has been promoted through, among others, our nation-wide healthy lifestyle campaign (Gerakan Masyarakat Hidup Sehat – Germas)

New Generation for Indonesian Cooking

At the event, Hivos Advocacy Officer for Sustainable Diets for All, Silvana Paath, presented our New Generation of Indonesian Cooking (NGIC) initiative, a collaboration between Hivos and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). NGIC capitalizes on the young generation’s significant role as both trendsetters and consumers in promoting its main message that healthy food can be tasty and hip, too.

At the end of the Forum, Diah S. Saminarsih, Founder of the Center for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI), added that Indonesia will experience a demographic peak from 2020 to 2035, when the number of people of productive ages will reach a historical high. Therefore, all stakeholders must ensure that the country can count on healthy and high-quality young citizens as active development actors.

President Widodo to highlight importance of sustainable diets

The importance of sustainability, healthy diets, and food-security will also be highlighted by the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, when he gives the opening speech at the inaugural Asia Pacific Food Forum in Jakarta, 30-31 October 2017. Hivos Southeast Asia will likewise play a key role in this event, namely by co-hosting a side event titled ‘Growing cities, better diets: Tackling food and nutrition insecurity in the urban context’. As with NGIC, this forms part of various Hivos global initiatives for sustainable food and cities.