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Recognizing the Sanitation ‘Swamp’ in Indonesia – Alternate Executive Summary

This executive summary is originally part of my thesis. I extend the executive summary for more context.

Sanitation should be made accessible to everyone. It is fundamental for our dignity and privacy. As the centralized government has been observed to be limited in addressing complex problems, many developing countries resorted to decentralization. In theory, decentralization can improve the provision of public goods and services, including sanitation. Social and political factors are believed to be the leading cause of limiting the progress in the sanitation sector. Multiple studies have demonstrated the importance of social networks in sanitation governance. We propose to further explore the interaction between actors based on key activities in sanitation sectors. We choose Jakarta, Indonesia, as our case study. Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is inhabited by 10.56 million people (measured in September 2020). It is estimated that 86% of the population has not received access to properly managed domestic wastewater.

The main research question to be answered is “How do the interactions among various actors influence sanitation service provision in Jakarta?”. This thesis explores the influence of multiple key activities to contextualize the current provision of sanitation services in Jakarta, Indonesia. We use the Network of Adjacent Action Situations (NAAS) framework proposed by McGinnis (2011). To identify the action situations, we use the sanitation service delivery function categories used by Mason et al. (2020). The sanitation service systems encompass the provision of related infrastructure, namely sewer network, septic tank, vacuum truck, sewage treatment plant, and fecal sludge treatment plants.

Constitutionally, the provision of sanitation services in Indonesia is carried out by provincial and district governments. The provision started to be mandated by minimum public good and service standards in 2014. There is no sanitation law, nor it is integrated with the latest water resource law. Sanitation policies are mainly initiated on the national level. They largely came from four actors: (1) Ministry of Public Works and Housing, (2) Ministry of Health, (3) Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and (4) National Sanitation Working Group which comprise aforementioned ministries and other ministries. These three aforementioned ministries are the most active for sanitation service provision in the national stakeholders.

In the subnational government, Jakarta Province, PD PAL Jaya is the technical operator of major sanitation infrastructures in Jakarta. The DKIJ Water Resource Agency is the counterpart of PD PAL Jaya in terms of sanitation service development. The development is additionally influenced by the DKIJ Regional Development Planning Agency, the governor, and the Governor Advisory Team. The DKIJ Environmental Agency is the enforcer of the wastewater standard.

This thesis presents seven action situations (AS) constituting the NAAS of Jakarta’s sanitation service intended to describe the current sanitation governance: the National Policy AS, the Jakarta Policy AS, the National Regulation AS, the Jakarta Regulation AS, the National Financing AS, the Jakarta Financing AS, and the Jakarta Production & Provision AS. We found two leverage points where the outcome could cascade over to most other action situations. These are Jakarta Policy AS, which is mostly about planning, and the Jakarta Production & Provision AS which is concerned with implementation.

The Ministry of Public Works and Housing, PD PAL Jaya, the DKIJ Water Resource Agency, and the DKIJ Environmental Agency are found to be the most involved based on the NAAS diagram. Their capacity and knowledge would influence most action situations.

Due to a low number of interviews conducted in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, little can be said whether actors’ interaction in Jakarta influences the provision of sanitation service in a positive way or a negative way. Actors’ interaction is likely to delay sanitation service development in Jakarta.

We do not find conflicts of value or approach between actors in our case study. We believe that they do not face conflict. Rather, executive agencies face conflict across sectors which might involve limited resource conflicts between agencies such as land, or within agencies that have to carry out multiple functions. It is worth noting that we could not assess how the consensus is reached. To maintain engagement, we recommend framing sanitation projects with the intention of materializing the benefit for the short-term solution and add human water cycle discourse into day-to-day conversations for the long-term solution to improve coordination of sanitation service provision.

The relevance of the present work is twofold. One, this is the first attempt to implement the NAAS framework in the sanitation sector of developing countries. Once implemented, the framework arguably would be easier to reapply in another similar context. Different urban areas in Southeast Asia and other developing countries could benefit from applying this framework. Two, we bridge the sanitation research field and public governance research field. Even though institutional and governance issues are often discussed in the sanitation research field, the sanitation governance knowledge body is isolated from the public governance research field.