Case Study: Participatory Planning and Good Governance (Jakarta, Indonesia)

2019-01-16 00:00:00

By Teguh Kuirawan / University of Indonesia

Jakarta was shortlisted for the 3rd Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation in 2016. This study tour took place during September 4th and 5th, 2017.

The Special Capital City of Jakarta Province is the capital city of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. Because of its status as the Capital City of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta has a number of specificities such as exercising regional autonomy. In Jakarta, autonomy is only granted to the provincial level while municipalities and regencies under it are only administrative areas and have no autonomy over themselves. This is of course very different from other provinces where regencies and municipalities are also autonomous. 

Because of its specificity, the Governor and Vice Governors of Jakarta are directly elected by the people while the Mayors and Regents are appointed by the Governor. In addition, the Regional People's Legislative Assembly (DPRD) – local parliament – only exists at the provincial level. DPRD members are also elected by the people.

The specificity of Jakarta will of course give color to the implementation of various government programs and initiatives including the initiative of the Jakarta Participatory Planning and Good Governance.


This initiative of the Jakarta is closely linked to Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals: "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable".

In terms of ecology (environment), the initiative has links to the issues of Water and Air, Habitat and Settlements, and Physical Health and Food. The focuses of each issue are as follows.

  • Water and Air: alleviating and exterminating of clogging of water runoff (drainage) infrastructure in residential areas

  • Habitat and Settlements: improving the environmental conditions of the settlements

  • Physical Health and Food: increasing the physical conditions and safety of residential environments and thus ensuring a healthier and safer life for the population.

The Government of the Jakarta also considers the initiative related to Materials and Energy as well as Emission and Waste

  • Materials and Energy: procuring or maintaining city lighting to decrease the usage of electricity power.

  • Emission and Waste: procuring compost bin to decrease amount of waste especially organic waste

As regards economics, the initiative is associated with Labor and Welfare as well as Wealth and Distribution. 

  • Labor and Welfare: building competence of the workforce and improving their career prospects

  • Wealth and Distribution: increasing business opportunities and reducing unemployment

By the Government of Jakarta, the initiative is also  relevant to Production and Resourcing, and Technology and Infrastructure.

  • Production and Resourcing: training of food processing, like fish and spices, for citizens and enhancing income-generation possibilities in the urban agriculture development

  • Technology and Infrastructure: maintaining the road conditions and increasing economic activities

Regarding governance (politics), the initiative is linked to Organization and Governance, Communication and Critique, and Ethics and Accountability.

  • Organization and Governance: building a more open government and fostering public participation in the implementation of development

  • Communication and Critique: incorporating people's aspirations and thus enhancing public trust in the government

  • Ethics and Accountability: increasing transparency of development planning and improving community supervision on development.

In terms of culture and social engagement, the initiative has connections to Identity and Engagement, and Emotional Wellbeing and Health. 

  • Identity and Engagement: developing programs that better suit the needs of the community

  • Emotional Wellbeing and Health: enhancing public ownership of the government


This initiative is the use of online applications in the process of drafting a local government work plan, which is an annual routine planning activity. This application is referred to as e-Musrenbang or Electronic Musrenbang. Musrenbang itself is a term for development planning deliberation.

Based on the provisions of Act Number 25 Year 2004 on “National Development Planning System”, Musrenbang is a forum held among key actors in order to draw up a regional development plan. The Act also mandates the optimization of community participation in the development planning process.

To carry out the regional development planning process, Jakarta also drew up a regional regulation, namely “Local Regulation Number 14 Year 2011 on Integrated Planning and Budgeting System”, at the local level. Based on this local regulation, sub-district governments involve the local community with community neighborhood (RW) forums for input in its own work plan, which is then incorporated into the work plan of the districts, municipalities/regencies, and finally to Jakarta.

Prior to the community neighborhood (RW) forum, community leaders (RW Chairs) are expected to capture the aspirations of their citizens on various proposals of annual development activities. E-Musrenbang is developed by Jakarta in order to provide space for public participation in the process of collecting the aspirations of the community. The results of community participation through e-Musrenbang will then be discussed during the community neighborhood (RW) forum, along with the next stage of preparation process for a work plan of the local government.

E-Musrenbang was developed by Jakarta in 2015 and continues getting updates. The initial e-Musrenbang application in 2015 was not opened up to direct community participation. The purpose was to facilitate community leaders (RW Chairs). In 2017, the application allows the general public to enter proposals for development activities.


Given the condition of Jakarta as a mega city, the application of e-Musrenbang is promising for the active involvement of the community in development planning. Jakarta is currently inhabited by 10,277,628 residents (2016) in an area of 7,639.83 square kilometers. Jakarta has 5 administrative municipalities and 1 administrative regency, 44 districts and 267 sub-districts. In community level, there are 2,726 communities’ neighborhood (RW) and more than 30,000 neighborhood units (RT).

Most of Jakarta’s residents are busy and hence are not likely to directly attend community meetings in both neighborhood units (RT) and community neighborhoods (RW), where discussion of proposed annual development activities of the community usually take place. Therefore, the use of e-Musrenbang application to provide direct access to participation turns out very helpful.

Jakarta also have a large funding capacity for development activities. In 2016, per capita GDRP of Jakarta registered IDR 147.06 million (or USD 10,959.90) while per capita GDP of Indonesia stood at IDR 207.99 million (or USD 15,500.82). This figure is very large compared with other Indonesian regions. Therefore, it is important for large amounts of development funds to be spent in accordance with community needs; the application of e-Musrenbang provides opportunities for community participation in the development planning process.


The implementation of this initiative has been met with a number of issues in Internet, usage and publicity. In order for e-Musrenbang to have more adequate community participation, these obstacles must be dealt with.

In Jakarta, there are still areas that do not have adequate internet connection, for instance, Thousand Islands Regency. Thus, the residents there will find it difficult to access the application.

Besides, many community leaders (RW Chairs) still lack the necessary knowledge and skills in using computers and the Internet. Jakarta has conducted only one training session to these RW Chairs. There is still need for systematic efforts to improve the digital-capacity of RW Chairs so that they do not need to request the assistance of sub-district officers.

Another obstacle lies in publicity: many people in Jakarta do not know about the existence of this e-Musrenbang application. Publicity of the application is on a stratified basis. That is to say, Jakarta spreads the word to its municipalities/regency, and the municipalities/regency to the districts and sub-districts. Finally, the communities get to know about the application through the governments of the districts and sub-districts. However, this process does not work well. Many Jakarta residents do not know about e-Musrenbang.


There are two points in particular that make this initiative innovative: 1) allowing people to provide inputs to development planning online using e-Musrenbang application directly; and 2) enabling and mandating community participation in development planning. Although e-Musrenbang is also applied in a few other regions in Indonesia, Jakarta stands out by allowing the general public to raise proposals for the directly development plan, instead of through community leaders who usually make the proposals after deliberations at neighborhood community meetings.

Other innovations of the initiative include use of templates, submitting proposals throughout the year, simple submitting process, use of Identity Number (NIK) and location tagging.

The general public can make their proposals throughout the year. If the proposals are submitted after the deadline of the Musrenbang activity, then they will be included in next year’s Musrenbang. To access the application, only the NIK is needed, which guarantees the proposals are made by the residents of Jakarta. While submitting the proposal, the user has to conform to a template. This ensures that the proposals conform to certain technical standard and simplifies the verification process, thus reducing costs. In addition to the template, it is also required to specify, with geotagging, the location where programs will be carried out. Geotagging also helps the government verify and validate the proposals and relate it to the conditions of the surrounding environment.

After residents submit their proposals, the community neighborhood forum will discuss the proposals. Those approved by the forum will then be submitted to the sub-district government. After deliberations at each level, some proposals will find their way up to the district government, the municipal/regency government, and finally the Government of Jakarta. 

In determining whether a community proposal can be implemented, governments from sub-district to provincial level uses a series of indicators, such as

(1) whether the proposal meets technical requirements;

(2) whether the proposal is duplicated;

(3) whether the proposal requires immediate attention (will be implemented through officers handling infrastructure and public facilities if it does);

(4) whether the proposal can be implemented through Corporate Social Responsibility; and

(5) whether the proposal concerns the Central Government Authority.

Implementation on community proposals is also determined considering the analysis of community complaints submitted through the QLUE application. The analysis is also used to determine the priority of development programs.

Feedback from many regional development planning entities suggests that most of the proposals submitted by the community concern physical development instead of non-physical, such as social and cultural, development. Jakarta is no exception to this. Currently, Jakarta has priorities for human-first development. To accommodate these development priorities and raise people’s awareness of social development, there is a “social development” menu that can be selected In the e-Musrenbang application. For example, the “proposed development” menu in the community training form includes various skill options, driving, English, etc. Furthermore, the sub-district government is also assigned to advise and raise people’s awareness about social development when discussing proposals in the community neighborhood forums.

Jakarta recognizes that the involvement of community leaders and the use of web-based applications is the key to successful implementation of this initiative. Other supporting factors include

  • understanding of community leaders to use the application to input all proposals from the community in their respective territories, 

  • ability of government officials to inform residents of the mechanisms and procedures of submitting proposals during publicity events,

  • availability of the Internet in each region, and

  • capacity of a server to store thousands of proposals.

During the process, NGOs, experts and academics also provide input to improve the proposals, as material to the city’s planning documents. 

A few improvements have been made to e-Musrenbang since 2015. In 2015, there was a quota system, where each community neighborhood was given a maximum number of the proposals it can submit. In 2016, A menu system for submitting proposals was added while the quota system was removed. This change was much welcomed, and the number of proposals submitted jumped. The year 2016 received 50,213 proposals, of which 48,458 proposals are from community neighborhoods. In 2017, a couple of new features were introduced, including templates, direct participation throughout the year, identification of NIK and geotagging. The proposing procedure gets more standardized, and thus a bit more demanding. As a result of such changes, The number of proposals in 2017 decreased to 29,480.

Implementation of e-Musrenbang is also supported by other applications like QLUE, an application to file complaints and do e-budgeting. QLUE is part of Jakarta’s effort toward a smart city. The results of the QLUE application are also used in determining planning priorities. Complaints of the residents will be analyzed and become inputs for the governments’ development planning. Starting in 2017, the results of e-Musrenbang are also synchronized with e-budgeting. With this synchronization, people can see how their proposals are translated in e-budgeting, which is only accessible to the government but viewable to the public.

Lessons Learned 

E-Musrenbang is an application in the development planning process and is used by many regions in Indonesia as well as at the national level. What distinguishes the implementation of e-Musrenbang in Jakarta with other regions is the direct access for the general public to submit proposals of development. Other regions such as Municipality of Surabaya has not yet provided this access in their e-Musrenbang application. Therefore, what Jakarta has done through their e-Musrenbang since 2017 can be regarded as an innovation.


Jakarta’s employment of the e-Musrenbang application is highly replicable in various other cities. The most important thing of implementing such a project is the political will the government has to involve the active participation of the community in the development planning process. With the political will, the government will find the means to achieve this goal. If it is decided that electronic means should be employed, then there needs to be an e-government application architecture that enables direct participation for the community. In order to encourage wider community participation, adequate publicity and promotion of the application is required. Additionally, connectivity issues and public access to the internet also need to be ensured. Moreover, digital literacy is a key element to be taken into consideration. It is also suggested that mobile applications be developed alongside so that the public can access it wherever and whenever. Last but not least, interoperability with other applications or systems should be considered as well, since e-Musrenbang applications are very likely to be related to other applications such as budgets and public complaints.