News

Government of Indonesia Commits to End Child Marriage

5 February 2020
Suharso Monoarfa, Minister of National Development Planning/Bappenas handing over the National Strategy on the Prevention of Child Marriage to UNFPA Representative, Anjali Sen. (Photo: UNFPA/Lucky Putra)

Jakarta, 5 February 2020

Child marriage is a prevalent and serious problem in Indonesia. According to the 2018 Socio-economic National Survey (Susenas), one in every nine girls aged 20-24 married before the age of 18. Its absolute number is around 1.2 million, manifesting the 8th highest number of child marriages in the world. Child marriage is a complex problem as it is influenced by several factors, such as culture, education, socio-economics, and religious interpretation. Therefore a multi-dimensional approach is needed to address child marriage in Indonesia. 

“We need to strengthen our coordination and synergy as well as to involve multi-stakeholders in addressing child marriage,” said Suharso Monoarfa, Minister of National Development Planning/Bappenas during the launch of National Strategy on the Prevention of Child Marriage, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 in Jakarta. “As instructed by President Jokowi, child marriage must be stopped. Prevention of child marriage is an action that cannot be delayed. Stop child marriage now!”, he added.

The reduction of child marriage is one of the targets set in the National Mid-term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020 – 2024. In the plan, the Government plans to decrease the current child marriage prevalence from 11.2% (2018) to 8.74% by 2024. The Government is also targeting to reduce it to 6.94% by 2030 in its effort to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 
The National Strategy on the Prevention of Child Marriage in Indonesia was developed by representatives from government institutions, NGOs, development partners, religious groups, academia, and youth groups. The development of the national strategy was technically supported by UNFPA, UNICEF, DFAT, and the Government of Canada.
 

The strategy has five dimensions. The first dimension is optimizing the capacity of the children themselves so that they have the resilience and be able to serve as agents of change. The second is an environment that is conducive to prevent child marriage. The third is increasing accessibility and expansion of services. The fourth dimension is strengthening regulations and institutions’ capacity. The fifth dimension is strengthening coordination and synergy among different stakeholders to address child marriage. 

I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati, Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, who was also present during the launch, emphasized its importance. “Child marriage is a serious issue as it impacts girls and women’s lives, resulting in poorer health and education outcomes, reduced employability, and higher risks to abuse and violence.”

She reiterated the necessity for inter-agency collaboration and the synergy of different actors to address this issue. “Families, schools, religious groups, legal actors, health actors, communities, regions, private sectors, non-government, and international organizations will have different roles to play. We will not be able to eradicate child marriage without any actor. This is our unpostponable agenda, and we will collaborate and accelerate together.”

At the end of the launch, different stakeholders from national, provincial, district levels conveyed their commitment to implement the strategy to end child marriage in Indonesia.

 

Megumi Uchino, Humanitarian Programme Analyst, UNFPA Indonesia