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Eps. 0 Townhall Muda and the Idea of “Collaborative Hub”

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Rethinking Governance amid a Global Future Crisis

Global catastrophes such as the COVID-19 pandemic, geo-economic tensions, and extreme heat waves are recent reminders that our world is not in a state of business-as-usual. We must not be complacent in the face of existential threats to our people and planet.
On the climate crisis, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned the world in 2021 that humanity is entering a ‘Code Red’ situation if we can not decelerate the warming earth before 2030.
“a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
March 2020 was a reminder that the world is just as vulnerable to a global health crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic led to 761.402.282 confirmed cases and 6.887.000 loss of lives worldwide.
If we continue the business-as-usual route, crisis over crisis will continue to challenge our future and put humanity on the verge of existential crisis. How we choose to govern our future planet and future talent becomes critical.
Seizing the Momentum for Collaborative Governance
Today’s governance is often disjointed and marked with silos. Public, private, and community sectors rarely work together meaningfully to realize a shared vision. Ideas are difficult to translate into actions; resources are plenty but scattered.
The shift from business-as-usual governance into “Collaborative Governance” should become our shared priority. As shown during the COVID-19 pandemic, our world can not operate without meaningful collaborations. A Collaborative, action-oriented, and inclusive mindset should be our way forward.

Townhall Muda and the Idea of Collaboration Forum

Townhall Muda is an initiative from Pijar Foundation, working with the national agency and the grassroots community to provide a collaborative forum. The forum acts as an enabling ecosystem to stimulate active stakeholder participation in policymaking, policy implementation, and collaborative actions.
Pijar Foundation and National Administration Agency (LAN RI) inaugurated the Townhall Muda movement as a collaborative forum in Jakarta on December 7th, 2022. Now teaming up with the LAN RI, youth organization, and the local community, Townhall Muda will simultaneously roll out in 24 cities/regents around Indonesia.
Interestingly, the local community will spearhead this initiative, allowing them to sustain the movement and contextualize the issues at the grassroots.
Townhall Muda will revolve around two issues: Future Planet (Energy Transition and Food Security) and Future Talent (Education and Health). The first edition was held in Banyumas, scrutinizing the region’s Food Security issues.
The partnership with the Public (LAN RI) and local communities in 24 different cities/regions illustrate the spirit of Collaborative Governance. The spirit replicates Indonesia’s “Gotong Royong” — the national value of Indonesia that people should work together to accomplish common goals.
The spirit also gives a foundation to set up Townhall Muda with three unique features that differentiate this initiative from a conventional public discussion:
  1. Share: Stimulate critical discussion through experience and ideas sharing. Townhall Muda is inviting cross-sectoral players in the fields as panellists.
  2. Discuss: All participants are encouraged to take part in the discussion as active contributors and collaborators. Participants from different backgrounds can engage in meaningful interactions with each other and identify areas of collaboration to solve future challenges.
  3. Act: Townhall Muda becomes the foundational platform for ideas to action. Actors can identify practical actions that will be conducted beyond the Townhall Muda. It constitutes the sync process of project and program across stakeholders, which can lead to more efficient and effective collaboration.

The Way Forward

Townhall Muda is the middle-ground between “bottom-up” and “top-down” processes in our policymaking and implementation. This movement represents the idea of a new governance model: Collaborative Governance.
For public institutions, Townhall Muda provides an opportunity to showcase innovations and make policy-making closer to their constituents. It is common for people to stigmatize policymaking as a rigid, bureaucratic, and top-down process — Townhall Muda is an opportunity to debunk this.
Meanwhile, for private and community sectors, Townhall Muda is an opportunity to demonstrate best practices and alternative solutions to policymakers. Usually, private and community sectors are “bottom-up” actors, operating in small-scale, limited areas and often unnoticed by public institutions. Only very few ideas and actions bubble up to policymakers.
Townhall Muda is only the beginning of a transformative movement in Indonesia. The future can no longer be governed by ego. The dream is to lay collaboration and action as a foundation for our future governance to #SolvetheFutureNow. (AM)
This article was written by Anthony Marwan and edited by Cazadira Tamzil.
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