Press Release

UN Joint Programme ASSIST Site Visits: Sustainable transformation in West Nusa Tenggara from local enterprises to community empowerment

01 February 2024


Dozens of people are posing in a meeting room
Caption: The United Nations through the ASSIST Joint Programme conducted a field visit in West Nusa Tenggara Province. The UN in Indonesia Resident Coordinator, Valerie Julliand (Centre) together with representatives of the UN Agencies involved - UNDP, UNIDO, UNEP, and UNICEF were welcomed by Ibnu Salim S. H., M. Si, CGCAE, PJ Secretary of NTB Province.
Photo: © UN

1 February, West Nusa Tenggara – The United Nations Joint Programme 'Accelerating SDGs Investment in Indonesia' (ASSIST), conducted a site visit on January 30th and 31st, 2024, marking a significant milestone in the implementation of this collaborative initiative, funded by the Joint SDG Fund. Key stakeholders from participating UN agencies – UNDP, UNIDO, UNEP, and UNICEF – under the coordination of the UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia, gained insights into the substantive benefits of the JP for local SMEs in the agrifood sector, startups in the blue sector, unlocking opportunities for community development by supporting the region's youth.

During the visit, Ms. Valerie Julliand, UN Resident Coordinator, conveyed appreciation for the unwavering support and fruitful collaboration with the Government of Indonesia. She highlighted the pivotal role played by the NTB Government in supporting the implementation of JP initiatives that have profoundly impacted local businesses, including support provided to more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, women-led and youth-led MSMEs and start-ups, resulting in a profoundly transformative impact on the local communities. She stated, “The program has not only provided tailored capacity-building initiatives to help enterprises expand but has also opened up increased access to financing opportunities aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Moreover, the program's assistance in navigating market entry has played a pivotal role in the remarkable growth of these SMEs and start-ups.”

The variety of support from JP ASSIST for West Nusa Tenggara

The collaborative technical assistance provided by UNIDO and UNEP has ensured the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and a shift towards more circular and lower-input methods. The SME's learning center, a key aspect of its operations, serves as a central hub for over 200 farmer communities and villagers, who adopt environmentally sound and resource efficient farming techniques, laying an important foundation for the change of local paradigm leading to increased productivity, marketability and competitiveness, and ultimately - sustainable access to finance. 

As demonstrated during the field visit to UD. Sasak Tani, one of the beneficiary SMEs in the agrifood sector has emerged as a catalyst for positive change in local communities. Beyond the fields, the SME's influence extends to the educational domain. Through active collaboration with schools to incorporate sustainable agriculture topics into the curriculum of the "Merdeka Belajar" initiative, the SME is empowering local school children with knowledge that will be beneficial for years to come. This holistic approach is a key component of a broader strategy to instill environmentally conscious mindsets among young people grounded in the understanding of the crucial role that responsible agriculture plays in shaping a sustainable future.

During the second site visit, four alumni enterprises of the Blue Finance Accelerator (BFA) program - a collaborative initiative launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in partnership with the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs and Instellar Indonesia- namely Conplas, Karya Pesisir, Lamops and Oganic. Since graduating from BFA, these ventures have forged partnerships with each other to expand operations and reach a wider customer base in Lombok. Lamops for instance, is a start-up that focusses on upcycling pearl waste. After graduating from BFA, they partnered with three pearl farms and managed to reduce 1 ton of pearl waste in NTB province, 100 people joined their workshops, and 10% of their trainees' secured jobs as artisans.

Valerie Julliand is having a conversation about a product by Lamops
Caption: The UN in Indonesia Resident Coordinator, Valerie Julliand attending a workshop conducted by Lamops (a start-up focused on pearl recycling), one of the alumni of the Blue Finance Accelerator programme, a collaborative initiative launched by UNDP and ADB (Asian Development Bank) in collaboration with the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment and Instellar Indonesia.

Going beyond traditional support, the BFA initiative empowers start-ups and SMEs to access impactful investment opportunities through UNDP's Impact Venture Accelerator (IVA) programs. The BFA focuses on capacity-building and support mechanisms for businesses engaged in blue sectors, such as sustainable fisheries, aquaculture, marine debris waste management, plastic pollution reduction, and climate change mitigation or adaptation. Participants received a tailored curriculum covering business, innovation, impact measurement and management, gender perspectives, and themes related to the blue economy, complemented by individual mentoring, consulting, and support from advisory teams to ensure sustained business growth. 

The visit continued with an interaction with students from Madrasah Ibtidaiyah Negeri 4 who are recipients of the Program Indonesia Pintar, which is financed by the SDG Bond that the JP supported. To raise awareness on the SDGs, the visit concluded with an SDG Talk show at Madrasah Aliyah Negeri 1 which was attended by more than 100 students and teachers. 

Valerie Julliand and Nila Murti are talking next to three boys who craft
Caption: Valerie Julliand, the UN in Indonesia Resident Coordinator, visiting Madrasah Ibtidaiyah Negeri 4 Lombok Tengah, one of the scholarship recipients of the Indonesia Pintar Programme, which is funded through a collaboration between ASSIST JP and the Ministry of Finance for the issuance of SDG Bonds.
Photo: © UN

These interactions showcased the dynamic impact of the ASSIST JP on youth-led sustainability and green transition initiatives, as young people assume a vital role in advocating for the adoption of sustainable practices across sectors. The JP's comprehensive approach extends beyond mere technical interventions, encompassing educational institutions, creating sustainable economic ecosystems that uplift youth, and contributing to the broader landscape of community and economic development in West Nusa Tenggara and beyond.

Representing the Acting Governor of West Nusa Tenggara, Mr. Ibnu Salim, the Regional Secretary, expressed appreciation for the transformative impact of the ASSIST JP on local communities. He conveyed, "The invaluable support from the United Nations within the ASSIST Joint Programme has significantly benefited the entrepreneurial community across diverse sectors in West Nusa Tenggara by providing needs-driven guidance towards improved productivity, competitiveness and wider access to local and international markets. The project, while fostering local expertise in such topics as sustainability, circular economy, resource efficiency, productivity and market access, helps improve financial situation of beneficiary SMEs, making them resilient in the long run. The program offers immense social and economic benefits for the province, and we anticipate continued collaboration in the future”.


Siska Widyawati

National Information Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative