From Silo to Sinergy: Waste Data Integration in Indonesia for Better Policy and Decision Making

28 February 2024

Charting the Chaos

The Indonesian national government has been struggling to tackle the waste problem across the provinces and districts. The challenges are pertinent, from overflowing landfills to plastic-clogged rivers, the sheer volume and complexity of the waste crisis demand a sophisticated response. Yet, a critical roadblock stands in the way – a fragmented authorities and inadequate national data management system.

The situation of this complexity can be equalised with a child’s puzzle with pieces scattered across different rooms, each held by a different family member. While each piece holds a fragment of the picture, there’s no central organizer, no shared vision of the whole. This is just a simple way of understanding Indonesia’s waste data. Responsibility for information is fractured across ministries and agencies, each with their own siloed systems, definitions, and priorities.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) on the one hand, for instance, might have detail data on waste generation and composition, but also have data on waste infrastructures held by the Ministry of Public Work and Housing (PUPR) on the other hand. Another example, The Ministry of Public Work and Housing (PUPR) responsible for the infrastructure development, manages the data on infrastructure but also having data on waste facilities such as waste banks currently owned by MOEF.

“Information systems are available containing intersecting waste data. The weakness is that the data is not reliable and there are often differences in the data being reported,” said Ir. Medrilzam. M.Prof. Econ. Ph.D, Director Environmental Affairs, BAPPENAS Period 2016 -2024 in one coordination meeting in 2023. The fragmentation creates a maze of mismatched pieces, hindering collaboration, effective decision making, resource allocation, and ultimately, effective waste management.  This complexity can generate inconsistency and frustration for policymakers and communities when trying to understand and address Indonesia’s complex waste landscape.

Undeterred by this fragmentation landscape, ERiC – DKTI embarked on a quest – to map the uncharted national waste information systems. It was not until end of 2021, when endeavor was undertaken to unveil the underpinning complexities. It began with a thorough mapping of existing waste-related information systems that dissected the intricate governance structures underpinning each system. Areas of overlap and redundancy that have brought gaps and inconsistencies were carefully identified.

Connecting the scattered dots: laying the ground for change

The endeavor bore a good fruit, paving the way for the next crucial step – forging a stronger linkage among the waste sector actors. Among the results was the information that 5 ministries used 5 different systems constituting a great obstacle for effective national waste policy. The five systems are AKSARA (BAPPENAS), NAWASIS (BAPPENAS), SIPSN (MoEF), SIINSAN (MoEF), and SIPD (Ministry of Home Affairs). The condition drives an ineffective and inefficient reporting mechanism which also causes confusion for the local governments for waste reporting.

As the follow up, validation on the findings was done to relevant parties where the project delved into intensive communication with each agency, orchestrating discussions to gauge interest and foster a sense of ownership over the issue. The result of this orchestration underscored an urgent need for a unified waste data and a common agreement among the ministries on a standardized waste data format for national-level collection to enable data interoperability.

The synergy: a change that came

The orchestration continued, weaving together pivotal players from diverse agencies to confront the challenges at hand. Yet, the path to the dream was anything but smooth. The political and economic dimensions of each system casted a shadow over the authority vested in individual agencies. The resistance was evident against dismantling certain platforms. Undeterred, it was like a diplomatic dance of negotiation and persuasion in which the team convinced stakeholders that the goal was not dissolution of a particular system but rather tackling overlaps and inconsistencies to enable data interoperability.

Stakeholders’ discussion on Waste Data Interoperability
Stakeholders’ discussion on Waste Data Interoperability

The consensus was eventually reached. The parties agreed on the crucial need for data interoperability to ensure consistency and to foster unified data utilization for better policy making. In the agreement, SIINSAN and SIPSN took center stage as providers of the interoperability services, while NAWASIS, AKSARA, and SIPD assumed the role of users. This strategic alignment adhered to the guidelines set forth in the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Regulation No. 1/2023, governing electronic-based government systems and a unified data landscape and Presidential Regulation No. 39/2019 on One Data.

SIINSAN and SIPSN’s inherent capacity to furnish fundamental waste data, from waste bank statistics to infrastructure details, streamlined and harmonized the waste data format and criteria across all five systems.  Yet, another problem was realised as the data codes from SIPSN and SIINSAN did not have the same code format to be shared, so interoperability could not run. Hence, another effort was needed first to streamline this waste data format and codes.

The project subsequently accelerated all stakeholders to coalesce around the vision of an interconnected framework to overcome this problem. This has later gave birth to the Waste Code Catalogue. This catalogue, poised to be a national reference for standardized data formats, incorporated a regional reference code, guided by relevant regulations.  “Enhancing the interoperability of waste and management data not only streamlines the tasks for SIPSN managers but also facilitates seamless information exchange for other ministries and agencies,” said Adi Fajar Ramly, Functional Environmental Officer and the Head of Working Group SISPN highlighting interoperability benefit for various government agencies.

The endeavours paid off. In the mid 2023, data Interoperability Technical Guideline including the waste code catalogue was agreed upon by cross ministries/agencies. This catalogue, having undergone the abstraction test by the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG), is positioned to become an integral component of the Indonesian Geospatial Element Code that covered waste thematic data and was published by BIG. The project nears completion, but another task remained for the adjustment of data structures within the information systems of pertinent ministries. Concerning this, the government’s unwavering commitment is evident with the initiation of another project collaboration to address this issue. With this in hand, it is expected that future waste management decisions in Indonesian development were not made in the dark, but guided by the clear light of reliable data and information.

“SIPSN and Aksara play crucial roles in aiding Regional Governments with waste data reporting system. Nevertheless, the multitude of applications and diverse data requests pose challenges for local governments in data retrieval and processing. The integration of waste information systems marks an advancement from the Central Government, consolidating data into a unified source for reporting, mitigating the risk of data dualism. It is expected that this data integration will soon apply to other applications in the future, including Sign Smart, SIMBA, and SIINSAN,” —-Wahyu Cahyadi, Penyuluh Lingkungan Hidup, DLH Kota Cirebon.

Link to Further Materials
Emission reductions through improved waste management infrastructures –

Contact Person
Makhdonal Anwar

Key Buzzwords
Waste Data, Data Interoperability, Data Management, One Data Principle