Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General, United Cities And Local Governments Asia Pacific, Indonesia

By Chia Jie Lin

Women in GovTech 2018 Special Report.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organization.

The United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) is a network that connects more than 7,000 local governments in the region. We create platforms where international best practices are exchanged. We enable local governments to deliver global agendas through capacity development and advocacy. UCLG ASPAC guides and provides solutions to critical urban issues such as disaster risk reduction and climate change.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2018?

People have long dreamed of peace for North and South Korea. We are elated to see that there is progress on the unification process. UCLG has taken an active role in promoting local diplomacy between North and South Korea when it led a high-level delegation to North Korea just this November. People say that you strike when the iron is hot and this is exactly what we did. Enabling this local-to-local dialogue is at the core of what we do and I am excited to see where it will lead us.
"UCLG has taken an active role in promoting local diplomacy between North and South Korea."
If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2018, what would it be?

The role of leadership is very important. We need to make sure we choose the right leaders. We need to educate citizens on how to choose right leaders.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2019?

There is so much potential in using deep learning tools. We need to learn how to help local governments face the challenges emerging from the accelerated progress of technological advancements including artificial intelligence and industry 4.0.

What are your priorities for 2019?

The ultimate goal of what we do at UCLG ASPAC is a better quality of life for people. Our way of achieving this is by strengthening the capacity of our local governments. Through our programs on disaster risk reduction, climate change, sanitation and waste management, transportation, among many others, we hope to reach as many people and local governments as we can.

What is one skill that has helped you the most throughout the course of your career?

Passion is at the heart of what I do. I love working with people and learning new things. A famous Chinese guru, Lao Tzu, gave us a lesson saying “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” But I add “with friends”, the long journey will be more enjoyable. It is my motto to never give up no matter how hard or long that journey may be.

What advancements do you predict will happen in your field in the next 10 years?

The role of local governments as main actors and catalysts of change will be further recognised. Local governments are in a very strategic position because they are closest to the people. At the same time, they are the extension of arms of central government in terms of policy implementation. Local governments are in the best position to make change happen.

Coffee, yoga, music… what powers you through your day?

I like music and reading. Sometimes, I take to the great outdoors and climb mountains too.