Sarwono was a Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (Menteri Kelautan dan Perikanan) from 1999 – 2001. Previously, he held the portofolio of Minister for the Environment (Menteri Negara Lingkungan Hidup) from 1993 1998, and Minister for Administrative Reform (Menteri Negara Pendayagunaan Aparatur Negara) from 1988 – 1993. He has recently been appointed as a Commissioners for PT Energy Management Indonesia (Persero). He has also recently held the position of special advisor to the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia.