Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia requires greater involvement from regional governments (Pemda) in building international cooperation, according to a researcher from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences' Politics Research Center (P2P LIPI).

"There has to be an alternate way so that regional governments can be more involved in international cooperation," Mario Surya Ramadhan said during a webinar entitled 'Indonesia's Free and Active International Politics Policy: Economical-Political Cooperation amid the COVID-19 Pandemic' on Wednesday.

According to Ramadhan, in an increasingly interconnected era, the role of regional governments cannot be disregarded in building international cooperation, especially in the economic sector.

This is due to the fact that the regional governments' role directly reaches the citizens, he added.

There are several regions that have the capacity to initiate international cooperation by utilizing the governor's or mayor's network, he said.

Ramadhan cited the former governor of South Sulawesi Nurdin Abdullah as an example.

Before he was arrested by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Abdullah had initiated a number of cooperation agreements with Japan since he has a strong connection with Japan, he said.

Ramadhan said he believes that regional governments' participation in building international cooperation can accelerate the economic growth of each region.

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However, to initiate international cooperation, regional governments must comply with a relatively long procedure stipulated in the Law No. 37 of 1999 regarding International Relations, he pointed out.

The procedure is important since it ensures that regional governments prioritize Indonesia's interests and sovereignty, he said.

"Because there are concerns that there will be agreements that clash with Indonesia's interests and sovereignty," he remarked.

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Hence, the researcher urged the central government to find alternative regulations to streamline the process that regional governments have to follow to establish international cooperation.

"Since the law is quite old, we may need to find an alternative," Ramadhan noted.

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Translator: Putu Savitri, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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