G20 Indonesia

Affirmation of Indonesia's free and active foreign policy in G20

Affirmation of Indonesia's free and active foreign policy in G20

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) conveys the G20 Summit results to journalists at the Media Center, BICC, Nusa Dua, Badung District, Bali, on Wednesday (November 16, 2022). (ANTARA PHOTO/Media Center G20 Indonesia/Aditya Pradana Putra/nym/pri)

Indonesia's G20 Presidency came to an end once President Joko Widodo closed the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, on November 16 and handed over the presidency to India.

Under Indonesia's leadership, the G20 has resulted in the Bali Declaration containing 52 points of recommendations and commitments, one of which pertains to strengthening multilateralism in global economic cooperation and global financial and health architecture.

The leaders' declaration also covers digital transformation, steps to deal with climate change, efforts to realize food and energy security, the Pandemic Fund, and aid for poor countries.

While chairing the G20, Indonesia has relied on five pillars: strengthening the partnership ecosystem, boosting productivity, increasing resilience and stability, ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth, and stronger global collective leadership.

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The five pillars emphasize the points in the G20 Bali Declaration.

It is reasonable to state that Indonesia assumed the G20 Presidency at a very challenging time that anyone might have wanted to avoid.

It is not only because the world is facing tough situations due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is also reeling from supply chain crises and inflation waves, as well as the Ukraine war that distracted the G20 from its main purposes, and all of that requires strong global leadership to handle.

Nevertheless, Indonesia was able to create a roadmap and recommendations for global action in handling the crisis and on how the world should seize current and future opportunities that encourage global growth and prosperity.

The Ukraine war also made it difficult for Indonesia to maintain the G20 as a forum for economic cooperation and not a political one.

Indonesia has overcome these challenges and has realized its national mandate to carry out a free and active policy in foreign politics.

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Desisting from being overly political

The third point of the G20 Declaration contains a statement that explicitly mentions Russia and Ukraine, the war in Ukraine, and where the G20 stands on the issue.

Most G20 countries denounce the war in Ukraine, saying that the war has created a humanitarian tragedy and weakened the global economy, hampered growth, increased inflation, damaged supply chains, put energy and food security at risk, and threatened financial stability.

However, the declaration also emphasizes a different interpretation of Ukraine's situation.

This is proof of Indonesia's efforts in keeping the G20 as a forum for discussing economic issues and not merely for addressing security issues. Indonesia attempted to not become too political in an economic forum like the G20.

Moreover, there are strong accommodations that make the G20 unable to not show its concern about Ukraine's situation.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) also emphasized this point in his speech, which asserts Indonesia's position regarding the imposition of military force on matters that could be resolved through negotiations.

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However, there is a difference between the G20 Declaration and President Jokowi's speech.

In the G20 Declaration, which is the consensus of the G20, the names of Ukraine and Russia are obviously highlighted, but Jokowi's speech did not mention both when saying "the war must end."

However, anyone should know what President Jokowi was referring to, but that is just Indonesia's way of asserting that the G20 is a forum for economic cooperation and not a political forum.

It is a form of Indonesia's independence of showing its response and willingness to embrace other voices at the G20 without hurting others, in addition to being a hint that Indonesia does not ignore the realities of the world.

At first glance, it might seem contradictory between the assertions that the G20 is a global economic forum when concurrently there were calls for a cessation of war.

However, the call was not because Indonesia was taking sides, but due to the war's devastating impact on global society, which was about to recover from the pandemic.

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A thousand friends are too few

Before declaring "the war must end," President Jokowi began the sentence with a clause of "the world needs togetherness", that "a paradigm of collaboration is needed to save the world."

Collaboration is deemed necessary to ensure a safe world and that is the responsibility of all countries, especially the G20 members.

However, being responsible means being willing to respect international law and principles, such as the UN Charter.

"We must not divide the world into parts. We must prevent the world from falling into a new cold war," Jokowi stated.

The president's statement reflects Indonesia's active approach in preventing hostilities that could undermine peace and represents its freedom in conveying its national stance.

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This is important since for nearly two-thirds of Indonesia's G20 Presidency, it had been pressured to side with one party or the other in the Ukraine war, but Indonesia managed to surmount over that pressure.

Nonetheless, Jokowi invited Russian President Vladimir Putin due to the commitment to maintain a free and active foreign policy and the need for dialogue in addition to it being contextual to the G20 forum.

However, Indonesia also welcomed other voices in the G20, as Indonesia also understands what independence means and greatly upholds national sovereignty.

Indonesia seeks to stand for the good and interests of all, not passive neutrality, showcasing its efforts to hold on to the free and active foreign policy.

It has become Indonesia's way to interact with any party in the world that a thousand friends are too few but one enemy is too many.

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