Ahead of the Rome G20 Summit in October 2021, the G20 looked like it was in danger of losing the plot. What a relief, then, to see Indonesia bring the G20 back to its bread-and-butter global policy challenges as it takes over as its chair for 2022.
It takes a serious crisis to reveal a country’s fundamental strengths and vulnerabilities. As in all countries, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and 2021 has severely tested all aspects of Indonesia: its governance, institutions, polity, economic resilience, health system, societal cohesion, its vulnerable communities and international relationships.
In December 2021, I had the chance to talk with a bright 14-year-old girl named Maria Tunbonat, a fifth-grader in a state school in Tarakan, North Kalimantan. Her father, Ayub, also joined the video call as we spoke about her school and her hobbies.
2021 has been another challenging year for Indonesia as it struggles to balance the economy and public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the economy seems to have passed the worst of the crisis, its future trajectory remains unclear.
Indonesia has banned coal exports in January due to concerns that low supplies at domestic power plants could lead to widespread blackouts, a senior official at the energy ministry said on Saturday.
A standoff involving a boat carrying Rohingya refugees and the Indonesian navy has ended with a dramatic rescue that took 18 hours to complete due to heavy rains and high seas.
The refugees – mostly women and children – were brought ashore at Lhokseumawe in Indonesia’s northwestern province of Aceh in the early hours of Friday. They were immediately screened by health department officials as part of the country’s protocol against COVID-19.
Former foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang is slated to be the next Chinese ambassador to Indonesia. Amid US-China tensions, a post in Indonesia presents opportunities and challenges both in terms of bilateral relations and in engaging ASEAN. Known to be a steady hand, if Lu can chalk up notable achievements during his tenure, he may move on to higher roles, just like other high-flying spokesmen of the ministry.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Jakarta December 13 – 14, where he will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and other senior officials to reaffirm the strong U.S.-Indonesia Strategic Partnership and the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. They will also discuss responses to the challenges of COVID-19 and the climate crisis, ways to strengthen democracy and human rights, as well as expanding cooperation in areas such as maritime cooperation, global health, and the digital economy.
Using marine resources in a healthy and sustainable manner is at the center of building a blue economy that will make “Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water” achievable. Fisheries and aquaculture sectors alone provide employment for and support the livelihoods of more than 200 million people worldwide, besides providing food and nutrition for billions. Despite this importance, continued human activities that pollute water bodies are negatively affecting their health at an alarming pace. A change from the prevalent practices, particularly relating to fishing, to more sustainable approaches would entail substantial costs across the fisheries value chain. A key challenge is to mobilize the required financial resources to enable this transition. In the recent past, many countries have announced different institutional and financing mechanisms to promote private capital and commit public resources through budgetary allocations. We conduct a comparative analysis to identify the similarities, differences, and emerging financing frameworks across three countries, Cambodia, India, and Indonesia. The results from the analysis indicated that an institutional design that has a specific focus on the fisheries sector, promoting constructive collaborations with diverse financing institutions and community organizations, is an enabler in this particular sector of the blue economy.