Jakarta’s vision focused on global health . . .
Indonesia assumed the G20 presidency for 2022 with an aim to advocate for a more inclusive global health system as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight inequalities in health care worldwide, particularly around vaccine distribution and development. According to the WHO, only about 15 per cent of people in low-income countries have the first COVID vaccine, compared to 72 per cent in high-income economies. Indonesia has argued that such gaps require G20 collaboration, particularly for expanding facilities in developing countries that can produce mRNA vaccines. Indonesia’s G20 presidency agenda also includes supporting sustainable energy transitions and digital transformation as priority areas.
Geopolitics trumps dialogue on health, inclusive development . . .
In its first G20 Health Working Group held Monday in Yogyakarta, Indonesia began discussions with fellow members to standardize health protocols for international travel. The need to harmonize cross-border requirements on vaccination certificates and testing has increased as many countries, Indonesia included, lift domestic and travel restrictions. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has thrown a geopolitical wrench into Indonesia’s ambitious plans to meet health challenges and kickstart inclusive development as pathways to pandemic recovery. While Indonesia has denounced the violence in Ukraine and urged for a peaceful resolution, it has eschewed direct and open criticism of Moscow, let alone sanctions, or the inclusion of Ukraine discussions at the G20.
Indonesia in the geopolitical hot seat . . .
Traditionally, the archipelagic country has attempted to strike a balance among global powers, keeping diplomatic, investment, and trade avenues open with as many possible partners. But this stance puts Indonesia at odds with other G20 members – including the U.S., Canada, and Australia – that have argued against continuing to welcome Russia to multilateral forums. Some, like Washington and Canberra, have called for Russia’s unprecedented expulsion from the G20, exacerbating tensions around the upcoming G20 Leader’s Summit in Bali in October. Jakarta argues the G20 is best suited for economic (and health) co-operation, not solving political issues, and Indonesian leaders, including President Joko ’Jokowi’ Widodo, have cautioned against “drastic” measures like kicking Moscow out of the international group.
- Jakarta Globe: Indonesia resists calls for kicking Russia out of G20
- Nikkei Asia: Debate over Russia’s G-20 seat creates headache for Indonesia
- The Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Russia Invited’: Vladimir Putin plans to attend G20 in Bali