The Foreign Affairs Ministry's director general of multilateral cooperation Febrian A. Ruddyard, second from left, speaking to the press in Jakarta on Monday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

After an Eventful 2019, What Lies Ahead for Indonesian Diplomacy?


DECEMBER 17, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia will take on more prominent roles in multilateral diplomacy amid growing unilateralism and the popularity of a "me first" stance in the rest of the world, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has said.

The most populous country in Southeast Asia is now a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a position it will hold until the end of next year. 

Indonesia is also a member of the UN Human Rights Council in 2020-2022 and is preparing to assume the presidency of the G20 and Asean in 2023.

"Indonesia has taken on important diplomatic roles this year, promoting the spirit of multilateralism that is ever weakening these days. We've been encouraging collective leadership and win-win solutions over the zero-sum game," the ministry's director-general of multilateral cooperation, Febryan A. Ruddyard, said in Jakarta on Monday.

The ministry has announced its flagship programs for the year ahead, with the expected highlight being assuming the UN Security Council presidency for one month in August 2020.

"During that time, we will focus on issues of counterterrorism, with a special concern on Palestine," Febrian said.

Another subject Indonesia has been raising in multilateral forums is creative economy. 

"We initiated the first UN resolution on the creative economy and 81 countries co-sponsored it. That was the biggest support we'd ever received. The resolution will start taking effect in 2021. Last year we also held the Conference on Creative Economy," Febrian said.

The ministry will also continue to work on its "palm oil diplomacy" by formulating a draft guideline for sustainable palm oil based on UN SDGs through the Intergovernmental Group on Oilseeds, Oils and Fats operating under the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is expected for completion in June 2020.

The draft will include the mechanism for a palm oil certification that can ensure the commodity is sustainable based on SDGs standards.

Looking Back to 2019 

Febrian said Indonesia had given numerous contributions to multilateral diplomacy throughout the year, especially when it chaired the United Nations Security Council in May.

"Our contribution has been very positive. We did not just push for resolutions but also showed leadership with our UNSC chairmanship in May," he said.

During that month – at the most influential security forum in the world – Indonesia initiated several new programs including Sofa Talk, an informal session for UN delegates to have a more relaxed discussion.

"We also initiated the Regional Conference on Humanitarian Assistance which brought together both governments and on-ground humanitarian activists for the first time ever," Febrian said.

Indonesia had also continued its peacekeeping role with the UN, sending more women peacekeepers than at any time in its history.

The ministry said Indonesia's UN peacekeeping force was in the top ten in the world in terms of size, with almost 3,000 personnel in active duty in October, 123 among them women.

"We also raised funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to the tune of $1,200, as well as giving $1 million to Palestinian refugees in Jordan," Febrian said.