A Busy and Fruitful Indonesia-Norway Relation:
What More Needs To Be Done?
Indonesia and Norway have had a very intensive relationship in the last couple years. What makes this relationship to appear so busy and fruitful, and what should we anticipate in the future?
The shared positions between the two countries on various international issues, such as on non proliferation on nuclear weapons, MDGs 4 and 5, health and foreign policy, are amongst the main elements that have contributed to the improvement of the bilateral relations. The joint collaboration on the inter-media dialogue is also worth mentioning as one excellent bilateral achievement, which has yielded commendations internationally and is now attracting some other countries to join the initiative.
In addition to those “common projects”, from a more bilateral perspective, Indonesia and Norway also nurture excellent political relations. The human rights dialogue is one of the main pillars of the bilateral political relations. The ability of the two to restrain themselves from a finger pointing exercise, while focusing their dialogue instead on something constructive based on mutual respect, played quite a part in the endeavour of both to maintain and strengthen the dialogue. Norway has always showed their support on numerous Indonesian candidacies within the international fora.
Conventional wisdom dictates that such good political relations should be an asset to develop cooperation on other sectors. Would this be the case for the bilateral relations? The following observations might be useful to answer the question.
On energy, we witness a very encouraging cooperation between Pertamina and Statoil. The Statoil has now started its operation in Indonesia. The Norwegian investors have now also shown interest in building a number of hydropower plants in the Eastern part of Indonesia.
On trade and investment, the figures have also gone upwards. Nevertheless, it needs to be acknowledged that there are plenty of rooms for further improvement. This, in my view, is one of the main task that we have to push harder for the future. Every effort should be made to facilitate the increased flow of trade and investment. I have always subscribed to the notion that “trade is better than aid”. Through this website, therefore, I would like to encourage both private sectors to heighten their engagement in trade and investment. Rest assured that the Government of Indonesia shall spare no effort to in its role of a facilitator, and I am sure the same goes for the Government of Norway .
Environment was and will remain one of the important priorities. During the meeting between the President of Indonesia and the PM of Norway in Bali on 13 December 2007, possible cooperation on reforestation was discussed. An immediate follow up is urgently needed now, especially in light of the current international efforts to address the critical issues of global warming.
I would be remiss not to also touch upon the significance of fisheries cooperation between the two countries. In addition to the existing good cooperation on capacity building, the cooperation could be extended to invite the private sectors to invest in developing fisheries, especially in Indonesia.
That being said, I shall conclude by mentioning how I am very glad and proud to witness the ongoing busy and fruitful relations between the two countries. This should serve as proof that the geographical distance does not necessarily hamper the efforts to strengthen bilateral relations. It does, however, go without saying that to double our efforts in order for it to materialize would be imperative. Many have been done, but more could and should be done in the future.