Bali Leaders’ Declaration, the sense of a beginning

During its presidency, Indonesia also synergized strengthening cooperation in a bilateral context with the G20 countries in three priority sectors, and there were 140 cooperation programs. I think, once again, apart from the achievement of the declar

It took under 15 minutes for five friends sitting around a table for six to realize their biggest mistake of the day.

The friends had chosen an outdoor table for lunch in one of the hottest, figuratively and literally, spot located in the heart of Nusa Dua, a resort area known as an enclave of large five-star resorts in the southern part of Bali.

Bali, Indonesia’s main tourist destination, truly lives up to its slogan as one of the sunniest places on earth, even in mid-November, and the humidity does not help at all for some.

“Suit and tie should be banned in Bali!” said one of them while watching the rest of his friends take off their suits and unbutton the top two buttons of their shirts.

“We are overdressed for Bali,” the other said while one of them requested the waiter for a new table. An indoor table with full blast of air-conditioning.

Indeed, with more than five kilometres of famously scenic stretches of white sands just in walking distance from their current place, they were definitely not dressed accordingly.

Unfortunately, they were not in the Land of the Gods for a vacation. Two of them were journalists, while the rest were government employees, who were in Bali for the G20 Summit, one of the most awaited multilateral events of the year.

Related news: President introduces journalists to mangrove varieties at Bali Forest

The G20 is a multilateral cooperation forum comprising 19 major countries and the European Union (EU). The group represents more than 60 percent of the world’s population, 75 percent of global trade, and 80 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). This year, Indonesia officially holds the presidency of the group.

Under its presidency themed “Recover Together, Recover Stronger,” Indonesia focuses on three priority sectors — strengthening of global health architecture, digital transformation, and energy transition — to achieve solutions for recovery.

However, Indonesia assumed presidency during a difficult global situation, which was triggered by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and made worse by the war between Russia and Ukraine, the food and energy crisis, as well as the financial crisis. Some called it the perfect storm.

“The multilateralism is sick,” a former senior Indonesian diplomat said in a casual talk before the Summit. He was referring to the leaders’ failure to reach an agreement or settle for toothless deals in several multilateral meetings, especially during the pandemic.

Hence, it was a huge challenge for Indonesia to manage the fractionated G20 with tensions, doubts, and the walkouts loomed in the shadows for most of the year.

As a matter of fact, just two days before the meeting kicked off, an important minister highlighted the possibility of not achieving the communiqué in Bali.

Hence, it is no wonder that in his opening remarks, delivered on November 15, Indonesian President Joko Widodo immediately drew attention to several current global issues. He noted that the G20 Summit should take into consideration those issues, including the differences within the groups.

He also noted that as the holder of G20 Presidency, Indonesia has made utmost efforts to bridge profound differences.

Related news: Widodo calls for calm amid escalating global tensions

Success, however, is merely achievable if all G20 leaders and delegates, without exception, are strongly committed to setting aside differences and working hard to produce concretely useful results for the world, he affirmed.

Hence, the approval of the Bali Leaders’ Declaration by the G20 leaders at the end of the Summit has demonstrated the world’s trust in Indonesia.

The Bali Declaration produced by the G20 under the Indonesian presidency comprises 52 paragraphs.

In addition to the 52 paragraphs, the declaration contains an attachment regarding inclusive recovery efforts and a list of cooperation projects under the G20 mechanism. In total, there are 361 forms of cooperation in the attachment to the declaration.

Related news: G20 Summit: Indonesia announces adoption of Bali Leaders’ Declaration

According to Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, the document was prepared to fulfil the promise of Indonesia, as president of the G20, to strengthen concrete cooperation.

“During its presidency, Indonesia also synergized strengthening cooperation in a bilateral context with the G20 countries in three priority sectors, and there were 140 cooperation programs. I think, once again, apart from the achievement of the declaration itself, we have done many things to keep the G20 grounded for the benefit of the people,” she added.

That is an extraordinary effort. The process of reaching an agreement on the declaration was very long and involved several rounds of negotiations. The final negotiations were carried out from November 10 to November 14, 2022, that is, up until a day before the G20 Summit.

“I have not had the chance to watch the famous Balinese sunset, although I have been here for almost a week,” one of them said while lamenting about his fate as member of the supporting team for G20 delegates to which the other four nodded in agreement.

Related news: G20 leaders invite developing nations to help manage Pandemic Fund

However, these world leaders did not go to Bali — some of them directly headed after wrapping up another multilateral summit in Cambodia– to enjoy the warm Balinese sun, although many hoped the beauty of the Land of the Gods would ease some tensions, which probably is true based on the approval of the declaration despite the G7 emergency meeting on Poland during the summit. The said meeting delayed the mangrove planting event for over an hour that gave President Joko Widodo the opportunity to invite the G20 media team for a stroll at the Bali Forest Park.

Back in Bali, where it is warm and beautiful, a promise was made. It is too early to applaud but there is a sense of beginning that keeps the spirit intact in the face of a turbulent world.

Related news: Bali Declaration proof of world’s trust in Indonesia: minister

Related news: Committed to developing energy transition mechanism: Indrawati

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