UK must build new long-term partnerships with countries that will shape the future – Academia
Sat, December 17, 2022
This week UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly set out his vision for the future of Britain’s long-term relationship with countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The UK will work to build strong diplomatic and economic ties with new allies, which will be crucial in the future. This approach will build on our successful work with partner countries over the past few decades of relative peace and prosperity to eradicate poverty around the world, reduce deaths in conflict and boost growth internationally.
Indonesia is at the heart of this work and the UK’s relationship with our Indonesian partners has grown stronger in recent years. The Group of 20 presidency showed the world’s respect for Indonesia and its appreciation for President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s patient diplomacy in the face of enormous challenges.
The UK will seek to strengthen partnerships on development, defence, technology, cybersecurity, climate change adaptation and environmental protection by building meaningful relationships like the one we have with Indonesia, based on mutual benefit and shared belief cemented in free trade and territorial sovereignty.
The international order that was established after 1945, including through the United Nations, enabled an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity, but we live in a momentous time, where the pace of change is accelerating with hurricane force, and there are challenges for the principles of this international order, most evident in the global instability caused by Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
Britain and Indonesia celebrate their 73rd birthdayapprox anniversary of diplomatic relations. In almost three quarters of a century we have achieved so much. Our great friendship was cemented in April this year when our foreign ministers agreed on a landmark roadmap for Britain and Indonesia.
This demonstrates the tremendous breadth of our connections and includes commitments to work together and protect common interests in areas as diverse as climate change, development, defence, technology and cybersecurity.
And all of these activities are underpinned by our shared commitment to an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral and regional system grounded in international law, including democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The vitality of the British-Indonesian partnership has been demonstrated by the concrete and successful events and cooperations of the past few months. We are pleased to support Indonesia’s successful G20 Presidency, which has yielded important initiatives including the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).
This country-led partnership will help Indonesia in its quest to accelerate an equitable energy transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable sources. The transition will not only result in improved climate action, but will also support economic growth, new skilled jobs, less pollution and a resilient, prosperous future for Indonesians.
At the B20 summit, British and Indonesian partners made agreements and announcements in areas such as transport, education, clean growth, environmental development and electric vehicles. Most notably, the British and Indonesian governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on railway development cooperation, particularly on the Jakarta MRT project, for which UK Export Finance, the British export credit agency, has expressed interest in financing up to US$1.25 billion .
The growing number of UK partnerships with Indonesia follows the successful first ministerial meeting of the UK-Indonesia Joint Economic and Trade Committee in February 2022, set up to encourage and develop trade, investment and economic cooperation between our two countries.
It also follows the signing of the British-Indonesian MoU on investment cooperation in October 2022, which aims to increase mutual investments in value-added minerals, energy transition and life sciences.
Our bilateral cooperation on climate change is becoming increasingly successful. A collaboration agreement signed in October this year in support of Indonesia’s forest and land use goals is just the latest part of the collaboration, which dates back more than 20 years.
We applaud Indonesia’s international leadership on climate and environmental issues, including its ambitious Forest and Land Use Net Sink 2030 target and the launch of the new SVLK Timber Standard, which aims to further strengthen assurance of the legality and sustainability of Indonesian timber.
Cyber has quickly become a leading area of cooperation in British-Indonesian relations. We signed a Cyber Security MoU in 2018 expressing our shared interest in maintaining a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace. In recent years, the UK has been working with the Indonesian government to improve cybersecurity regulations for the banking sector. Securing the vital telemedicine sector; and providing information security through drills and training. I look forward to further strengthening this work at the second UK-Indonesia Cyber Dialogue in London early next year.
We also deepen our people-to-people engagement and support human capital development in Indonesia through collaborations in education, English language, arts and culture led by the British Council.
With a rapidly growing population and a growing share of global wealth, we know and welcome the fact that countries like Indonesia will play a far greater role in shaping the world in the coming century. They will have a stronger voice on the global stage and the Foreign Secretary this week outlined Britain’s aspiration to forge even closer ties with these partner countries and regions, not just for now but for decades to come.
Together we will offer a credible and reliable alternative to countries like Russia that are actively and aggressively violating the global order. Of course, the UK will maintain existing solid ties with allies, but will also look for new partnerships with countries that are regionally influential, are becoming wealthier, are keen to carve their own ways in their own interests and want an increased voice on the world stage. These future powers will be critical in the years to come, and in doing so the UK will seek focused, mutually beneficial partnerships with them going forward, through patient diplomacy and a tailored offering of trade, development assistance, expertise, cultural links, security and strong bilateral relations Diplomatic relations.
This UK offer to these prospective partner countries will be tailored to their needs and UK strengths and will be underpinned by reliable sources of infrastructure investment.
In the past we might have been too transactional, too impatient. Now we will show strategic staying power and a willingness to engage in long-term foreign policy, to plan for tomorrow, to scan the horizon and to prepare for the next 10, 15 and 20 years.
Our relationship with Indonesia is already characterized by long-term commitment and cooperation. I look forward to helping make it even stronger in 2023 and beyond.
The author is British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor-Leste.