Keynote Address by the President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Opening of the 116th Assembly of the IPU





BALI, 29 APRIL 2007



Assalamualaikum wr.wb.,

The Honorable Mr. Casini, President of the IPU,
The Honorable Mr. Anders Johnsson, Scretary general of the IPU,
His Excellency Mr. Shafqat Kakakhel, the United Nations Representative,
The Honorable Mr. Agung Laksono, speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives,
The Honorable Speakers of the Parliament and head of Delegations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

This evening I have the great honor, on behalf of the Government and people of Indonesia, to welcome you to the island of Bali.

Indonesia is honored to host the 116th Assembly of the IPU. You have come from all parts of the world, from different political systems, representing different constituencies from different historical backgrounds and cultures, and no doubt with different perspectives.

The IPU has existed much longer than the United Nations. It was already at work even before the League of Nations was created. It is older than most of its member states. It has also been transformed into a truly international organiation comprising the legislatures of 14 states.

The IPU certainly has come a long way. It has kept abreast of of a world that has also radically changed.

When the IPU was established in 1889, it took four months for a letter mailed in London to reach Tokyo. It took over a month to travel by ship from Rotterdam to Jakarta. The wonder of the day was communications by telegraph, and banks kept track of deposits and transactions by handwritten records.

Today, you can send an e-mail to someone on the other side of the planet in seconds. You can book for a flight to the moon, tourist class. You can transfer billions of dollars from one continent to another at the click of a mouse.

The world has also changed in a more profound way. The IPU was born at a time when modern nationalism was rapidly spreading in Europe and Latin America. Soon after, the fire of modern nationalism would engulf Asia and Africa, dramatically altering the global political landscape.

Today the United Nations has over 192 Member States. This is emblematic of the legacy of modern nationalism that defined the 20th and 21st centuries.

It is my hope, however, that in the 21st century we can make the quantum leap into an era of internationalism. An era of internationalism when all nations are much more strongly connected with one another, each of them becoming more integrated into the global system as they strive for cooperative security and common prosperity.

Such internationalism is not the antithesis of nationalism. In fact, it is the logical consequence of enlightened nationalism. Internationalism complements, strengthens, and makes our nationalism more fruitful because it ensures that our respective national interests will be served by international cooperation.

We must nurture this kind of internationalism if we are to overcome the enormously complex global issues of our time. I am deeply pleased to see that this internationalism is very much alive among the members of the IPU.

We will need plenty of that internationalism if we are to craft a new, just, democratic, and durable international order. Seventeen years after the Berlin Wall crumbled, an international order is elusive. We call it the “Post-Cold War” world, the “Post-911” world, the “multipolar” world, the “globalized” world, reflecting the fact that we do not have a name for it yet.

The fact is, we cannot have stable and durable international peace so long as there are still hotspots around the world, where permanent peace is yet to be attained: In Iraq, in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan, in Sri Lanka, in Sudan, in Haiti, among others.

In the case of Iraq, I would like to join my colleague Mr. Agung Laksono, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Indonesia, to state the human tragedy and violence in Iraq must end and must be ended. The Iraqi people must be respected and empowered.

In my meeting with President Bush last year, I submitted a proposal, the so-called “triple-track solution” for Iraq. Track One is reconciliation and empowerment of the Iraqi government. Track Two is the withdrawal of Coalition forces, to be replaced by like-minded countries to conduct peacekeeping missions. Track Three, the post-conflict reconstruction for Iraq.

We cannot have durable international peace so long as poverty, deprivation, and desperation persist in our midst.

We cannot have durable international peace so long as extremism, injustice, hatred, racism, and prejudice still prevail.

We cannot achieve durable international peace unless the international community works together effectively to address emerging non-traditional threats to or common security: Terrorism, natural disasters, diseases, transnational crimes, financial crisis, and so on.

These are indeed enormous challenges, and they call for a new internationalism among nations.

But this internationalism can only work if it is supported by a comprehensive network of partnerships.

The world has seen many attempts to forge global partnerships: The North-South Dialogue, South-South Cooperation, and now the Doha Development Round. Regional and interregional cooperation is flourishing in the EU, ASEAN, APEC, FEALAC, and the GCC.

However, for any global partnership to work, both developed and developing nations have to play complementary roles. Partnership, after all, is a two-way street.

To begin with, the countries of the developed world can do more to pen up their markets to the products of the developing world, especially agricultural products.

The developed world can help developing countries that are strangled by chronic debt through innovative debt relief programs. Developed countries can increase financial flows, especially foreign direct investments, to the developing world.

They can share their technology and know-how with developing countries in ways that strike a balance between social responsibility and respect for intellectual property rights.

On the other hand, the countries of the developing world must also do their homework. One of the most important things they can do is practice good governance. There is already an abundance of empirical evidence that no matter what your political system is, unless you employ good governance, you will not achieve progress. Many democracies fail due to poor governance and mismanagement. Hence we in the developing world must ensure transparency and accountability in our system, and banish corrupt practices from our public and private sectors.

We in the developing world must also enhance our human capital. We have to invest in our own people by ensuring that they have access to quality education and health services, that they have a conducive environment to grow their creative potentials, and that they are freed from the bondage of poverty and conflict.

We must provide a climate hospitable to foreign direct investment. Nothing can make a foreign investor come in, unless he is assured of the safety of his capital and a level playing field.

Finally, we must ensure the sustainability of our environment. We must use our resources with wisdom, so that these are not depleted, leaving nothing for future generations.

Our ability to evolve this partnership between the developed and the developing world will be critical to our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, which is only eight years from now.

The MDGs, in my view, is the greatest and most promising project the human race has ever undertaken. It is at once the noblest war for human dignity and the fiercest assault on poverty and degradation.

If we achieve these crucial goals, the world will change for the better. The number of people worldwide living on less than a dollar a day will be reduced by half. Universal primary education will become a reality. There will be gender equality in the schools and in the workplace. Women will be empowered. Infant mortality will be reduced by two thirds. Maternal death will fall by 75 percent, and the spread of HIV will be reversed.

These are not pipe dreams. The MDGs are entirely achievable because they set realistic targets, taking into accounts our capacity to achieve them.

For example, the cost of ensuring safer child birth for mothers would be about US$12 billion per year, which is equal to what Americans and Europeans spend on perfumes per year.

The cost of achieving universal primary education by the year 2015 is estimated at US$10 billion per year. That is what Americans spend on ice cream per year.

Remember: The world did successfully eradicate small pox from our planet on a price tag of only US$ 17 billion.

I therefore humbly appeal to the parliamentarians in the IPU to work hard with one another and with governments to realize the Millennium Development Goals. That will be a victory for the human race.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The internationalism that we envision will also require intensified dialogue and outreach.

The renowned political scientist Samuel Huntington was right about at least one thing: That in the Post-Cold War world, ethnic and religious issues– the so called “identity” issues – would become more prominent in the affairs within and between nations. They would aggravate old conflicts and stimulate new conflicts.

But a clash of civilizations is not inevitable!

As the world community tries to build a new international order, we must make certain that the world’s civilizations, religions, and cultures not only coexist but also connect harmoniously.

Dialogue and outreach are necessary because too many of our problems are rooted in ignorance and misunderstanding. We see pockets of extremism in many nations. We see symptoms of tension between the world of Islam and the West. We see a worrying division within the Islamic world.

To deal with these problems, we have to promote more interfaith and inter-civilization dialogues as an essential element of world peace.

There is certainly no shortage of tolerance and moderation in our time. But we need to do more to help the forces of moderation interconnect with one another. The UN has conveyed a High-Level Group on Alliance of Civilizations. The Asia-Europe Meeting has held three interfaith dialogues in recent years: In Indonesia, Cyprus, and China. APEC has held a symposium on interfaith and intercultural cooperation. Turkey and Spain have co-sponsored the Dialogue of Civilizations.

We in Indonesia have wholeheartedly contributed to this endeavor. In cooperation with Australia, we have sponsored a series of interfaith dialogues. When an international crisis broke out due to the unfortunate publication of a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, we co-sponsored with Norway the Global Inter-Media Dialogue. That dialogue was launched here in Bali and will be resumed in June this year in Oslo, gathering journalists from different cultures to discuss issues relating to freedom of speech.

Indonesia also recently organized an international conference of Islamic scholars that brought together Sunni and Shiite ulamas in a forum where they discussed the need for unity and brotherhood in Iraq. I have also formed with Prime Minister Tony Blair a UK-Indonesia Islamic Advisory Board.

These initiatives are only the beginning of a long-term program to build bridges of mutual understanding, mutual appreciation and cooperation between faiths, cultures, and civilizations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is also another issue that is looming large before us: Global warming.

We have learned so many new things about how global climate is changing, but the best scientific knowledge today is only the tip of the iceberg.

The impact of global warming will be fundamental, severe, and very costly. It will change not only geography but also the distribution of human population. Tragically, poor countries will bear the brunt of the impact.

There are therefore two fundamental questions that you may wish to raise in this forum. The first is, what can we do collectively and globally to control global warming? The second question, what can each of us, each nation, do to control global warming?

As to the first question, clearly we have to develop an international regime that will help control and ultimately reverse the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

This means we have to faithfully implement the Kyoto Protocol. But more importantly, we also have to start thinking of how to go beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire by 2012.

Here we must make sure that developing countries would be part of those global efforts. We must also make sure that the United States, which produces one fourth of global greenhouse emissions, will take part in post-Kyoto arrangements.

We must firmly establish an ambitious yet attainable practical target for reducing greenhouse emissions worldwide. We must make sure there is an efficient and fair global carbon trading scheme that matches the resources of developed countries with the needs of developing countries.

As to what each nation can do, I strongly believe that we do not have to wait until a new global warming regime is in place to start action.

The rainforest countries like Indonesia, Brazil, Congo, Costa Rica, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea must do everything possible to preserve these resources that are called “the lungs of the world”, because of their capacity for absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We must do our best to stop illegal logging and prevent forest fires.

That is why I am keen to ensure the success of our Heart of Borneo project in Kalimantan, which will create a conservatory of 220,000 square meters of equatorial forests and numerous wildlife species.

Developed countries must do their utmost to reduce greenhouse emission from their industries, cars, buildings, and homes.

The developed countries must also invest more heavily in technology for clean energy, and to share this knowledge with the developing world. After all, we have learned since Kyoto that we can cut greenhouse emissions without cutting jobs or competitiveness.

Companies are well-placed to play a critical role. There is a positive trend now of companies setting their own targets for reduction of greenhouse emissions, which exceed Kyoto targets.

I do believe that humanity is on the verge of embarking on another journey. I would like to think of this as “the fourth wave of civilization”. The first wave was the agricultural revolution. The second was the industrial revolution. The third wave was the information revolution. The fourth wave could be the global efforts to adapt to climate change.

There is no other time in history when one single issue – the issue of climate change – binds the fate of all humanity. In Planet Earth’s 4.5 billion years of existence, there has been only one species, the homo sapiens, who can change the climate of the planet. It is only the same species that can set it right again.

The fourth wave will be driven by the moral obligation and efforts of the world’s nations to control and adapt to the global warming. We will need to draw as much as possible from the lessons of the agricultural, the industrial, and information revolutions. Like the previous waves, it will require economic, social, and technological innovations that will fundamentally reshape how we live, produce, work, play, and think.

Are we up to the task, ladies and gentlemen?

If we continue to nurture our internationalism, if we focus our minds, pool our resources, and coordinate our strategies, I am convinced that the nations of the world will have a better chance of controlling and reversing climate change.

I wish you all the best in your deliberations.

Finally, by saying bismillahirrahmaanirrahim, I am please to declare the 116th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) open.

Thank you.
Wassalamualaikum wr. wb.

President of the Republic of Indonesia