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Insight: The Bandung spirit in today'€™s world

  • Retno LP Marsudi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, April 15, 2015 | 06:02 am

We are only days away from the beginning of the Asian-African Summit and the commemoration of the 60th Asian-African Conference.

The title of today'€™s seminar '€” '€œHarnessing the spirit of 1955 in engaging South'€“South cooperation in an interconnected world'€ '€” is, therefore, opportune.

 South-South cooperation is undoubtedly an essential element of today'€™s interconnected world. Such cooperation is a manifestation of solidarity between countries in the south, and over the past decades has expanded far more than North-South cooperation.

In 2014 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon revealed that the value of technical assistance of South-South cooperation was estimated to be between US$16.1 and $19 billion.

In the context of investment, we have witnessed unprecedented dynamism in foreign direct investment between countries in the South.

While South-South cooperation has shown its contribution to global growth and prosperity, it can also be effective in addressing today'€™s regional and global challenges.

The 10 principles of the 1955 Asian-African Conference, also known as the Dasasila Bandung, remain as relevant today as they were 60 years ago.

Respect for fundamental human rights; respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity; equality of all nations large and small; as well as non-intervention and non-interference in the internal affairs of another country are fundamental principles guiding relations between countries that remain as true today as they were 60 years ago.

Peaceful settlement of disputes; promotion of mutual interest and cooperation; respect for justice and international obligations; these are the principles that must be upheld to create an environment conducive to development.

 If the spirit and principles of the Dasasila Bandung were fully respected and upheld today, we would see less conflict and war in our world.

If only the Bandung spirit were adhered to, we would be able to create an environment where development would flourish.

Instead, we continue to see increasing inequality, poverty, widening development gaps and emerging conflict and war, as well as the rise of non-traditional threats.

 Last week, I met with the renowned American University professor Amitav Acharya for a discussion on how Indonesia became an emerging economy.

I shared his view that it was not due to military might or extraordinary economic power.

Indonesia is appreciated by other countries because of our readiness to contribute and be part of the solution; because we are willing to share experience and best practices; because we are ready to bridge differences.

These qualities are inherent in Indonesia.

It was these qualities that inspired Indonesia to host the Asian-African Conference. It was these qualities that have encouraged us to keep the Bandung spirit alive.

And it is exactly these qualities that have led Indonesia to once again host the Asian-African Summit, as well as the commemoration of its 60th anniversary, to advance South-South cooperation and contribute to global peace and prosperity.

Every country has a mandate to serve its people and its national interests. At the same time, every country has the responsibility to serve the world '€” to make a more prosperous and stable world.

Let us stand together to bring Asia and Africa closer and ensure that the contributions of Asia and Africa are recognized by the world.
________________

The writer is Indonesia'€™s Foreign Minister.

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