Forum prepares Indonesia for APEC

29 October 2012

ANU is helping Indonesia shape the agenda for its APEC year, reports SHIRO ARMSTRONG.

Indonesia’s chairing of APEC in 2013 provides the Southeast Asian nation with a unique opportunity. In particular, Indonesia’s geopolitical position affords it particular influence in shaping regional cooperation.

It is in that context that the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research (EABER) at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CIS) of Jakarta hosted a round table and public forum in Jakarta over 21-22 October. The roundtable focused on strategies and opportunities for Indonesia in its APEC host year. Supported by Indonesia’s foreign ministry and the ministerial council responsible for hosting APEC next year, the roundtable brought together international experts and was followed by a briefing to key ministers and their advisors.

Like in the past, 2013 will be a time when Indonesia leaves an enduring mark on the region and how it cooperates. Indonesia played a key role in crafting and prosecuting the 1994 Bogor Goals for free and open trade and investment the last time it hosted APEC. These goals have defined APEC’s work program for the past two decades. Indonesia now has the opportunity to shape APEC’s trajectory to 2030 and beyond. There is an opportunity to reframe APEC’s vision and focus the organisation’s work program towards a sustainable and inclusive growth agenda.

One priority that is consistent with the G20 agenda – of which Indonesia is ASEAN’s sole member of – is infrastructure investment to unlock inclusive and sustainable development and promote global recovery.

EABER and CSIS will continue to work in supporting the Indonesian Government with research on the two constraints that are a drag on infrastructure delivery: the lack of clear, uniform or consistent regulatory frameworks and implementing institutions; and the lack of deep and broad financial markets.

In addition to this recent roundtable, EABER and its South Asian counterpart, the South Asian Bureau of Economic Research, continues its influential track 1.5 and track 2 diplomacy with other Asian partners, feeding ideas and outcomes into major regional and global initiatives and forums like APEC and the G20.

Dr Shiro Armstrong is a research fellow at the Crawford School of Public Policy in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific. He also co-edits the blog East Asia Forum.

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