Indonesia’s Diplomacy for the Availability and Procurement of Covid19 Vaccine

Date:

COVID-19 has been designated by WHO as a global pandemic. On March 31, 2020, the President of the Republic of Indonesia declared a COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in Indonesia (Presidential Decree No.11 of 2020).

Various steps and refocusing were taken by the Government of Indonesia to prevent the spread and overcome COVID-19, including the enforcement of health protocols and the provision of vaccines for the public. The efforts to bring vaccines are developed by cross-ministerial and institutional work to tackle the pandemic COVID-19. One important element of this effort is vaccine diplomacy, both through bilateral channels with various countries and vaccine producers in the world, as well as multilateral cooperation.

Indonesia will obtain around 11,704,800 vaccines through the multilateral COVAX Facility
and will bring in around 360 million COVID-19 vaccines bilaterally by 2021, namely 260 million from Sinovac, 50 million from AstraZeneca and 50 million from Novavax.
International cooperation through diplomatic channels will continue to make sure that in short term Indonesia will get COVID-19 vaccines. Minister Retno emphised, “Apart from bilateral cooperation, currently together with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of
Finance, we are continuing to communicate with Geneva for the procurement of multilateral vaccines. As is known, Indonesia is one of the 92 COVAX AMC countries that will receive vaccines for 3-20% of the population from the GAVI COVAX Facility.”

Furthermore, Indonesia has become a vaccine test country for Sinovac Biotech Ltd from China in collaboration with PT. Bio Farma to produce the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, Indonesia is developing COVID-19 vaccines, such as the Red-and-White vaccine and the
Nusantara vaccine. Regarding culture identity as a single promotion, I would humbly argue that it will
oppose to the national philosophy of unity in diversity (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika).

Diplomacy starts always from home, which imply that from the very beginning there is no single identity of culture that by agreement of majority acknowledged.
Moreover, Indonesia has tried to push forward the single cultural identity to promote Indonesia in form of ‘Javanese Identity” pre-Reformation. Many of that
particular culture came being as Kebaya and Blankon as a whole of Indonesia.

Nevertheless, other tribes of Indonesia were silently complaint that those cultural objects are only small parts of the cultural richness the archipelagic state Indonesia has. Regardless, I am on the view that culture has played an important role in Indonesian diplomacy in particular and in the world in general.

Cultural identity even has been put as one of the powers of states: soft power. Many countries around theworld have been using this diplomacy approach to promoted their country and their culture. In this case, as Indonesian stating the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika as a motto
and living philosophy in harmony between tribes, the discourse of the need to support single cultural identity was ineffective.
Yet, we supposed to promote more of how we play a harmonious cultural identities as an “orchestra” as our strong soft power. We have to put South Korea as a perfect example that ineffective discourse was ruled out form the main core: culture as soft power.

Author: Andry Haekal,Young Indonesian diplomats and Student of Paramadina Graduate School of Diplomacy

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