JAKARTA, INDONESIA — Indonesia led a virtual open debate at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on “Pandemic and Challenges of Sustaining Peace” on 12 August, strengthening its position as one of the most respected non-permanent members of the UNSC.
The country’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi offered three peace solutions during the health crisis that has infected more than 20 million globally.
The three proposals at the UNSC debate
First, sustaining peace must be a part of comprehensive pandemic mitigation, said Ms Retno. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure inclusive participation from all-local stakeholders.
Second, she stressed that peace-sustaining efforts require a synergy among all the UN working bodies within the system. In this case, the world body must integrate a sensitive approach to conflicts in pandemic mitigation.
Third, it is vital to optimise the use of limited resources for sustaining peace, given that many countries are dealing with the health and economic crises, which require simultaneous mitigation.
Pandemic mitigation in conflict-prone areas
“We see how the pandemic has affected more than 100 countries, and they must tackle the health and economic crisis at the same time, we cannot choose. The pandemic should not halt the humanitarian effort in some conflict-prone areas, and a ceasefire must be upheld,” Yusran, an international affairs expert, told TOC.
The lecturer at the University of Budi Luhur added that the pandemic mitigation in war-prone areas does not stick to the health protocols such as seen in the crowded shelter of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, the world’s most persecuted minority and Yemen—one of the poorest countries in the Middle East where the was has been going on for over five years.
“However, we should not lose hopes. A ceasefire is needed to make sure all affected people can fulfil their needs during the hardest time like this. There should be a solid effort to make sure then protection for those affected people,” said Mr Yusran.
Multilateralism over unilateralism
Ms Retno’s address called for more multilateral efforts that can invite all Member States to sit together to negotiate solutions, given that the US has exited several international agreements such as the Iran nuclear deal and the Cold War-era deal the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) signed with then-Soviet Union.
The most recent is the US’ plans to leave the World Health Organization in 2021.
Researchers and scientists around the globe are busy developing vaccines for COVID-19. Efforts must be made to ensure that vaccines and drugs are accessible to developing nations too.
“From my point of view, what the UN has been doing is already on track (in terms of the pandemic mitigation). The WHO has also tried its best to tackle the health crisis. Despite some criticisms that the WHO was late to declare COVID-19 as a public health emergency, it is not that simple to hurriedly announce it. However, some are taking shortcuts in producing vaccines, which can be dangerous,” Mr Yusran said.
Many scientists cast doubt over Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines as they skipped the Phase 3 trial, which usually takes longer as it involves many people from various countries.
Head of Indonesia’s Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology Amin Soebandrio told Liputan6 that all phases of clinical trials could not be skipped to find out the side effect of vaccination.
Indonesia’s contribution at the UNSC
Indonesia was elected as a non-permanent member at the UNSC for the 2019-2020 period in 2018. Previously, Indonesia was the UNSC non-permanent member for the periods of 1974-1975, 1995-1996, and 2007-2008.
Indonesia made significant contributions during its service at the UNSC. One of the most crucial ones was when Indonesia passed a resolution on the extended UN mission in Afghanistan in 2019, along with Germany.