Remarks by Ambassador Blake at Indonesia, Africa, and Middle East Workshop on Good Governance

Ambassador Wardana, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Esti Andayani, Director General for Information and Public Diplomacy; Ms. Siti Nugraha Mauludiah, Director for Technical Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassadors and Embassy representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Sudan, The Gambia, Tunisia, Madagascar, Yemen, and Palestinian Territories;

Donor colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

Let me add my own words of welcome to Jakarta and to this workshop organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the U.S. Agency for International Development. The United States Government is pleased to sponsor this workshop with the Government of Indonesia.

Indonesia is a progressive, democratic nation that has maintained peace and stability while undergoing dramatic change over the past sixteen years.

It has made a deliberate shift towards democratic governance and an increasingly well-managed, market-based economy in order to improve the welfare of its people.

The progress that you will hear about and witness for yourselves in Jakarta and Surabaya over the coming days has been impressive. Major reforms have produced results for citizens.

These reforms have aimed at better connecting people with their government; catalyzing innovations in transparency and accountability; progress with the rule of law; and fostering openness, freedom and increased opportunity for more of its 240 million citizens.

These achievements are impressive. But Indonesians are the first to acknowledge that there is more work to do in order to consolidate these improvements and deliver the promise of greater personal freedom and prosperity to all citizens.

This is an exciting time for those of us from the international community to live and work here as the world’s third largest democracy elects a new President

and Parliament.

The United States and Indonesia have forged a comprehensive partnership in which we learn from each other. We share ideas. And most recently, we are working together to encourage and support other nations in their economic and democratic development.

In February, Secretary of State Kerry and Foreign Minister Natalegawa signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further strengthen our joint efforts to develop South-South and Triangular Cooperation.

Already last September, we were pleased to partner with the Government of Indonesia in hosting, “The International Workshop on Democracy: Sharing Experiences between Indonesia and Arabic Countries.”

The workshop included participants from Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Somalia. They shared their experiences related to reform in their respective countries, just like what you will do in this workshop.

They also visited Jakarta, Pekan Baru in Riau Province, and Bandung in West Jawa, to see Indonesian democracy in action.

Today, this workshop on good governance brings together an impressive group of participants from several nations in the Middle East and Africa.

You have expressed interest to the Government of Indonesia in exchanging ideas, experience, and information. You will share challenges and opportunities related to state reform, delivery of public services, increasing accountability, and eradication of corruption.

We realize how difficult it is to create a more democratic, open, responsive, and transparent form of government, and we appreciate the challenges Indonesia and you are all facing. After nearly 240 years as an independent republic, the United States is still striving to evolve and improve our government.

And the Arab Spring has underlined for everyone the importance of responsive government and good governance.

We hope that the discussions that will take place over the course of the coming week provide insights into the benefits of good governance: what might work, what obstacles need to be addressed, and how nations with different circumstances might learn from each other and succeed.

We also hope that this workshop helps put to rest the outdated notion that democracy, good governance, and human rights are anything less than universal in their relevance and applicability. Indonesia offers many valuable lessons to all of us and we look forward to learning more over the coming days.

I wish you a very successful workshop. Thank you.