Remarks by Ambassador Blake at the International Workshop on Democracy and Innovation in Good Governance, Jakarta

Foreign Minister Marsudi, Ambassador Andayani, Ambassadors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Selamat pagi!

Let me add my own warm welcome to Jakarta and to this workshop organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the U.S. Government’s Agency for International Development, the Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the Non-Aligned Movement Centre for South-South and Technical Cooperation, and the Indonesian National Agency for Public Administration.

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Ambassadors and other distinguished participants from:  United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Laos, Libya, Egypt, Oman, Palestinian Territories, the Philippines, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Senegal, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Fiji, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Guinea Bissau, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia.

Let me at the outset commend the government of Indonesia for organizing this workshop and taking lead roles in initiatives such as this with global implications.  Indonesia is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Open Government Partnership (OGP) and now the G-20.  Clearly, Indonesia has much to share with other countries that aspire to increase economic growth and deepen their democratic development.

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and has been projected by some analysts to potentially be the 7th largest economy in the world by 2030. Among the key ingredients to inclusive and sustainable growth are effective governance and capable institutions.

Ladies and gentlemen, a fundamental difference between societies that sustain economic prosperity and improved well-being and those that fall short is the strength and character of the formal and informal policies and institutions that govern the state, relations within society, and the functioning of markets.

Governments that maintain macroeconomic stability, strengthen the rule of law, provide incentives for private investment and innovation, and expand access to crucial public services share an undisputed track record in promoting prosperity and fighting extreme poverty over the long run.

They regulate efficiently and engage thoughtfully across the pillars of inclusive economic growth:  allowing markets to thrive, building human capital, constructing critical infrastructure, maintaining peace and order, and providing a social safety net.

A recent New York Times analysis noted that Indonesia’s transition to democracy over the past 15 years has made it a “shining light for political reform in the developing world.”   We agree.

At the same time, Indonesia under President Jokowi continues to aspire to improve its own growth trajectory to assure greater social equity and reduction in poverty, and to continue to improve its own system of democratic accountability.

Over the past 15 years Indonesia has maintained peace and stability while undergoing dramatic positive change.  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.

Indonesia’s reforms have aimed at better connecting people with their government through decentralization; innovations in transparency and accountability including empowering a highly effective anti-corruption commission; enhanced government openness; remarkable progress in freedom of the press and freedom for citizens to organize autonomously in a vibrant civil society; and all these contribute to increased opportunity for more of Indonesia’s 240 million citizens.

You will hear and witness more about these impressive achievements in the coming days of this workshop here in Jakarta and in Bandung.

Indonesia’s achievements are truly impressive.  But we all acknowledge that there is more work to do in order to consolidate these improvements and deliver the promise of greater freedom and prosperity to all Indonesian citizens.  We believe that with continued Indonesian leadership, the active engagement of Indonesian civil society, and the support of its international friends, Indonesia will succeed and continue to serve as a positive model for other countries in the global south.

Former Minister Natalegawa and Secretary Kerry signed an MOU on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in 2014 as a vehicle to deepen and elevate bilateral relations between the U.S. and Indonesia while working together to achieve development impacts in other countries globally.

By working together, the world’s second and third largest democracies have forged a new partnership to learn from each other.  We share ideas.  Just two weeks ago in Banda Aceh, we were pleased to partner with the Government of Indonesia in holding an international training on Disaster Recovery and Mitigation for Coastal Areas with Indian Ocean, South American, and Caribbean countries.

Today, this workshop on democracy and good governance brings together you, an impressive group of participants from several nations in Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa who have expressed interest to the Government of Indonesia in seeing how Indonesia has managed some of the more challenging aspects of improving good governance and carrying out its democratic transition over the past 15 years.

At a time when the world confronts the challenges of groups like the Islamic State, Boko Haram and many others, these lessons could not be more timely.  We are proud to support this event under the framework of South-South and Triangular Cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I wish you a successful workshop and look forward to hearing the outcomes of your deliberations.  Thank you.

As prepared.