Widodo hails 3 ‘concrete outcomes’ from G-20 summit in health, energy transition and financial sectors

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo at a plenary session during the G20 Leaders' Summit in Bali on Nov 16, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NUSA DUA, Indonesia - Indonesian President Joko Widodo has hailed three “concrete outcomes” from the Group of 20 (G-20) summit, which ended on Wednesday, covering health, energy transition and financial sectors.

Under Indonesia’s presidency, members have agreed to form a pandemic fund called the Financial Intermediary Fund, which will help countries prepare for future pandemics. The fund received pledges totalling US$1.5 billion (S$2.05 billion) from member countries and international organisations.

The second concrete outcome was the forming of a trust fund aimed at helping eligible low-income countries, small states and vulnerable middle-income countries address macroeconomic problems, including those caused by the pandemic and climate change.

“We are committed to support all vulnerable countries to recover together, recover stronger. We welcome pledges amounting to US$81.6 billion,” said the G-20 Bali Leaders’ Declaration.

The third is a US$20 billion pledge of public and private financing from the United States and Japan in the next three to five years, to help Indonesia – a climate superpower – accelerate the transition to renewable energy.

A climate superpower is a country that is endowed with vast forest, peatlands and mangroves that can absorb carbon. 

Such a fund is typically expected to cover costs for developing countries, which are expected to build more renewables and retire fossil fuel power plants.

“There are a lot of other outcomes besides these three (most) concrete outcomes,” Mr Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, told a media briefing amid the ongoing global climate and energy crisis, compounded by geopolitical challenges.

Other outcomes include a joint commitment to support the adoption of digital innovation in agriculture and food systems to boost productivity.

On the sidelines, Mr Widodo also had bilateral meetings with a number of leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss defence and energy transition, Chinese President Xi Jinping where both leaders virtually witnessed a test run in West Java of Indonesia’s first high-speed train developed by both countries, and US President Joe Biden where the US pledged a multibillion-dollar green financing scheme.

Mr Widodo said: “G-20 is an economic, financial and development forum. It’s not a political forum. Don’t turn it into a political forum.”

The summit was the result of a long process and intense work since early 2022 through some 200 ministerial meetings, working groups and side events, said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

Indonesian ministers chairing meetings prior to the summit have said they had to navigate through two competitive geopolitical blocs on the back of the conflict in Ukraine.

But practicality won, according to Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

He said: “The establishment of the pandemic fund is an example and evidence that we are very practical. The initiation of that fund by Indonesia was after the (Ukraine) war started.

“Even after then, we were very focused on the health issues, and we executed it well, and it received agreement from all G-20 members.”

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.