New Asian–African Strategic Partnership
Background and overview
On April 22–23, 2005, Asian and African countries renewed their longstanding solidarity at the 2005 Asian African Summit in Jakarta. The 2005 Asian African Summit yielded, inter-alia, the Declaration on the New Asian African Strategic Partnership (NAASP), the Joint Ministerial Statement on the New Asian African Strategic Partnership Plan of Action, and the Joint Asian African Leaders’ Statement on Tsunami, Earthquake and other Natural Disaster. The aforementioned declaration of NAASP is a manifestation of intra-regional bridge-building forming a new strategic partnership commitment between Asia and Africa, standing on three pillars, i.e. political solidarity, economic cooperation, and socio-cultural relations, within which governments, regional/sub-regional organizations, as well as peoples of Asian and African nations interact.
The 2005 Asian African Summit was attended by 106 countries, comprising 54 Asian countries and 52 African countries . The Summit concluded a follow-up mechanism for institutionalization process in the form of Summit concurrent with Business Summit every four years, Ministerial Meeting every two years, and Sectoral Ministerial as well as Technical Meeting if deemed necessary.
Indonesia and South Africa have co-chaired the NAASP since 2005. In its capacity as a co-chair from Asia, Indonesia has played an active role in the development of the NAASP. During 2006-2011, Indonesia had carried out 26 programs within the framework of the NAASP , such as the NAASP-UNEP Workshop on Environmental Law and Policy held in 2006, Asian African Forum on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge, and Folklore in 2007, and Apprenticeship Program for Mozambican Farmers in 2010. In addition, Indonesia hosted the NAASP Ministerial Conference on Capacity Building for Palestine in 2008 in which 218 participants from 56 countries and 3 international organizations took part.
Commitment to the development of the NAASP has also been shared by other NAASP countries. Just to mention a few, Malaysia conducted Training Course for Diplomats in 2007 and Training Course in Disaster Management in 2008 while China held the 5th Training Program for Staff from African Chambers in 2009 and the China-Zambia Trade and Investment Forum in 2010.
With a view to providing recommendations for a future NAASP summit, The NAASP Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) was held in Jakarta on 12–13 October 2009. The meeting discussed particularly the proposal for the 8 Focus Areas of Cooperation which was aimed to be the guiding mechanism for directing and focusing cooperation initiatives previously formulated in the 2005 Asian African Summit, into feasible and result-oriented programs. The 8 focus areas of cooperation are Counter Terrorism, Combating Trans-national Organized Crime, Food Security, Energy Security, Small and Medium Enterprises, Tourism, Asian African Development University Network, and Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. A number of Asian countries, such as Bangladesh, China, Japan, Filipina, and Thailand, have demonstrated their willingness to be the Champion Countries in the aforesaid areas of cooperation concurrent with their counterparts from African countries. Meanwhile, Indonesia is the Champion Country from the Asian region, along with Algeria from the African region for the counter-terrorism area of cooperation.
Solidarity for Palestine
Indonesia, along with other NAASP member countries, shared common concern to the fact that Palestine is the only participant of the 1955 Asian African Summit which has not enjoyed full independence. For the reason, Indonesia initiated as well as hosted the NAASP Ministerial Conference on Capacity Building for Palestine in Jakarta on 14–15 July 2008. The conference concluded with the NAASP’s commitment to provide capacity building programs for 10,000 Palestinians within a five-year period (2008-2013 ). In this light, the President of Republic of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to partaking in the realization of the project by providing training programs for 1,000 Palestinians.
Manifestation of solidarity and commitment to capacity building for Palestine
As members of the NAASP Capacity Building for Palestine Coordinating Unit, Indonesia, South Africa, and Palestine are mandated to supervise and facilitate the NAASP member countries in the implementation of programs within the NAASP capacity building for Palestine framework. Indonesia plays its role as coordinator for Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, China, India, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. Up to 2010, the following NAASP member countries had reported implementation of capacity building programs for Palestine: India (102 Palestinians), Japan (393 Palestinians), South Korea (182 Palestinians), Malaysia (121 Palestinians), Singapore (16 Palestinians). In its capacity as the NAASP Co-Chair from the Asian Chapter, Indonesia recognized Turkey’s accomplishment in delivering capacity building programs for 722 Palestinians.
The last NAASP Capacity Building for Palestine Coordinating Unit Meeting was held in Amman, Jordan on 2–3 December 2010. The meeting resulted in a summary report which covers progress report and analytical report of the implementation of capacity building for Palestine by the NAASP member countries. Such an outcome is to be further conveyed in the Ministerial Meeting and the 2nd NAASP Summit.
Implementation of Indonesia’s commitment
Indonesia has relentlessly strived to fulfill its commitment to capacity building for Palestine. Up to 2010, Indonesia had completed 30 programs offered to 126 Palestinians . In 2010, a number of capacity building programs for Palestine had been conducted by Indonesia, such as Training Course on Fire Rescue, Training on Project Cycle, Training Course on Gender Mainstreaming for Officers of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and Training Course on Coal and Mineral Resources Management.
For the year 2011, Indonesia has offered, among others, the following programs: Apprenticeship Program for Palestine’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development, Medical First Responder, Collapse Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR), School of Environmental Conservation and Ecotourism and Management (SECEM), Training on Project Cycle (Planning, Appraisal, and Management of Infrastructure Project) for the Apparatus of Palestine, and Capacity Building in Welding Sector.
The NAASP remains an important and potential forum of cooperation among countries in the two continents. In a changing world, certainly the NAASP, like any other international forum, is called upon to address the challenges of today. Undoubtedly in the case of Palestine, the cause of freedom and independence remains a top priority for NAASP. For others, the issue of stability, as well as welfare of Asian and African peoples is the main theme of cooperation that brings the two continents together. Indonesia is of the view that only by working together can the two continents create peace, stability, and prosperity for their peoples.
- "Seniors official meeting" (PDF). MFA of Indonesia. Retrieved 2012-10-01.