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27
October

 

The African continent has been hit by a military coup again. Sudan is in a state of uncertainty after the military took power Monday, October 25, 2021. Coup leader General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan told reporters that military actions were being taken to secure the country. He justified his actions by blaming the civil government's political conflict. Civilian and military leaders have been at loggerheads since the  long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was toppled in 2019. Last September, in Sudan there was an attempted coup by the military, but it was thwarted.

Civil society, especially the youth, regards General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan's rhetoric as a lie. Protests sprang up, not only in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, but also in several other places. Protesters barricaded the road, causing  clashes with soldiers. As a result, seven protesters were reportedly killed and hundreds injured. The army is said to have acted tough to contain the protests.

Sudan's military seized power as the country is in transition after the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir two years ago. To fill the transition period until the elections are held, a military-civilian Sovereign Council has been formed which is planned to lead Sudan to become a democratic country. During the transition period, Sudan has appointed Abdalla Hamdok, an economist, as Prime Minister. Now, with the military taking power, general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan has dissolved the Sovereign Council.  PM Hamdok and his wife, as well as multiple government ministers and officials, were detained on Monday, and later returned to their residence on Tuesday, according to a source with Sudan Prime Minister Office and a military source. It was not clear whether Hamdok and his wife are able to move freely after they returned to their home, or whether other government ministers and officials are also let go or still detained.

The military coup in Sudan has sparked international reactions. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the coup and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials. The European Union has "strongly condemned" the coup and stressed the "serious consequences" for the EU's engagement with Sudan, including its financial support, unless the situation is reversed immediately. Meanwhile, the United States withheld aid funds amounting to 700 million dollars, as a form of protest over the Sudanese coup. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that the United States rejected a military coup and called for the immediate release of Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

 It is still uncertain what the next situation will be in Sudan after the military coup. Reflecting on the military coup in Myanmar, there is still a long way to go. During that time, violence will still occur with many victims and not small economic losses. In the end, it is the people of Sudan who will feel the negative impact.

26
October

 

Indonesian President, Joko Widodo had the opportunity to deliver his speech at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit Monday (25/10). He conveyed about the economic revival of ASEAN member countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He disclosed three key points to revitalize the economy in the Southeast Asia region.

First, health care must become a top priority. The short-term agenda to accelerate and equalize vaccination in all countries in the region must be carried out jointly. Thereby, the target of vaccination of the ASEAN population as many as 70 percent must be achieved immediately.

Second, ASEAN's economic recovery must be accelerated by reactivating safe travel, including safe tourism. According to the records of the United Nations World Tourism Organization –UNWTO, the level of restrictions in Southeast Asia is 82 percent, the highest in the world.

With the Covid-19 situation increasingly under control, President Joko Widodo believes that these restrictions can be reduced. However, it must be guaranteed safe from the risk of the pandemic. He also reminded again that a year ago, Indonesia initiated the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework. He perceived that this idea needs to be implemented immediately. In addition, President Joko Widodo has encouraged the recognition of vaccine certificates in the region, including the interoperability of vaccine systems. Travel arrangement for people who have been vaccinated and healthy is necessary by implementing vaccinated travel lanes in the region.

The third key that was pointed out by President Joko Widodo is by accelerating the adaptation of regional economic activities towards a digital economy. Because, the digital technology is the most effective solution in dealing with the limitations of movement and face-to-face meetings in community economic activities. He also viewed that ASEAN is the region with the fastest internet growth in the world. Therefore, the potential of ASEAN's digital economy is very large. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital economy grew and reached US$100 billion in 2020. President Joko Widodo also emphasized that Indonesia supports ASEAN to become a digitally connected community.

In regard to President Joko Widodo's explanation, it is implied that fast and integrated steps must be taken immediately by all ASEAN member countries. This disclosure can be felt as urgency for the regional economy to recover sooner. However, the main requirement is a common vision, common step and cooperative spirit for all ASEAN member countries.

25
October


As a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has the opportunity to become a major player in the global sharia economy and the halal industry. Moreover, developments in the Islamic economic sector have experienced significant growth.

When opening the Commemoration of National Santri Day 2021 and the Launching of the New Logo of the Sharia Economic Community at the State Palace in Jakarta on Friday, (22/10), President Joko Widodo said that from 2018 until late 2020, Indonesia's sharia economy continued to climb in rank,. It was ranked 4th in the  world. However, the President asked people not to be complacent. He also emphasized that there is a need for synergistic efforts among stakeholders so that the sharia economy can grow even faster.

What President Joko Widodo said should be observed and it becomes an important reference for the Islamic economic community. They should become a down-to-earth  sharia economic locomotive, touch the people's economy, and drive an inclusive economy. The Islamic economic community is expected to give birth to many entrepreneurs, mainly from the santris, Islamic boarding school students.

The question is whether there have been any serious efforts made in encouraging micro, small and medium-sized businesses that have been created to go digital.For example, they can enter online stores, marketplaces, e-commerce, and can also enter national and global supply chains. In addition, Indonesian entrepreneurs are expected to become major players in the development of the global halal industry.

The Indonesian government has certainly thought about these things. It is known that the Government has prepared various financing schemes to support the growth of new entrepreneurs, especially from the santris.

Thus, pesantren, the Islamic boarding schools and their students can take advantage of these various financing programs properly so that they can play a greater role in strengthening the people's economy.

Therefore, the entrepreneurs from the students and graduates of Islamic boarding schools must continue to be encouraged to create job opportunities and spread wider benefits, and play a more active role in becoming entrepreneurs with a social spirit.

22
October


Afghan new ruler, the Taliban agreed to cooperate with Russia, China and Iran on regional security. This agreement was reached after Russia warned about the resurgence of the Islamic State group and the threat of drug trafficking, following the militant group's takeover of Afghanistan.

As reported by the AFP news agency, Thursday (10/21), during the talks in Moscow, the ten participating countries: Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan that were present also called for "urgent" humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. They also said that the countries that had recently withdrawn troops from Afghanistan should fund reconstruction efforts.

The meeting in Moscow is the Taliban's latest international appearance since seizing power in Afghanistan.

Although at the meeting, Russia, China and Iran agreed to assist regional security in Afghanistan, official international recognition of the Taliban government has not yet been obtained. The parties who attended the Moscow meeting were indeed present specifically to voice concerns about the activities of the ISIS group. They reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan and contribute to regional stability but did not mention anything about recognizing the Taliban.

The attitude of the Taliban themselves who are willing to appear and cooperate, especially to prevent the rise of ISIS, is considered by many to be a very positive step.

The countries that participate at the meeting should further encourage Afghanistan's current leadership to take further steps, to improve and to form a truly inclusive government, as they declared after taking over Afghanistan. This must reflect the interests of all the major ethno-political forces in the country, including stressing the importance of respecting the rights of ethnic groups, women and children. The Taliban must be able to work with all parties to honor and fulfill their commitments.

21
October

 

President Joko Widodo along with some friend countries' ambassadors and local community planted mangrove in Tana Tidung, North Kalimantan on Tuesday (19/10). That was one of many efforts by the Indonesian government in multiplying and rehabilitating mangrove forest.

As quoted from presidenri.go.id (19/10), President Joko Widodo explained that there are 180 thousand hectares of mangrove forest in North Kalimantan to be rehabilitated. He targets 600 thousand hectares of mangrove forest that can be rehabilitated in the next three years.

Some ambassadors and World Bank representatives who joined the mangrove planting appreciated the Indonesian government's program. World Bank's Country Director, Satu Kahkonen said that the program has a great meaning both for Indonesia and the whole world. Meanwhile, Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia, Kurt Kunz hopes that the mangrove rehab can be an example and stimulus for communities in Indonesia and the world.

The Mangrove planting programs play a crucial role in supporting carbon pollution reduction. Mangrove forest multiplication and rehab as done by President Joko Widodo is also a move to mitigate climate change.

Based on data from the Maritime and Fishery Ministry, as quoted from kkp.go.id (19/8), Indonesian mangrove forest is the biggest in the world, namely 3.2 million hectares or 22.4% of world's mangrove forest. This shows that Indonesia has a quite significant contribution in reducing carbon emission.

Research results in 2019, as quoted from lipi.go.id, showed that one square meter of mangrove forest can store 50 kg carbon. This carbon storage capacity is important in the climate change effect reduction process.

Therefore, mangrove replanting by the government should be followed by the awareness and involvement of the people living around the mangrove forest. They need to understand the importance of preserving the mangrove ecosystem. 

20
October

 

Efforts to revive the Nuclear agreement between Iran and the European Union still need time due to the failure of the new round of talks between the two parties in Vienna on Monday, October 18, 2021. Both Iran and the European Union still have to take diplomatic approaches to reach an understanding before meeting again in Brussels.

In the talks in Vienna, Iran was represented by the envoy of President Ibrahim Reisi, who the West highlighted as a hard-line figure. The EU and Iran nuclear deal began to run into problems when the United States withdrew from the agreement during the Trump administration. The approach was taken again, when the Joe Biden administration said it would return to the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The deal, which involved the United States, was signed in 2015 with talks led by European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini. In its implementation which began in 2016, the European Union played an important role as a coordinator to carry out transactions.

On the basis of the JCPOA, the European Union also lifted economic and financial sanctions on Iran related to its nuclear program. Apparently, the nuclear deal has paved the way for the renewal and expansion of relations between the European Union and Iran. The European Union is also investing in Iran's nuclear project safety program. Economically, the JCPOA has had a good impact on the value of exports and imports between the European Union and Iran. In the first year the JCPOA was implemented, it was recorded that EU imports from Iran were 5.5 billion Euros. In contrast, EU exports to Iran reached more than 8 billion euros. EU investment in Iran covers several sectors including energy, automotive and transportation. Therefore, the cessation of a comprehensive agreement between the European Union and Iran can be said to have an economic impact on both parties. The JCPOA was again hindered when Ibrahim Reisi, who is said to be a hardliner, was elected President of Iran in June 2021.

Judging from the merits and benefits of implementing the JCPOA, further discussion is certainly needed. The failure of the talks in Vienna does not mean that the efforts of both the European Union and Iran have stopped. That in Vienna Iran has not been able to reach an agreement, it is very possible because President Ibrahim El Eisi and his government still need to consider several crucial things. Regarding the outcome of the upcoming talks in Brussels, of course it is up to both parties whether there will be progress or will it stop.

19
October


President Joko Widodo reaffirmed his strong commitment to tackling climate change. This was conveyed by President Joko Widodo when receiving a visit from the Executive Vice President of the European Commission for European Green Policy and Climate, Frans Timmermans at the State Palace in Jakarta Monday (18/10). Quoting the official website of the State Secretariat, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi explained that in the meeting, President Joko Widodo also conveyed the concrete steps that Indonesia has achieved. It is a commitment in dealing with climate change.

In the past year, climate change has indeed become one of the issues, that has been a serious concern for President Joko Widodo. In various occasions and meetings, he said that Indonesia is truly committed to tackling climate change. At the Climate Change Summit last April, President Joko Widodo affirmed three major points related to the issue of climate change. First, Indonesia is very serious in controlling climate change and urging the world to take concrete actions. Second, world leaders must advance green development for a better world. Third, in order to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement and the following shared agenda, global partnerships must be strengthened.

This commitment was also conveyed by President Joko Widodo at the 2021 Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) meeting in mid-September 2021. He remarked that the energy and climate sector emergency situation must be responded to by all countries. This response is realized through joint action on a global scale.

Concrete steps have also been taken by Indonesia. One of them is the rehabilitation of mangrove forests. Several mangrove forests are being rehabilitated, such as in Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province and Bali. Indonesia's target until 2024 is expected to be successful in restoring and rehabilitating 600 thousand hectares of damaged mangrove forests. The initiative is considered very important. At least, that was highlighted by the Special Envoy of the President of the United States (US) for Climate Issues, John Kerry. In a YouTube broadcast by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry on Monday (19/10), John Kerry said that the action is very important and he is looking forward to the success.

Indonesia's commitment to addressing climate change will also be presented at the Conference of Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31 - November 12, 2021. According to the schedule, President Joko Widodo will attend directly and convey Indonesia's commitment to the Net Target Zero Emission 2060 and the opportunity for blue carbon as an emission reduction solution.

Strong commitment and real action must be echoed and carried out by the Indonesian people. Because, Indonesia has an important position to tackle climate change. With more than 17,000 islands owned, the third largest tropical forest in the world and a population of more than 270 million people, tackling climate change must be a priority for the Indonesian people. Real actions taken every day by all Indonesian citizens to care for and protect the environment will contribute significantly to achieving the target of zero carbon emissions by 2060. Changing habits to save water, manage waste and switch to public transportation are little steps every day that Indonesian people can do. Meanwhile, at the government and related stakeholders, there is an allocation in the Regional Revenue and Expenditure Budget for handling climate change. The joint efforts of the Indonesian people to overcome climate change will contribute prominently to the global community.

18
October

 

The XX Papua National Sports Week (PON) which took place from October 2-15 has been officially closed by Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ma'ruf Amin. At Lukas Enembe Stadium, Jayapura, Papua, on Friday night (15/10), he expressed his highest appreciation for the implementation of the largest sports event in Indonesia which has run safely, smoothly and successfully. VP Ma'ruf Amin who was accompanied by Minister of Youth and Sports, Zainudin Amali also expressed his gratitude to the Papuan people for being warm hosts for contingents from other regions in Indonesia. Based on the history of the implementation of the National Sports Week, PON XX Papua is the first largest national-scale sporting event ever held in Papua. However, Papua is considered successful not only in organizing activities but also in making sports achievements by being in the top four of the standings from previously ranked eight at the XIX National Sports Week in 2016.

In his remarks, Vice President Ma’ruf Amin also emphasized that the success of Papua has proven that Papua is not only rich in natural resources, but also full of talented athletes. This will bring progress and prosperity to Papua. According to VP Ma'ruf Amin, the success of PON XX Papua also reflects the strength of the unity and integrity of the Indonesian nation which must be maintained together.

On this occasion, VP Ma'ruf Amin also congratulated all athletes, officials and supporters for the proud achievement of this XX PON, in particular the success of breaking several sports records at both national and international levels.

Meanwhile, Minister Zainudin Amali disclosed that there were around 90 national records which were broken from the branches of Athletics, Swimming, Shooting, Weightlifting, and Diving. Most of the records are included in the leading sports branches of the Great Design of National Sports which have been prepared by the Ministry of Youth and Sports along with sports stakeholders as guidelines for fostering national sports achievements.

The Grand Design of National Sports has been signed by President Joko Widodo at the Commemoration of the 38th National Sports Day on September 9, 2021. The goal is to improve sports culture in the community, enhance capacity, synergy, and productivity of national sports achievements and promote a sports-based national economy. With the Great Design of National Sports, regional governments will be able to focus more on coaching in certain sports. Good and continuous coaching is expected to be able to make achievements with new records both at national and international levels, as has been achieved at PON XX Papua. It is even targeted that Indonesia can occupy the 5th position in the 2044 Olympics and Paralympics.

15
October

 

ASEAN's efforts to mediate the conflict in Myanmar are running very slowly, it can even be said to be running in place. Since the ASEAN leaders' meeting, April 24, in Jakarta, none of the five agreed points of consensus have been implemented, except for the appointment of a special envoy. In fact, considering the attitude of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, the implementation of the consensus was like meeting a hard wall.

The five points of consensus to maintain Myanmar's stability have clearly been violated by the Myanmar Junta. The consensus is First, violence must stop immediately in Myanmar and all parties must exercise full restraint. Second, the leaders agreed to hold a constructive dialogue among all interested parties in Myanmar. Third, ASEAN will send a special envoy who will facilitate mediation and the process. dialogue with the assistance of the Secretary General of ASEAN. Fourth, ASEAN will provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar through the AHA Centre. Fifth, special envoys and ASEAN delegations will visit Myanmar to meet with all relevant parties.

Instead of implementing the agreed consensus, upon arrival in Naypyidaw, the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing turned around. Instead, he applied his own conditions for the implementation of the five consensus. One of them is that the junta will implement the five consensus if the political and security situation has recovered according to its self-determined measure.

Reuters news agency, Thursday (14/10/2021), said the ASEAN Special Envoy for Myanmar Erywan Yusof said the military's failure to act according to the five-point plan was 'akin to a setback'. Erywan Yusof was even barred from meeting with Suu Kyi, who is an important figure in Myanmar's political turmoil.

Regarding the deterioration of the situation in Myanmar, ASEAN foreign ministers convened virtually, Friday 15 October 2021. The meeting discussed the exclusion of Myanmar's junta leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, from the upcoming ASEAN summit. Hopefully, this can be a punishment and harsh criticism for the non-implementation of the five consensus, which ASEAN leaders set in April.

The crisis in Myanmar is very protracted. The intervention of the United Nations, and big powers like the United States and China is needed to address it. This includes countries that support ASEAN's steps in seeking a diplomatic solution. In recent months, pressure has been increasing on ASEAN regarding the need for tougher and firmer measures against Myanmar.

Myanmar has been in political and economic paralysis since the February 1 military coup. This condition triggered an outpouring of anger and protests within the country. Some civilians have even formed militias to confront the powerful army.

14
October

 

 

President Joko Widodo has inaugurated 11 members of the General Election Commission (KPU) and Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) selection committee team. This inauguration was announced by Minister of Home Affairs, Tito Karnavian in a press conference in Jakarta, Monday (11/10). The team will hold the selection of KPU and Bawaslu candidates for the 2022-2027 period, since the current KPU and Bawaslu's tenure will end in April 2022. According to the Home Affairs Ministry's Director General for Politics and General Government Bachtiar, the 11 selection committee members consist of three government officials, four academicians, and four community members.

Meanwhile, political observer Adi Prayitno affirmed that the KPU and Bawaslu selection committee team must have the credibility and skills in politics, especially the general election. Besides, the committee members must be independent, impartial, and un-affiliated with any interest or political party.

The 11 selection committee members led by Juri Ardiantoro are expected to work carefully and to be broadminded in selecting the candidates.This is to avoid selecting the candidates without clear track records. There are many smart people. However, being smart is not enough. They also need to have integrity and morals to be trustworthy and honest.

Money politics is often difficult to avoid in elections. Therefore, it is expected that the selection committee team would not be easily swayed by money, but brave enough to refuse any group and party's request in deciding the KPU and Bawaslu commissioner candidates.

Hopefully, the selection committee can work well, honestly and openly and they are committed to the people and the nation. In addition, the openness for input and report from the people for KPU and Bawaslu candidates is important for consideration in choosing the best candidates.

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