Indonesia – Canada Relations
Indonesia-Canada diplomatic relations formally began when the two countries signed an agreement to open diplomatic missions in their respective capitals on October 9, 1952. However, relations between the two countries started in 1948, when Indonesia was struggling to gain international recognition for its independence from its former colonial power in 1945.
Canada, through General Andrew McNaughton as the President of the United Nations’ Security Council, managed to break the deadlock in the negotiation on resolving the conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands that resulted in the adoption of Resolution 67/1949, which endorsed the establishment of a Tripartite Commission to hold negotiations with Indonesia and the Netherlands. The Tripartite negotiations lead to the international recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty in December 1949.
At the initial stage of Indonesia’s independence, Canada also supported the development in Indonesia through the Colombo Plan during the 1950s.
Indonesia and Canada perceived the need to establish a mechanism which periodically measured the progress of their cooperation as reference for future development. Within this framework, On July 30, 1997, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Ali Alatas and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Loyd Axworthy signed a Joint Declaration by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of Canada on the Establishment of a Bilateral Consultative Forum. During the 17th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting in Singapore, November 13, 2009, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty M. Natalegawa and Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Canon emphasized that it was necessary to convene the Bilateral Consultative Forum (BCF) as soon as possible. Henceforth, Indonesia and Canada have carried out 2 (two) BCF, the first one was held in Ottawa, Canada in Mei 2011 and the second one in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in June 2012, when both countries are celebrating their Diamond Anniversary. The Bilateral Consultative Forum discussion varies from political, economic and socio-cultural issues. As agreed during the first BCF, the following Forums are presided by an Economic Dialogue and a Human Rights Dialogue.
Highlighting the 60th Anniversary of Indonesia-Canada Diplomatic Relations in which occurred on 9 October 2012, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E. Dr. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa visited Ottawa on 22-23 August 2012 to have a bilateral meeting with his Canadian counterpart, the Honourable John Baird on 23 August 2012, to discuss the progress of Indonesia-Canada cooperation in various fields and the way forward. Determined to elevate the cooperation, Minister Natalegawa and Minister Baird signed a “Joint Declaration by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of Canada on Enhancing Bilateral Consultations” after the bilateral meeting. The Joint Declaration specifies that the Bilateral Consultative Forum of Indonesia and Canada, which currently meets at the Level of Senior Officials, will be convened at the level of Minister of Foreign Affairs on an annual basis or as appropriate. The Forum will enable both countries to measure the progress of their bilateral, regional and international cooperation as reference for future concrete cooperation.
The third Indonesia-Canada Bilateral Consultative Forum was held in Ottawa, Canada, 22-23 August 2013, and for the first time lead by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and Canada. Minister Natalegawa and Minister Baird held detailed discussions on bilateral issues and on regional and international topics of mutual interest. The Ministers agreed on the imperative to deepen bilateral engagement by focusing on increasing prosperity through trade, investment and economic cooperation, through political and security cooperation, and through collaboration on social, education, cultural and people-to-people contacts. The two ministers reiterated their Government’s mutual respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Forum was presided by an Economic Forum, Human Rights Dialogue and Senior Officials Meeting. The Human Rights Dialogue in 2013 was the 8th Dialogue. It discussed the best practices of human rights action plan and regional human rights institutions. Indonesia and Canada agreed to improve the human rights cooperation and regularly discuss the improvement in dealing with human rights issues.
In the parliamentary sector, Indonesia and Canada signed the Canada-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group (CIPFG) on April 27, 2009. The Group is pursuing an objective to increase bilateral cooperation, mainly on the Parliamentarian side, as well as encouraging executives in each country to increase bilateral economic and trade relations. The CIPFG is revived in March 2012. By the end of December 2013, the members of CIPFG consist of 28 Senators/Members of Parliaments. The current Co-Chairs are Mr. Deepak Obhrai, MP and Senator Victor Oh. Since its revival, the People’s Consultative Assembly of Indonesia, the Indonesian House of Representatives and the Indonesian House of Regional Representatives have visited Canada in 2012 and 2013. They could meet their permanent Canadian Counterparts within the umbrella of CIPFG.
The relations between CIPFG and Indonesia-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group (ICPFG) were strengthened by the Joint Declaration between Indonesia-Canada Parliamentary Friendship Group and Canada-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group on 24 October 2012 in Quebec City. The Signing was conducted at the sidelines of the 127th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Quebec City, on 21-26 October 2012, where the Indonesian Delegation actively participated in the Assembly. Based on the joint declaration, the two Parliamentary Friendship Groups agreed to lend mutual support and cooperation in bilateral relations, such as in promoting good governance and rule of law, as well as widening economic, trade and investment ties. They also agreed to cooperate within the framework of regional and international relations.
Indonesia and Canada also maintain their close relations in security and defence cooperation. Vice Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin visited Canada on 5-7 December 2013 to meet his counterpart, Mr. Richard B. Fadden, and to establish more effective defence cooperation with Canada.
In line with the emerging threats of terrorism, Indonesia and Canada work together in combating terrorism through various programs and share common positions in numerous multilateral organizations. During the third Indonesia-Canada Bilateral Consultative Forum in August 2013, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Counter Terrorism.
Canada gave technical assistance in the Counter Terrorism on Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons (CT-NBC) Program with the implementation of Training for Trainers. Since 2004, Canada also actively participated in the Jakarta Center for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) and the Bali Regional Counter Terrorism Process chaired by Indonesia and Australia. In February, April and May 2011, Canada assigned its officers to provide trainings in JCLEC. The Indonesian and Canadian Forces continue to develop the cooperation by holding Public Affairs Training Course in Canada and Indonesia up to present, as well as Capacity Building Cooperation in English Language Teacher Trainer in Ottawa and St. Jean, Quebec.
Indonesia and Canada also lend mutual support in the international fora. Both are Co-Sponsor for the United Nations Resolution on Civilian Capacity in the Aftermath of Conflict, adopted by the United Nations in 2012.
Indonesia Economic Cooperation
Indonesia and Canada’s economic cooperation covers several sectors, such as investment, development cooperation, trade, forestry and agriculture.
According to the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM in the bahasa abbreviation), Canadian investment in Indonesia in 2012 reached USD8.5 million in 14 projects, increased from 2011 that registered at USD2.2 million in 12 projects. Accordingly, the value of Canadian investment in Indonesia in 2012 showed an increase of more than 285% compared to 2011. The BKPM also reported that Canadian investment in Indonesia in 2013, between January – September, registered at USD 102,9 million which is a significant surge.
Meanwhile, data quoted from Statistics Canada shows Canadian investment in Indonesia at CAD3.218 billion in 2012, or an increase of approximately 1.6% from 2011 that registered at CAD3.168 billion. In 2012, Indonesia ranks 26th as destination country for Canadian investment abroad with 0.5% share. Indonesia is also the main destination country for Canadian investment in Southeast Asia.
Several Canadian companies that have operations in Indonesia are, among others, Talisman Energy, Sherritt, Manulife Financial, and Sunlife Financial.
With respect to investment cooperation, the Governments of Indonesia and Canada are in the negotiation process of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA).
Development Bilateral Relations
Canadian development assistance is distributed through the development arm of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development/DFATD (formerly known as Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)) to Indonesia through related ministries/agencies such as, State Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Cooperatives Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Ministries of Maritime and Fisheries Affairs, Ministry of Religious Affairs as well as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
The goals and priorities of development cooperation are, among others: (a) the program aims to improve sustainable economic prosperity for the poor; (b) the current focus of programming is in the areas of local and regional economic development and natural resources management; (c) the program has had a geographic focus on six provinces of Sulawesi island since the 1970s.
In 2011-2012, Canadian development assistance to Indonesia reached CAD47.73 million that was distributed through bilateral program (CAD25.30 million) and multilateral program (CAD22.43 million).
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Directorate General of Watershed Management and Social Forestry Development, the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia and the Canadian Model Forest Network Concerning Cooperation on Sister Social Forestry and Model Forest Development, respectively was signed separately on 31st October 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia and on 6th November 2012 in Ottawa, Canada, for a duration of four years between 2013-2016.
The purpose of the cooperation is (a) to enhance the capacity of social forestry actors; (b) to improve stakeholders collaborations and forest governance based on social forestry and the Principle and Attributes of Model Forests; (c) to improve community welfare and forest sustainability; (d) to realize Model Forest development in the Special Province of Yogyakarta, and potentially elsewhere in Indonesia. The activities include, among others, (a) education, training and workshops; (b) exchange of experience and experts, and (c) exchange of visits.
The Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on 11th October 2010 in Jakarta, Indonesia, signed a Letter of Intent to Explore Agricultural Cooperation. In addition, the Ambassador of Canada for Indonesia met the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia on 12th January 2012 and discussed cooperation in the agricultural sector.
Facts on Indonesia-Canada Trade and Investment Relations
Education, Socio-Culture and Tourism
The image of Indonesian Tourism increased with the revocation of the travel warning by the Government of Canada on February 11th 2009. Tourism campaigns to attract Canadian tourists have been carried out each year in various Travel Marts, such as Ottawa Travel and Vocation Show and International Tourism and Travel Show. In the following year, the number of Canadian tourists to Indonesia increased significantly, from 39,784 persons (2008) to 43,159 (2010) and 54,287 (2011).
The Indonesian Embassy actively participates in various cultural events in Canada, such as: Ottawa Tulip Festival, Gala Asian Heritage Month, Expression of Muslim Women, International Food Fair, etc.
Marking the 60th Anniversary of Indonesia and Canada bilateral relations in 2012, the 59 year old Indonesian Tall-Ship Dewaruci harboured in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador from 11-14 July 2012. The Indonesian Ambassador to Canada, H.E. Dienne H. Moehario welcomed the visit of the magnificent Tall-Ship. Dewaruci had been serving as an excellent training vessel to the Indonesian Navy and strengthening friendship among nations by promoting people to people contact. Since her arrival which was covered by media, more than 700 local people had a tour of the ship Dewaruci.
Serving as an Indonesian Goodwill Ambassador, the Tall-Ship Dewaruci had an Indonesian Night on board on July 13, 2012, at Pier 9, St. John’s Harbour. The Tall-Ship commanded by Naval Lieutenant Colonel Haris Bima Bayuseto, with 77 crew members that presented various cultural performances during the reception, among others the Badinding Dance from the Province of West Sumatra, Reog Ponorogo from the Province of East Java, a tribal dance from Papua and Rampak Gendang musical performance from the Province of West Java. The guests consisted of the Indonesian Community and the Canadian Community in St John’s. They enthusiastically danced and sang along with the cultural performances. Among the guests were H.H. the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable John C. Crosbie, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, the Honourable Nick McGrath, Senator Norman Doyle, Mr. Jack Harris, M.P. and Brigadier General Anthony Stack, Deputy Commander of the Land Forces Atlantic Area, Canada.
In education, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia continues to facilitate cooperation in higher education in Canada and Indonesia. Several education collaboration programs have been undertaken, such as programs between Memorial University and Universitas Indonesia (1998-2004), McGill University and IAIN (2001-2006), CEGEP-John Abbott College and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia (2006-now).
Canada also participates in Dharmasiswa, an Indonesia’s scholarship program, which focuses on socio-cultural and language education since 1987. For the 2012/2013 academic year, there are 6 (six) Canadian students joining this Program in Indonesia. It makes the total of 68 alumni.
Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Indonesia-Canada Diplomatic Relations, the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Ottawa and fifty Indonesian Dancers and Musician from the Indonesia Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta (ISI Yogyakarta) and the Gondang Orchestra presented an Indonesian Dance and Music Performance in Canada. The Performance was on stage two days in a row; at the Tana Schulich Music School of McGill University, Montreal, on 6 November 2012 and at CEGEP John Abott College, Sainte-Anne-de Bellevue, on 7 November 2012. The event was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia. Prior to the performance at the John Abbott College, two Memorandums of Understanding on Education were signed. The Memorandum of Understanding between the Indonesia Institute of the Arts, Yogyakarta and CEGEP John Abbott College, Canada, on Higher Education on Arts Cooperation was signed by the Rector of the ISI Yogyakarta, Prof. Dr. AM Hermin Kusmayati, and the Director General of CEGEP John Abbott College, Madame Ginette Sheehy. While, the Memorandum of Understanding between Sekolah Tinggi Pariwisata Bandung and CEGEP John Abbott College on Education, Tourism and Event Management was signed by the Director of STP Bandung, Mr. Noviendi Makalam and Madame Ginette Sheehy.
The Government of Indonesia also cooperated with McGill University in arranging the interfaith dialogue to stress the importance of tolerance between the two countries held in Ottawa (2007) and Montreal (2008).
The closer bilateral relations between Indonesia and Canada are also reflected in the increasing number of high level visits as well as people to people visits to Indonesia and Canada.
Indonesia perceives Canada as a developed country with abundant potentials of cooperation in the field of politics, economy, technology and education while Canada is currently pivoting its policies towards Asia, including Indonesia that has been growing remarkably since its reformation process in 1998. Hence, the two countries need to further enhance their relations by exploring untapped potentials for the benefits and welfare of their peoples.