Saturday, February 11, 2017

Walking the middle path: The characteristics of Indonesia’s rise by Awidya Santikajaya First Published February 9, 2017

This article provides a framework to help understand Indonesia’s rise. Although the study of emerging powers has flourished in recent years, much discussion is devoted to explaining large emerging powers, such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC). Indonesia’s rise is overlooked because its material capabilities are less than those of the BRIC countries. In order to characterize the emergence of Indonesia, this article establishes a set of parameters to distinguish Indonesia from BRIC and middle powers. The parameters are: (1) attitude toward the international order; (2) performed role; and (3) nexus between regional and global roles. This article argues that Indonesia displays three characteristics that distinguish it from BRIC and middle powers—(1) soft-revisionist; (2) normative bridge building; and (3) accommodative regional leadership. The third and fourth sections of this article test these characteristics through G20 and climate change case studies. This article concludes that the characteristics of Indonesia’s emergence are located in a conundrum between those of BRIC and middle powers. Although it shares some characteristics with BRIC countries, Indonesia is carefully trying to keep a distance from BRIC and to maintain strategic autonomy in relations with other international actors.
Keywords Indonesiamiddle powersBRICG20MIKTA

Narratives on a “changing world,” “transformation of global order,” and “global governance transition” have flourished in recent years. From an economic perspective, developing countries’ economies have indeed expanded substantially. According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the share of non-OECD countries to the global economy will rise from 49 percent in 2010 to 57 percent in 2030. In contrast, the developed nations’ share of world gross domestic product (GDP) has generally declined. The United States’ share as the world’s largest economy, for instance, declined from 30.87 percent in 2000 to 24.44 percent in 2015, while the Eurozone’s contribution to the world’s GDP decreased from 19.46 percent in 2000 to 15.71 percent in 2015.1
In response to the growing importance of certain countries in contemporary world politics and economics, scholars and policymakers use the terminology of “emerging powers” or “rising powers.” As a manifestation of their increasing economic weight, these emerging powers have pursued foreign policy activism in various multilateral negotiations.2 They are now seen not merely as destinations for foreign investors, but also as countries that have ambitions to promote changes in international relations. They often actively question the relevance and legitimacy of established norms in world politics.
Despite growing attention to nations in this category, the elaboration of the emerging powers remains contested and ambiguous.3 The analysis often takes for granted the membership of the “emerging power” group, without a deeper understanding of the complexity and variation among countries within this category. Thus, a significant body of literature is concerned with such countries as China, India, Brazil, and Russia. While research dealing with these four countries, collectively referred to as BRIC, is abundant, the rest of the emerging powers are still very much understudied. BRIC has been central due to the large size of its members, in terms of population, geography, and material resources. “BRIC” is even used interchangeably with “emerging powers” as a whole. Lin Yueqin listed four BRIC countries as representatives of emerging powers.4Joshua Toh regarded these four countries as the leading actors shaping the world order in the twenty-first century.5
Indonesia is one of the emerging powers that is relatively understudied. When narratives about emerging or rising powers became popular, Indonesia was indeed included in such emerging powers/markets categories as MIST,6 the Next-11,7 and CIVETS8 by business analysts. Nouriel Roubini, an American economist, optimistically assessed Indonesia’s potential economic strength and predicted that Indonesia would be the sixth largest economy by 2030.9 Roubini argued that Indonesia has presented an interesting economic model whose low inflation, low debt, and large domestic contribution to GDP, supported by a large young population, would bring more sustainable economic growth than China’s model, which is highly dependent on exports.10 Some suggested Indonesia should be included in BRICS,11 for both analytical purposes and actual membership. Thee Kian Wie suggested that Indonesia should replace Russia in BRIC, changing the group’s name to BIIC, because Indonesia’s economy is much more diverse than Russia’s, which is significantly dependent on oil and gas exports.12 Georgy Toloraya of the BRICS National Research Committee saw Indonesia as the likeliest candidate for BRICS’ membership expansion.13
Although economic and business reports have acknowledged Indonesia’s economic potential, little literature has looked at the significance of a rising Indonesia on the global political landscape. This lack of analysis is related to the size—economic and military— and political influence of Indonesia, which is not as comparable to China, India, and Russia. Among the few to offer an analysis of Indonesia’s rise is Amitav Acharya.14 Using a constructivist framework, Acharya argues that Indonesia’s rise is a result of the country’s ability to build a stable and balanced interaction between three factors: democracydevelopment, and stability. Through its strengths in these three areas, Indonesia has been able to promote itself as a “normative actor” rather than projecting its military and economic powers as foreign policy tools.15
Acharya has contributed importantly in explaining Indonesia’s rise. Nonetheless, unresolved issues remain when too much attention is given to the normative dimensions in explaining Indonesia’s profile and trajectory as an emerging power. Overpraising the positive sides of Indonesia’s democracy, development, and stability, and overlooking complex problems such as vote buying and the dominant role of oligarchy, which have degraded the substantive value of democracy, could lead to an inaccurate conclusion.
To better answer the question “How can Indonesia’s rise best be characterized in contemporary world politics?” it is necessary to identify key differences between Indonesia and other emerging powers, especially BRIC as the four largest emerging powers. As a starting point, the following section sets up parameters that could be used in distinguishing Indonesia from BRIC. The third and fourth sections seek to provide evidence for the unique characteristics of Indonesia’s rise formulated in the second section. The conclusion summarizes this study’s main findings.

“Emerging power” is not the only label used when referring to Indonesia. “Middle power” is also often applied. Jonathan Ping,16 for example, identified Indonesia, together with Malaysia, as middle powers in the Asia-Pacific region because they are in the middle rank of several indicators.17 Nevertheless, the concept of middle power does not help significantly in grappling with Indonesia’s increasing role on the world stage. This is because the frames used to identify middle powers, such as Australia, Canada, and Japan, are not compatible with Indonesia. These middle powers have been comfortably situated in the Western liberal order. Since they have been integrated into the international system, middle powers’ foreign policy ambitions are relatively modest. Indonesia, on the other hand, aspires to gain more voice in the system, as it has shown through its activism in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) since the 1950s.
In order to more accurately locate Indonesia in the emerging power narrative, it must be distinguished from both BRIC and middle powers. I suggest a set of parameters for marking the divisions among them. This set consists of: (1) attitude toward international order; (2) promoted role; and (3) nexus between regional and global roles.
Attitude toward the international order
Emerging powers are generally seen as challengers to the current US-led international order. They have historically demanded the revision of the current order to reflect a fairer redistribution of power18 and presented themselves as challengers to established powers.19 Although there have been several changes in the international order as a result of the changing distribution of power, the current international order is largely dominated by the US and its Western allies. The ability of the US to maintain its dominance has been declining, but its military and economic strength is still unchallenged.20
Western countries have not always walked side by side, as can be seen from the disagreements between them on climate change, refugees, and Iraq. Although clarifying the revisionist/status-quo seeking divide is a complex matter, middle powers are generally very close to and supportive of the international order, since most of them were early supporters of the United Nations (UN) and Bretton-Woods institutions. Although they seek to pursue a higher degree of independent foreign policy, they are bound by the framework of alliance with the US. Canada, for example, contributed importantly to some UN reforms by supporting and encouraging the reform of the UN’s management structures and the establishment of a peacebuilding commission.21 But Canada’s enthusiastic attitude for reform fell suddenly silent in discussions of sensitive issues such as reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC).22
BRIC countries, on the other hand, are vocal in exposing the inconsistencies and unfairness of the international order. It is true that BRIC countries themselves are diverse and lack a coherent revisionist agenda among themselves, but they have increasingly been able to put aside differences and come up with a united voice when dealing with global governance reform. Regarding the UNSC reform, for example, China and Russia confirmed their support of India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UNSC,23 despite China’s initial reluctance to endorse India.24
Indonesia’s aspirations for a rearranged global order, on the other hand, are rooted partly in its historical ties with Global Southern diplomatic alliances, such as the NAM, which were active during the Cold War era. But, contrary to BRIC, Indonesia acts as a “soft revisionist,” implying that it demands the reordering of the current global governance but is still supportive of the order. Indonesia prefers to pursue a careful strategic positioning by avoiding direct, confrontational attitudes. While BRIC is able to present an alternative to the existing global order, Indonesia is more moderate in pushing for global governance reforms. While rhetorically advocating the reforms, Indonesia prefers to take a wait-and-see approach in the reform process.
Performed role
The idea of a performed role is drawn from the work of K.J. Holsti. He argued that a state’s role performance is a result of the interaction between “role conception,” which is the idea of the state about itself and the environment, and “role prescription,” which is other countries’ expectations of appropriate conduct in the international system.25 According to Holsti, role conception is a product of a nation’s socialization process and is influenced by history, culture, and societal conception.26
In this context, Indonesia’s performed role can be regarded as “bridge builder.” Indonesia acts as a middle-way player and mediator, locating itself in the middle between different states, many of which are more powerful. Indonesia has proposed itself as a mediator in conflicts, encouraged different parties to find a common position, and rejected confrontational approaches that could escalate rivalry.
BRIC countries, on the other hand, are less enthusiastic about playing a bridge-builder role. Their diplomatic activities have focused more on building a larger negotiation bloc that could leverage their positions through efforts such as South–South cooperation. While they have played a bridge-builder role in the past, as their power has increased, their global ambition has overshadowed their bridge-builder attempts.
Indonesia’s bridge-builder role has some similarities with middle powers’ middlepowermanship in the sense that both behaviours reflect a motive of becoming good internationalists that contribute to consensual solutions. That having been said, the differences between bridge-builder and middle powers are clear from ideological and capabilities perspectives. From an ideological point of view, middle powers are traditionally Western countries, so their middlepowermanship role aims to perpetuate the US-led global system. In contrast, because of its status as a developing country, Indonesia’s bridge-builder ambition is directed at bringing developing countries’ perspectives to global issues.
Nexus between regional and global roles
Indonesia seems similar to BRIC countries in the sense that both act as regional powers by using their relationships with smaller states as their power base when playing roles in international politics. However, Indonesia has a different conceptual and practical understanding of “region” from BRIC. Since the less powerful states act either as followers or contesters of other countries’ leadership, claiming a leadership role in the region is a complex matter and requires careful strategic positioning.27 Many countries in the region, despite their small size, are uneasy about accepting a leading role on the part of a more powerful country.
Miriam Prys provides a useful perspective in distinguishing different perceptions of regional power by dividing regional powers into three types: (1) regional dominator; (2) hegemon; and (3) detached power.28 According to Prys, a regional dominator usually uses a threat of force to influence less powerful states to do what it demands. A hegemon, on the other hand, bears a significant task of providing public goods and encouraging less powerful states to help support it. A detached power concentrates on domestic and/or global arenas over regional politics and consistently intends to play down the risk or cost of interaction with less powerful states. Prys argues that “the global ambitions of states… can have a disruptive effect on their perceived, desired, or actual leadership within the region.”29 Using Prys’s typology, Indonesia acts as a hegemon, while BRIC has displayed characteristics similar to dominator or detached power.
Indonesia seeks to claim a role as a regional representative in relations with external actors. It tries to consistently balance between roles in regional and global contexts. In spite of its ambition to lead the region, Indonesia carefully avoids displaying itself as an egoistically dominant leader, a strategy that would generate negative reaction from smaller neighbours. Indonesia, therefore, promotes a role as interlocutor between regional and global interests.
BRIC countries, on the other hand, are less sensitive in their relations with smaller states in their regions. Understanding that less powerful states might contend their leadership, BRIC has reluctantly participated in regionalism projects. While they have been involved in regional organizations, their roles in these organizations are overshadowed by the priority they give to the global stage. They display elements of dominating behaviours toward their smaller neighbours. On the other hand, if they have to deal with their neighbours, they often choose to detach themselves from the regional process. China, for instance, is a member of some regional institutions, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and East Asia Summit (EAS). However, China often prioritizes the use of coercive and threat tactics in dealing with issues related to territorial integrity and disputes with its neighbours.
Middle powers have a fairly low regional orientation since they have benefited from the global order. While they have participated in regional projects—Australia and Japan in the EAS, and Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for example—they have not shown much leadership in these regional mechanisms.
These three identifications of foreign policy behaviours establish the line that separates Indonesia, BRIC, and middle powers. These differences are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Behaviours of Indonesia, BRIC, and middle powers.

Table1of 1
Table 1. Behaviours of Indonesia, BRIC, and middle powers.
The next two sections test the validity of the application of these behavioural characteristics to Indonesia through two case studies.

G20 membership has become a central point in many Indonesian officials’ speeches and statements. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, then Indonesian president, underlined the importance of the G20 in facilitating coordinated action to deal with the global financial crisis30 and stated Indonesia’s aspirations to play the role of problem-solver.31 Indonesian elites often claim that Indonesia’s inclusion in the G20 is an indication of its economic success, a sign that it has become a “world class” country, and a way for Indonesia to obtain a more prominent place in the world.32
In the first G20 Summit, Indonesia was assigned to co-chair the Working Group 4 (WG4) on the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) reforms with France. Indonesia hosted the WG4 Deputy Ministerial Meeting in Jakarta in February 2009 in preparation for the second G20 Summit in London. The working group contributed to some points agreed upon in the Leaders’ Statement, among them to initiate the “reform and modernization” of the international financial institutions (IFIs) to better reflect changes in the world economy.33
On International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform, in the 2010 IMF annual meetings, Indonesia’s quota was increased to 0.951, a 10 percent increase from the 2008 package. Although Indonesia shares BRIC’s spirit and goals on IFIs reform and several other issues in the G20 related to global economic governance reform, Indonesia is more attached to a soft-revisionist stance, a bridge-builder role, and an accommodative regional leadership role than are China, Russia, India, and Brazil.
Attitude toward the international economic order
Indonesia has maintained close and intense communication with BRICS in the G20. Aside from bilateral schemes, Indonesia, together with Argentina and Mexico, also consulted with BRICS through the Emerging Market Meetings (EMMs), an informal grouping at sherpa level that aims to exchange information and explore possibly similar positions. As then-Indonesian G20 sherpa Mr. Mahendra Siregar argued, the EMMs is a signal that BRICS understands that without Indonesia, Mexico, Argentina, and others, BRICS will not be effective in the G20.34
Despite close consultation with BRICS, Indonesia was not as aggressive on IMF reforms as it had been in 2008 and 2009. One indicator is that since 2012, Indonesia has dropped IMF reforms from its main G20 agenda. In the 2012 G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Indonesia’s main priorities were: (1) strengthening the G20’s effort to minimize the negative impacts of crisis on the most vulnerable groups; (2) prioritizing infrastructure development; and (3) endorsing financial inclusion.35
Indonesia’s soft-revisionist stances on IMF reforms were affected by a change of perception about their importance. Indonesia recognized its need for some domestic structural adjustments before assuming more roles in the IMF, which would come automatically once Indonesia’s quota and voting shares increased. One example of structural adjustment was the establishment of an independent agency that supervises and regulates capital markets and financial institutions. When the 2010 IMF reform was agreed to, Indonesia did not have such an agency. The task of monitoring capital markets and financial institutions was assigned to the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank. Learning from common practices in other countries and understanding the need for an independent institution tasked with supervising the Indonesian financial system, Indonesia established the Otoritas Jasa Keuangan/Financial Service Authority (OJK) in late 2010. Given the time needed for these processes, Indonesia was not entirely disappointed with the delay of the IMF reforms. One senior Indonesian official revealed that, “The delay of the IMF quota reform implementation is such a ‘blessing in disguise’ for us because we then have more time to reform and advance our domestic financial system. Indonesia has to ensure that its financial system operates according to international standards. When the quota reform is implemented and our responsibility to global financial management increases, then we will be more ready to bear the responsibility.”36 Another factor that lowered Indonesia’s emphasis on IMF quota reform was doubt over whether Indonesia’s and other emerging powers’ loan pledges to the IMF were really intended to increase the role and participation of developing countries in the IMF’s decision-making processes. This doubt arose after the reality of the world economy in 2010, when the reforms package was agreed, changed dramatically from 2011 onward. In 2010, the G20 successfully mitigated the worsening impact of the financial crisis. However, after mid-2011, there were increasing financial difficulties in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland. These difficulties forced the IMF to raise additional sources for stand-by agreements. For Indonesia, this development to some extent changed the original motivation of the 2010 reforms package from providing developing countries with a more equal standing in the IMF to providing additional funding to European countries.37
While still seeing the IMF quota reform as important, Indonesia did not make the quota reform debate its main focus in the G20. In contrast to BRICS, which regarded the delay of the reforms package with much disappointment, Indonesia saw that the G20 had successfully pushed the IMF to take some steps toward governance reforms.38 The governance reforms focus more on the issue of strengthening international financial architecture, such as improving the IMF’s lending capacity and its surveillance strategy. Siregar noted that one important success of the G20, to which Indonesia has contributed greatly, was the elimination of the large number of preconditions for IMF financing. Another key difference between Indonesia and other emerging powers relates to infrastructure and development issues. Understanding the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and other existing development institutions as Western-dominated, BRICS established the New Development Bank in 2013. China also formed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). While seeing the importance of these new banks in increasing sources for development, Indonesia still regards existing institutions as the main development creditors, given their experience and capacity,39 and hopes to see new banks having a complementary role, with collaboration occurring between the “old” and “new” institutions.40
When hosting the 60th Anniversary meeting of the Asia-African Conference, Indonesian president Jokowi delivered a speech that urged the immediate and comprehensive reform of the World Bank and IMF, and the building of a new international economic order.41 But it is important to note that, rhetoric aside, Indonesia provided no clear plan or design for what kind of reform should occur and what the new economic order should be. Interviews with senior government officials provided evidence confirming Indonesia’s more soft-revisionist stance rather than political elites’ revolutionary rhetoric.
Performed role
The G20 is an informal and consensus-based platform with no certain rule and regulation. Although the informality of the G20 was designed to ensure flexibility, the lack of institutionalized and legal mechanisms can result in the lack of a sense of “we-ness” or togetherness, which could lead each member to promote its national interests only. The bridge-builder role has gained significance amid the G20’s unclear operational mechanisms, and it is a role especially suitable for members that are neither G7 nor BRICS members.
Indonesia has played the role of bridge builder on the issue of infrastructure financing. From the first summit, Indonesia proposed the establishment of a Global Expenditure Support Fund (GESF), which aimed to “support budget financing, on top of regular development assistance… for countries that are most vulnerable and most in need.”42 Indonesia continued its effort at the London Summit by bringing the GESF proposal into the discussions of IFIs reform. Indonesia proposed the allocation of some part of global funds from the IMF and the World Bank to regional development banks so that countries in need of loans could borrow from the fund much more quickly. The GESF proposal, however, did not attract much attention from other nations at those two summits.43 Indonesian delegations then changed the narrative of their proposal from GESF to a Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII) in the fourth G20 Summit in Toronto. The infrastructure initiative expected more investment on infrastructure as an integral part of sustaining economic growth, especially in developing countries. But again Indonesia’s proposal did not obtain much support from other G20 members. Developed countries argued that because of the global financial crisis, they did not have sufficient funds to contribute to the infrastructure initiative.44
Indonesian delegations provided three arguments supporting a global infrastructure fund.45 The first was that the global economic weight is now shifting away from developed to developing countries; thus the G20 should be more concerned with supporting the sustainability of developing countries’ high economic growth by providing more infrastructure funds, as one part of efforts to revive the global economy. Second, despite high economic growth, economies in developing countries are still far from full employment conditions, meaning that there is still much unexplored economic potential. By supporting infrastructure development in developing countries, developed countries will in the end receive a high rate of return. Third, providing infrastructure finance will help not only one particular country but groups of nations with significant numbers of population to improve their economic condition. Once the global economy has revived, those nations will provide what the world needs, such as cheap and good quality manufactured products, because better infrastructure has helped them improve their productivity and efficiency.
During the 2012 G20 summit in Mexico, Indonesia approached the host to bring infrastructure financing to the table.46 At the summit, Indonesia presented its experience with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Infrastructure Fund. Because the idea of investment in infrastructure started to gain significant support from other G20 members, the 2012 G20 Summit eventually incorporated infrastructure financing into the Leaders’ Communiqué.47 Indonesia also succeeded in getting the G20 leaders to agree on assigning their finance ministers and central bank governors to “consider ways in which the G20 can foster investment in infrastructure and ensure the availability of sufficient funding for infrastructure projects, including Multilateral Development Banks’ [MDBs] financing and technical support.”48
Thus, Indonesia has played a bridge-builder role by proposing infrastructure financing, an issue that was initially resisted by developed countries and was not a priority for the BRICS, who concentrated more on IMF quota reform and other economic governance reform issues. Having said that, Indonesia’s bridge-builder ambition suffers from a fundamental problem—its lack of consistency in managing its role most effectively. This can be seen from the fact that although Indonesia was the first to bring the infrastructure issue to the agenda, it had little power to play a role once the infrastructure financing issue became the G20’s top agenda item.
Indonesia’s difficulty in maintaining consistency in its bridge-builder role is due to the country’s capacity constraints. Indonesian officials working on the G20 numbered fewer than 30 key people. A small number of officials made policy formulation more effective, but it is certainly not sufficient for dealing with the complexity of G20 issues. Recognizing this lack of strength compared with other more powerful G20 members, Indonesia, together with Mexico, Australia, Turkey, and South Korea, formed an informal grouping called MIKTA in 2013. The five countries have ambitions to become a “bridge builder in the international community.”49 MIKTA believes that its member countries “have great potential to contribute to the G20’s efforts in promoting the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the global economy.”50 By the end of 2016, MIKTA had successfully held six foreign ministerial meetings.
Despite the optimistic promise of playing a bridge-building role, MIKTA’s progress has been relatively slow, especially compared to BRICS. MIKTA attempted to hold a meeting of heads of states on the sidelines of the 2014 G20 Summit in Brisbane and at the 2015 G20 Summit in Turkey. Both initiatives failed to be implemented. One fundamental problem with MIKTA was that despite these countries’ claims that they have become a collective bridge builder and “force for good,” it is unclear what their real proposal for pursuing a bridge-builder role is.51 When asked about Indonesia’s stance on MIKTA, Indonesian officials adopt a wait-and-see approach. Despite recognizing MIKTA’s potential, Indonesia seems careful for not spending much diplomatic energy in MIKTA because the group is still in the early stage of institutionalization. Indonesia's MIKTA policy can be more clearly assessed when it holds MIKTA chairmanship in 2018.
Nexus between regional and global roles
Indonesian leaders have often claimed that Indonesia wanted to promote the interests of ASEAN in the G2052 and promised not to choose the G20 over ASEAN.53 Despite the rhetoric, Indonesia is careful not to assume that it speaks for ASEAN.
ASEAN itself often had difficulty when trying to establish a common position in multilateral institutions and forums. In the 20th ASEAN Summit in Cambodia in 2012, ASEAN leaders assigned officials to work on ASEAN’s Position Paper to the G20. The paper never materialized and even the process of developing it has not yet started,54 although it has been several years since the commitment was made. This inaction demonstrates ASEAN’s lack of seriousness about developing a common position in the G20. Recognizing the complexity of establishing a formal link between ASEAN and the G20, Indonesia became less concerned with the initial idea of solidifying ASEAN’s voice in the G20. Instead, Indonesia’s more realistic effort was to ensure that the G20 host invited the ASEAN chair, a position that is rotated among ASEAN members on an annual basis.55 Indonesia has indeed succeeded; the ASEAN chair has been invited to all G20 summits so far. Together with the European Union (EU), ASEAN is the only regional organization that gained status as a permanent invitee at the G20. The ASEAN secretary general was also invited to four G20 summits.
Given the differences in capacity and political and economic structure among ASEAN members, there is great variation in the interests and priorities of different ASEAN chairs. During the 2012 G20 Summit in Mexico, for instance, Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen encouraged oil-producing countries to help ease high oil prices that hampered the economies of net oil importing countries, such as Cambodia. A year later, Brunei, which took over the ASEAN chair from Cambodia, did not raise high oil prices as an issue at the St. Petersburg summit. Brunei, of course, is a wealthy oil exporter and has no interest in lower oil prices.56
Indonesia sees no problem with the rotating ASEAN chair articulating the national interests of their own country. Indonesian presidents did not even hold bilateral meetings with either the ASEAN secretary general or the rotating ASEAN chair on the sidelines of G20 summits, except with Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the second G20 Summit in London. Looking ahead to the 2014 G20 Summit in Brisbane, Indonesian president Joko Widodo did not use the opportunity to discuss G20 issues with Myanmarese president Thein Shein, who was serving as the ASEAN chair. During their meeting, which was only a few days before the Brisbane Summit, President Widodo preferred to discuss bilateral cooperation and did not touch on anything about possible collaboration between the two countries in the G20.57
Although relations between Indonesia and ASEAN in the G20 have not been institutionalized, Indonesia’s behaviours are clearly different from those of Brazil, China, India, or Russia. These nations take a grander role in the G20 and do not consider their neighbours’ aspirations and interests when acting in the G20. There is no comparable communication between India and Nepal or Bangladesh, or between Brazil and Ecuador or Paraguay, regarding G20. India and Brazil are more interested in consolidating their view in BRICS, rather than with countries in their regions.
Despite limited formal coordination with ASEAN in the G20, Indonesia’s formal positions in the G20 contain several intersections with ASEAN’s documented statements. In the words of Yulius Hermawan, “Indonesia does not represent ASEAN in the G20 in terms of formal process, but it implicitly brings forward ASEAN’s ideas to the G20.”58 For example, since the first G20 summit Indonesia has advocated the infrastructure financing issue for developing countries, which is in line with the ASEAN Connectivity agenda.59 Another example is Indonesia’s insistence that G20 and IFIs improve coordination with regional arrangements, including the ASEAN’s Chiang Mai Initiative, when dealing with economic crises.

By 1992, Indonesia had ratified almost all treaties on environment and climate change, including the Vienna Convention, Montreal Protocol, London Amendment, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Indonesia’s active involvement in climate change talks was triggered by its awareness of its geographical structure as an archipelagic state that would be significantly affected by the rise of sea levels. On the other hand, Indonesia’s active involvement in UNFCCC could be interpreted as part of Suharto’s ambition to show his international leadership beyond the Southeast Asian region. Suharto chaired the NAM between 1992 and 1995, at a time when the movement needed to define its future after the collapse of the USSR. Upon returning from the Rio Conference in June 1992, Suharto instructed his cabinet to coordinate with officials from NAM members so that the NAM Summit could reach an agreement on environmental issues.60 The summit subsequently agreed on several points on climate change and the environment, such as the establishment of the High Level Commission on Sustainable Development.61
Indonesia, as one of the founding members of the G77, identified itself with that group’s negotiation bloc in all UNFCCC negotiations. Shortly after the 1997 Conference of Parties (COP) 3 in Kyoto, Indonesia was elected as the G77 chair in 1998, and led the group during the COP 4 in Buenos Aires. Nevertheless, Indonesia was not able to provide leadership during that COP. The complex domestic, political, and economic crises, for which President Suharto stepped down in May 1998, severely weakened Indonesia’s chairmanship capability and legitimacy as shown by Indonesia’s failure to send a minister to attend the COP and chair the G77.62 Given the crisis, Indonesia was even given the option of deferring its chairmanship, but rejected the offer.63
Post-reformasi governments continued Indonesia’s commitment on climate change. Indonesia signed the Kyoto Protocol on 13 July 1998 and ratified it on 3 December 2004. As an Annex II country, Indonesia was not required to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. During Yudhoyono’s presidency, Indonesia hosted the COP 13 in 2007, which was instrumental in paving the way for the post-Kyoto negotiations.
Attitude toward the international order
Over time, despite its firm commitment to stay in the G77, Indonesia has moved away from a hard-line stance, which sees climate change issues as solely the responsibility of developed countries. After learning that a climate change regime could provide economic benefit, Indonesia adopted the position that environmental protection could be compatible with economic development. The rise of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) initiative in 2005 was seen as an opportunity to benefit from the climate talks, given Indonesia’s status as having one of the world’s largest rainforests.
At the same time, since the 1997 Asian crisis and the decline of Indonesia’s crude oil production, palm oil became one of Indonesia’s most important export commodities. Indonesia supplies around 44 percent of the world’s palm oil demand, and since 2006 it has surpassed Malaysia as the largest palm oil producer.64 As a consequence of the rapid expansion of palm oil production, Indonesia’s deforestation rate increased.65 The deforestation rate was approximately 1.17 million hectares/year between 2003 and 2006.66 Looking ahead to the COP 13, there was much criticism of Indonesia from both domestic and international actors, especially related to its status as having the fastest growth of deforestation.67
REDD offered an opportunity to reconcile economic interests and environmental problems through the inflow of international funding to compensate for the cessation of forest exploitation. Indonesia grasped the REDD’s potential when hosting the COP 13 in 2007 in Bali. The COP 13 discussed REDD issues extensively and came up with the proposal for REDD+, in which the “+” referred to sustainable management of forests, conservation of forest carbon stocks, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The COP 13 agreed on specific points which “support capacity-building, provide technical assistance, facilitate the transfer of technology to improve, inter alia, data collection, estimation of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.”68Indonesia used REDD+ issues to strengthen its bargaining position in dealing with other actors in UNFCCC. Indonesia initiated the Forest-11, a coalition of 11 countries that have large proportions of tropical forest, to act together in the COP 13, especially in promoting REDD+. Indonesia later became the first nation to introduce a legislated REDD scheme in 2008 and also hosted some REDD related projects.
Given the importance of promoting the REDD+ concept and encouraging wide global support for it, Indonesia took a more progressive position than the rest of the G77 by not focusing entirely on pushing developed countries to cut emissions and provide financial and technological assistance to developing countries. As revealed by a senior official of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Our position [on climate change] is more progressive than G77’s. G77’s hard-line position was probably the same as ours fifteen years ago in WTO. But we are not that way anymore. G77 is still conservative and defensive on some issues. We are more advanced. Although we are still part of the group, we are free to choose.”69
When BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, and China) emerged during the 2009 Copenhagen COP, Indonesia decided not to join, believing that this new, informal group would threaten the G77’s unity. Despite claims that their positions represent developing countries, BASIC is criticized by other developing countries. Countries in the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and least developed countries (LDCs)—almost all of which are also G77 members—were disappointed by BASIC’s manoeuvre to push for a non-binding political statement. In an interview evaluating the process in the Copenhagen Summit, a member of the Maldivian delegation, Mark Lynas, expressed this disappointment: “China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the West had failed the world’s poor once again.”70 AOSIS demanded that China and India take a more cooperative stance and curtail their emissions.71
In contrast to BASIC countries, Indonesia prefers that the obligations of developed countries to provide sufficient resources to developing countries’ adaptation and mitigation efforts should be discussed in a constructive way and with mutual trust. This could only be achieved if the G77 offered options and alternatives for constructive cooperation with developed countries. Rachmat Witoelar, then Indonesian environment minister, revealed that, “We are not interested in the idea of BASIC. During the Copenhagen meeting, I was approached by the Indian environment minister to join BASIC. Once we joined, the group name would be changed to BASIIC, which would include Indonesia. But I refused. I told them ‘why did we need this kind of grouping?’ If we have BASIC, we would weaken the G77. And it is not part of our foreign policy. Indonesia always puts itself as an intermediate and interlocutor during deadlocks.”72
Performed role
Indonesia’s performed role can be observed from its alliance preference in climate change negotiations. Instead of joining BASIC, Indonesia preferred to work as a member of a new group, the Cartagena Dialogue for Progressive Action (CD), as a way to find solutions to and common understanding on climate change issues beyond the traditional North–South division. As mapped by Blaxekjær and Nielsen, CD has a unique position because it brings together developed and developing nations, which could help overcome the lack of trust between various actors in climate change negotiations.73
CD was formed following the Copenhagen COP’s failure to produce a substantial agreement. As an inclusive group, it consists of a wide range of countries, from the EU, non-EU developed countries, AOSIS, and the G77. CD has welcomed any country that chooses to engage in a frank and constructive exchange of views and has contributed to building trust among different actors by emphasizing that all countries are responsible for reducing emissions based on their relative economic capacities. CD’s flexible and inclusive stances paved the way for the success of the Durban COP in 2012.74 As an informal group, CD did not deliver a decisive statement or breakthrough. But the rise of this group has sparked a spirit of resolving deadlocks. In the first CD meeting, for example, even Ethiopia, a country that has a history of massive poverty and disaster, declared an intention to become a carbon-neutral country by 2025.75 Ethiopia’s pledge was followed by other countries such as Costa Rica, the Maldives, and Samoa. This kind of initiative smoothed the path for other countries to find creative solutions on some sensitive issues such as access to carbon markets, technology transfer, and reduction targets.
Because of its flexibility in bringing developed and developing countries together in addressing climate change issues, Indonesia saw CD as an important diplomatic venue. Indonesia has always sent high-level delegations to CD meetings. As Witoelar stated, “We are trying to make Cartagena not only a group in the middle, but also a middle ruler, meaning that it is a rule maker which actively reconciles different interests and positions.”76
Indonesia’s bridge-builder role can also be observed from its COP 13 presidency in 2007 and from its commitment to a voluntary emission reduction during the 2009 G20 Summit in Pittsburgh. At COP 13, both developed and developing countries were suspicious about the status of the US as a non-party to the Kyoto Protocol. The US status created doubts about the prospect of effective climate change adaptation and mitigation. The COP 13 almost failed to achieve any agreement, and the negotiation was extended by one day, since the US could not agree with the draft agreement, which did not mention the obligation of developing countries.77 The US also attempted to delete some points related to developed countries’ obligations, including a binding aggregate commitment to achieve between 25 percent and 40 percent below the 1990 level of emissions.78 Developing countries condemned the US stance, accusing the US of weakening the international climate change regime. The differences between the US and other parties were reconciled in the final day under strong pressure from developing countries. The US eventually joined the conference’s consensus, called the Bali Road Map, which mandated steps to be taken to discuss the post-Kyoto agreement. Although the US decision to eventually agree on the roadmap was the result of intense pressure from developing countries and the lack of action of its climate allies, such as Japan, Indonesia also played an important role by pursuing shuttlecock diplomacy, maintaining close engagement with different parties and groups to ensure convergence in the final meeting.79
While it is true that the Bali Road Map itself was not a binding commitment, compared to its predecessors the Road Map was a breakthrough. This was the first time developed and developing countries put aside their long-standing differences on an international climate change regime. According to UK secretary of state for the environment Hilary Benn, at COP 13, “for the first time ever all the world’s nations have agreed to negotiate on a deal to tackle dangerous climate change.”80
Indonesia’s commitment to reduce emissions, announced at the 2009 G20 Summit, is another bridge-builder attempt that differentiates it from others. President Yudhoyono declared Indonesia’s commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent by 2020 from business as usual, and by 41 percent with international support.81 Yudhoyono argued that “it is possible to cure the global economy and save the planet at the same time,” implying that the G20 should expand its agenda. The announcement of voluntary emission reduction was surprising because not all G20 members welcomed the inclusion by the 2009 G20 host, the US, of climate change issues on the G20 agenda. China and India rejected discussion on the climate change issue in the G20.
Although Argentina and Kazakhstan had declared voluntary emission reductions in 1998, the implementation did not progress well in either country. Argentina had no domestic policy to implement the voluntary target until several years after 1998.82 In the same vein, despite Kazakhstan’s positive commitment to implementing voluntary emission reduction and applying to Annex-I, Kazakhstan did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol until 2009. Michaelowa and Michealowa argue that, unlike these two countries, Indonesia, together with South Africa, was the most progressive developing country engaged proactively in climate change mitigation.83 Some positive results followed from Indonesia’s voluntary commitment. In 2011, the Norwegian government offered Indonesia $1 billion in conservation assistance for its commitment to implement a two-year moratorium on new forestry permits for peat and primary forests.
By committing itself to voluntary emission reduction, pursuing bilateral schemes with developed states, participating in CD, and acting as a deadlock-broker at COP 13, Indonesia has displayed a role as a bridge builder that consistently seeks creative and middle-way solutions among different interests. China and India have also displayed some characteristics of bridge builders by offering solutions to lingering debates on climate change, such as China’s pledge to cut emissions to 60–65 percent by 2030. Nevertheless, these steps were initiated much later than Indonesia’s. Given the converging positions of different parties, especially after the COP 20 in Peru, countries like China and India did not have much choice except to engage with a progressive movement in committing to emission reduction.
Indonesia’s image as a bridge builder in climate change negotiations is well known internationally. However, it has sometimes been inconsistent, especially related to domestic capacity. As Jotzo explained, Indonesia played a very crucial role when hosting the COP 13, but a modest role in subsequent meetings.84
Indonesia’s role was much reduced because the position of climate change as Indonesia’s top priority began to fade in 2012. The departure of the skilful and well-respected Rachmat Witoelar from the environment minister position was a major contributing factor. Witoelar was given the position of chairman of Dewan Nasional Perubahan Iklim/Climate Change National Commission (DNPI). Through this new post, he maintained his position as chief of Indonesia’s delegations at COPs. Nevertheless, because it was a small organization with limited staff, DNPI’s power and influence were limited.
President Joko Widodo disbanded DNPI in 2015, after merging the environment ministry and forestry ministry. The impact of this restructuring is not yet clear. But it is obvious that the consistency of Indonesia’s bridge-builder role on climate change issues is influenced much by the presence of strong, dedicated, and skilful personalities. The departure of some key figures has reduced Indonesia’s prominent role. In this sense, Indonesia needs to improve its capacity to deal with the complexity of climate change negotiations.
Nexus between regional and global roles
All ASEAN countries act so that their positions in climate change negotiations are mostly aligned with the G77. Compared to developing countries in other regions, Southeast Asian countries’ concern about climate change is relatively high. They have participated actively in negotiations and are committed to combating global warming. Thailand, for example, hosted the Climate Change Conference in March 2008 to follow up the Bali Road Map. In the COP 18, Filipino lead negotiator Naderev Sano delivered a touching speech urging parties in the COP to make a more serious commitment to combat climate change since climate-related natural disasters have increased, including typhoon Bopha, which devastated Philippines’ islands and killed thousands.85 In 2015, Malaysia made a voluntary pledge to reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030.86
Despite being active individually, Southeast Asian countries have encountered difficulties when trying to arrange joint projects or agree on binding commitments. The ASEAN Climate Change Initiative (ACCI) is the most important institution created to coordinate action to address climate change. Nevertheless, ACCI is a weak and loose platform. It does not address cooperation on key issues routinely discussed in the UNFCCC such as emission reduction, transfer of technology, and climate finance.
Because of various levels of development, emissions, technical and negotiation capacity, and climate change impacts, ASEAN countries hold different positions. A further complication is the fact that sovereignty and national integrity are among ASEAN’s most “sacred” principles. Therefore, it is not easy for ASEAN to have a common position on global issues, including climate change, especially one requiring a binding national commitment. ASEAN never has a common position paper in the UNFCCC frameworks, unlike the EU or African Group of Negotiators (AGN).
Indonesian officials tried to consolidate the country’s positions in ASEAN, but were never successful.87 Understanding the complexity in establishing a common policy within ASEAN, Indonesia sees engagement with its neighbours on climate change as more effectively pursued through cross-border, subregional initiatives such as the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) and the Heart of Borneo (HoB). CTI is a partnership of Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands to work together to sustain marine and coastal resources against the impact of climate change. The HoB is a commitment of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei for a two-year moratorium—later extended—on new forest concession with the support of international funding. Both initiatives cover significant areas with rich biodiversity that are vulnerable to climate change impact, attracting much international support. CTI and HoB received substantial funding from the US, Australia, Japan, the ADB, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and other international organizations.
There have been challenges in effectively implementing CTI and HoB, such as pressures from excessive fishing activity and the palm oil industry, but there are some positive results—for example, the freezing of the development of oil palm in border areas between Indonesia and Malaysia.88 CTI and HoB themselves were significantly supported by international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and ADB during their establishment and implementation through an intensive and long process.89 HoB, for instance, was initiated by WWF in 2001 and it took more than six years to complete the conceptualization and plans of actions among the three countries involved.
Through CTI and HoB, Indonesia brought together its neighbours to discuss the need for cooperation, rather than displaying a role as a regional dominator with the capacity to provide public goods to its smaller neighbours. Both CTI and HoB operate in such a way that countries can engage in constructive discussion on what actions should be taken and how such collective actions can raise their bargaining position in partnership with external actors. India, China, and Russia give little attention to their neighbours on climate change issues and do not promote this kind of regional interaction.

Because Indonesia’s material powers have not expanded as much as those of the main emerging powers, its role as an emerging power is usually overlooked. Like other emerging powers, Indonesia has indeed displayed a more active international role in recent years, but categorizing it as an emerging power like China, India, Brazil, or Russia is too simplistic. This article makes the case that, although it shares some characteristics with BRIC countries, Indonesia is trying to keep a distance from BRIC. Indonesia’s characteristics are located somewhere between those of BRIC and middle powers. Being located in the middle, Indonesia aspires to maintain a skilful strategic autonomy from either BRIC or the West and to play a constructive role.
Three useful insights emerge from G20 and climate change case studies to better locate Indonesia in the context of an emerging power narrative. First, although Indonesia shares aspirations with other emerging powers to rearrange the international order to better reflect the new reality of the greater power of developing countries, Indonesia’s reform tendencies are much more moderate than those of BRIC. Regarding IMF reforms, Indonesia has not detached the IMF quota issue from the G20 agenda, but the IMF quota issue was not seen as important as it had been during the first G20 summits. In contrast to BRIC, whose sense of dissatisfaction with economic governance is high, Indonesia’s concern about IFIs reforms has subsided as other issues such as infrastructure and growth have gained more importance. Regarding climate change, there was a shift in Indonesia’s approach to climate change from the “traditional” stance of refusing to compromise to a more progressive one of attempting to play a role as a constructive player. This transformation to a more soft-revisionist stance gained momentum especially after Indonesia learned that it could benefit from the REDD scheme due to its vast areas of rainforest.
Second, despite limited capacity, Indonesia has been able to play some bridging roles. In the G20, Indonesia took a role as the initiator of infrastructure investment, which aimed to bridge the interests of developing and developed countries. When hosting the COP 13 in 2007, Indonesia led the complex negotiation and successfully brought all parties to agree on the Bali Roadmap, which paved the way to post-Kyoto negotiations. In terms of ideas and values, Indonesia has the potential to enhance its bridge-builder role even further, although up to this time the inadequate structural capacity restraints Indonesia from taking a consistent leadership role in the G20 and climate change processes.
Last but not least, while BRIC countries do not have much engagement with their regional “constituencies,” Indonesia has tried to establish an institutionalized connection between its neighbours and various global stages. Indonesia advocated the regular presence of the ASEAN chair at G20 summits, which has so far been agreed to by each G20 host. Indonesia has also brought forward ASEAN’s ideas and interests to global forums through implicit strategies, rather than explicit and formal mechanisms. Indonesia's style of regional leadership is significantly different from BRIC countries. It prioritizes accommodative leadership by not showing power-based dominating behaviour, which is often demonstrated by BRIC countries. Indonesia gives an importance to the engagement and dialogue process in the region.

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This article was written during the author’s PhD study program, which was supported by the World Bank’s SPIRIT scholarship.

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3 Amitav Acharya, “Why Indonesia matters,” Strategic Review, October–December 2014, (accessed 2 February 2015).
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5 Chee Hong Joshua Toh, “Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC): Reshaping the world order in the 21st century,” Luce.nt (2010): 5–6, (accessed 25 July 2016).
 6 Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey.
 7 Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, South Korea, and Vietnam.
 8 Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa.
 9 Anthony Deutsch, “Roubini: Goodbye China, hello Indonesia,” Reuters, 25 October 2011, (accessed 10 September 2015).
10 Ibid.
11 The terms BRIC and BRICS are not interchangeable in this article. BRIC refers to four major emerging powers (China, India, Brazil, and Russia) whose material capabilities are significantly rising. On the other hand, BRICS refers to a formal grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
12 Ibid.
13 “Indonesia will be first among candidates in case of BRICS expansion—Expert,” TASS, 1 July 2015, (accessed 21 August 2015).
14 Amitav Acharya, Indonesia Matters: Asia’s Emerging Democratic Power, Kindle version, (2014) Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, retrieved from
15 Ibid.
16 Jonathan Ping, Middle Power Statecraft:Indonesia,Malaysia,andtheAsiaPacific (London: Ashgate, 2005).
17 These indicators are: (1) population; (2) geographic area; (3) military expenditure; (4) gross domestic product (GDP); (5) GDP real growth; (6) value of exports; (7) gross national income per capita; (8) trade as a percentage of GDP; and (9) life expectancy at birth.
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19 Soren Scholvin, “Emerging non-OECD countries: Global shifts in power and geopolitical regionalization,” Economics, Management, and Financial Markets 6, no. 1 (2011): 19.
20 Michael Cox, “Power shifts, economic change and the decline of the West?” International Relations 26, no. 4 (2012): 369–388.
21 Adam Chapnick, “UN Security Council reform and Canadian foreign policy: Then and now,” Canadian Foreign Policy 13, no. 1 (2006): 87.
22 Ibid, 85.
23 “Joint Communiqué of the 13th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation, the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs, 2 February 2015, (accessed 1 July 2016).
24 Among several reasons for China’s reluctance to support India’s UNSC permanent seat was that India proposed the bid together with Japan, China’s strategic rival. See Ananth Krishnan, “China ready to support Indian bid for UNSC,” The Hindu, 17 July 2011, (accessed 4 January 2016).
25 Kalevi J. Holsti, “National role conceptions in the study of foreign policy,” International Studies Quarterly 14, no. 3 (1970): 241.
26 Kalevi J. Holsti, InternationalPolitics:AFrameworkforAnalysis, 7th ed. (London: Prentice Hall: 1994), 38–39.
27 Daniel Flemes and Thorsten Wojczewski, “Contested leadership in international relations: Power politics in South America, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa,” GIGA Working Papers, no. 121, 2010.
28 Miriam Prys, Redefining Regional Power in International Relations: Indian and South African Perspectives (New York: Routledge, 2012), 27.
29 Ibid., 39.
30 “Indonesia and America: A 21st century partnership, Speech at a USINDO luncheon by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,” USINDO, 14 November 2008, (accessed 1 October 2014).
31 Satria Sambiantoro, “Lagging infrastructure clouds SBY's rich economic legacy,” The JakartaPost, 15 October 2014, (accessed 15 January 2017).
32 Hugo Dobson, “Asia shaping the Group of 20 or the Group of 20 shaping Asia?” Christopher Dent and Jorn Dosch, eds., The Asia-Pacific, Regionalism and the Global System (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012), 13.
33 “London Summit—Leaders’ Statement,” IMF, 2 April 2009, (accessed 7 August 2014).
34 Mahendra Siregar, interview with the author, Jakarta, 6 November 2014.
35 Della Temenggung, Judha Nugraha and Syurkani Ishak Kasim, “Prioritas Indonesia di Forum G20 2012 [Indonesia’s priorities in the 2012 G20],” in Syurkani Ishak Kasim, Rakhmindyarto, Erwin Haryono, Elsya Chani, Judha Nugraha, Della Temenggung, Brasukra G. Sudjana, eds., G20, Ekonomi Global dan Peran Indonesia [G20, Global Economy and Indonesia's Role] (Jakarta: Kementerian Keuangan RI, 2012), 87–89.
36 Syurkani I. Kasim, interview with the author, Jakarta, 29 October 2014.
37 Ibid.
38 Siregar, interview with the author, 6 November 2014.
39 Deny Abdi, interview with the author, 29 October 2014.
40 Siregar, interview with the author, 6 November 2014.
41 “World Bank, IMF, ADB failing in functions: Jokowi,” Jakarta Post, 22 April 2015, (accessed 1 August 2015).
42 “Indonesia and America, Speech by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,” USINDO, op cit.
43 Anggito Abimanyu, Refleksi dan Gagasan Kebijakan Fiskal [Reflection and Ideas on Fiscal Policy] (Jakarta: Gramedia Pustaka Tama, 2011), 255.
44 Kasim, interview with the author, Jakarta, 29 October 2014.
45 Interviews with Siregar, Kasim, and Abdi.
46 Kasim et al., “Prioritas Indonesia di Forum G20 2012 [Indonesia’s priorities in the 2012 G20],” 5.
48 Point 65 of the 2012 G20 Leaders Declaration emphasized that “Investment in infrastructure is critical for sustained economic growth, poverty reduction, and job creation.” See “G20 Leaders Declaration, Los Cabos, Mexico, June 19, 2012,” University of Toronto G20 Information Centre (accessed 5 January 2016).
48 Ibid, point 17; Kasim et al., “Prioritas Indonesia di Forum G20 2012 [Indonesia’s priorities in the 2012 G20],” vii.
49 “Five middle powers hope to serve as ‘bridge-builder’ on int’l stage,” Yonhap News Agency, 28 August 2014, (accessed 2 January 2015).
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54 Based on email conversations with an official of the ASEAN Secretariat.
55 Deny Abdi, interview with the author, 29 October 2014.
56 Awidya Santikajaya, “Strengthening ASEAN’s role in the G20,” Strategic Review, 14 February 2014, (accessed 5 January 2016).
57 “Talking points of bilateral meeting between President Joko Widodo and President Thein Sein,” Kementerian Luar Negeri, November 2014, unpublished document.
58 Yulius Hermawan, interview with the author, Bandung (Indonesia), 23 November 2014.
59 “Chairman’s Statement of the 17th ASEAN Summit and Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity,” ASEAN Secretariat, 2010.
60 C.H. Petrich, “Indonesia and global climate change negotiations: Potential opportunities and constraints for participation, leadership, and commitment,” Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 3, no. 1 (1993): 56.
61 10th Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement, Jakarta, 1–6 September 1992, Middlebury Institute of International Studies James Martin Centre of Nonproliferation Studies, 42–46, (accessed 3 January 2014).
62 Agus Sari, “Developing country participation: The Kyoto-Marrakech politics,” Hamburgisches Welt-Wirtschafts-Archiv Discussion Paper no. 333 (2005): 37.
63 Ibid.
64 “Indonesia: Palm oil production prospects continue to grow,” United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service, Commodity Intelligence Report, 31 December 2007, (accessed 14 June 2014).
65 Other factors that significantly contribute to Indonesia’s high rate of deforestation are illegal logging and agricultural expansion.
66 Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry as quoted by Mas Ahmad Santosa, Josi Khatarina, and Aldilla Stephani Surana, “The progress of governing REDD+ in Indonesia,” International Journal of Rural Law and Policy, Special Edition, REDD+ and The Legal Regime of Mangroves, Peatlands and Other Wetlands: ASEAN and the World (2013): 1.
67 Greenpeace criticized Indonesia’s high deforestation rate in a report in 2007, as cited in Ahmad Pathoni, “Indonesia deforestation fastest in world: Greenpeace,” Reuters, 3 May 2007, (accessed 15 June 2015).
68 “Decision 2/CP.13: Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries: Approaches to stimulate action,” UNFCCC, 14 March 2008, (accessed 10 October 2014).
69 Toffery Soetikno, interview with the author, Jakarta, 30 October 2014.
70 “Eyewitness: How China sabotaged climate talks,” ABC News, 24 December 2009, (accessed 21 August 2013).
71 Mahlini Mehra, “Time to stop the climate blame game,” BBC News, 3 December 2007, (accessed 21 August 2013).
72 Rachmat Witoelar, interview by the author, Jakarta, 13 November 2014.
73 Lau Blaxekjær and Tobias Dan Nielsen, “Mapping the narrative positions of new political groups under the UNFCC,” Climate Policy 15, no. 6 (2015): 758.
74 John Vogler, “Environmental issues,” in John Baylis and Steve Smith, eds., The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 6th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 352.
75 Nikolas Kozloff, “Time for a new geopolitical climate bloc: Part 2,” Al Jazeera, 15 December 2011, (accessed 1 April 2014).
76 Witoelar, interview by the author, Jakarta, 13 November 2014.
77 Peter Christoff, “The Bali roadmap: Climate change, COP 13 and beyond,” Environmental Politics 17, no. 3 (2008): 468.
78 Ibid.
79 Witoelar, interview by the author, Jakarta, 13 November 2014.
80 “Deal agreed in Bali climate talks,” Guardian, 15 December 2007, (accessed 19 August 2015).
81 Frank Jotzo, “Can Indonesia lead on climate change?” in Anthony S. Reid, ed., Indonesia Rising: The Repositioning of Asia’s Third Giant (Singapore: ISEAS, 2012), 91.
82 Amy Below, Environmental Politics and Decision Making in Latin America: Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol (New York: Routledge, 2015), 83.
83 Axel Michaelowa and Katharina Michaelowa, “Do rapidly developing countries take up new responsibilities for climate change mitigation?” Climatic Change 133, no. 3 (2015): 505–507.
84 Jotzo, “Can Indonesia lead on climate change?” 91.
85 John Vidal, “Will Philippines negotiator’s tears change our course on climate change?” Guardian, 6 December 2012, (accessed 14 June 2016).
86 “Intended nationally determined contribution of the government of Malaysia,” UNFCCC, November 2015, (accessed 18 May 2016).
87 Witoelar, interview by the author, Jakarta, 13 November 2014, and Soetikno, interview with the author, Jakarta, 30 October 2014.
88 Fitrian Ardiansyah and Desak Putu Adithyani Putri, “Risk and resilience in three Southeast Asian cross-border areas: The Greater Mekong Subregion, the Heart of Borneo and the Coral Triangle,” Asian Security Initiative Policy Series Working Paper No. 11 (Singapore: RSIS Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, 2011), 19.
89 Ibid.

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