Indonesia and the United Nations
A Brief Overview
On September 28, 1950 Indonesia was admitted as the 60th Member State of the United Nations. The vote for admission, which was unanimous, took place five years after Indonesia’s Proclamation of Independence in 1945, the same year that the United Nations was established. Over the length of those five years the United Nations consistently supported Indonesia’s cause to become a free, independent and self-governing country. Given that support, many hailed Indonesia as truly a child of the United Nations.
Likewise Indonesia’s support for the purposes and principles of the United Nations was also firm. On its admission to the Organization, the Indonesian Ambassador, Lambertus N. Palar addressed the General Assembly and thanked his country’s staunch friends for championing his country’s cause. He pledged that Indonesia would assume all the obligations and responsibilities entailed in that membership. He also committed his Government to the goal of realizing the ideals of the United Nations as embodied in the Charter.
This resolve was manifested in Indonesia’s active participation in the major issues of the time including, among others, the struggles against colonialism, apartheid and the eradication of the dehumanizing scourge of poverty. The pursuit of these goals and principles also largely echoed Indonesia’s foreign policy which was enunciated by Vice President, Mohommed Hatta at a session of the Central National Commission on September 2nd 1948. The core of these policies represented an independent and active position or, in the word’s of the Vice President, “Mendayung di antara Dua Karang”, translated as rowing between two reefs,
In carrying out its commitments to the United Nations over the past half century, Indonesia has adhered to its active and independent foreign policy and has greatly contributed towards bringing those goals and objectives to fruition. In doing so, Indonesia took a leading role in initiating and launching of the Bandung Conference of Asian-African States. At that time, Indonesia’s Prime Minister, Ali Sastroamidjojo, successfully persuaded the Asian States to broaden their perspective to include Africa in a wider group of developing country solidarity. The Bandung Conference, which became a precursor of the Non-Aligned Movement, set an independent course and put such issues as peaceful co-existence, and anti-colonialism on the global agenda and gave a new voice to over half the world’s people emerging from colonialism.
The success of the Conference was subsequently reflected in two General Assembly resolutions on peaceful co-existence and decolonization which reflected much of the wording forged at the Conference. Over the following years, Indonesia focused its attention on a number of core issues such as the struggle for economic and social development, the creation of more just and equitable world, the North-South Dialogue, Peace and Security, the Law of the Sea and sustainable development.
Indonesia served as a member of the Security Council for the first time between 1975 – 1976. It became President of the Non-Aligned movement in 1992 and hosted the Tenth Conference of the Heads of State or Government in Jakarta in September that year. It again took on the role of elected Non-Permanent member of the Security Council during 1995 and 1996. In addition, Indonesia became Chairman of the Group of 77 in 1998; president of the ECOSOC in the Millennium year; Chairman of the Ministerial Prep-Com in Bali in the lead-up to the WSSD in Johannesburg in August 2002.
More recently, Indonesia chaired the process that led to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007, at which the Bali Road Map was agreed. Between 2007 and 2008, Indonesia was a member of the Security Council, for the third time, and served as its president in November 2007. Since February 2008, it has been the Chair of the Committee on Decolonization. Indonesia is currently a member of the Troika Leaders on Climate Change. The Troika Leaders and the UN Secretary-General keep countries at the highest levels of government apprised of progress of the climate change negotiation process.