Indonesia Urges End of War in Palestine at UN/UNCTAD Trade and Development Forum

By : Nata Kesuma | Friday, November 24 2023 - 20:26 IWST

Ambassador Febrian A. Ruddyard, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations
Ambassador Febrian A. Ruddyard, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations

Geneva, Switzerland - Ambassador Febrian A. Ruddyard, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the United Nations, WTO, and other International Organizations in Geneva, chaired the 74th Executive Session of Trade Development Board (TDB), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) which took place in Geneva (20-23/11).

TDB is UNCTAD's decision-making body, which includes decisions on economic development policy advice in Africa, investments for sustainable energy transition, and UNCTAD's work plan.

One of the important main agendas in the discussion of the UNCTAD report is related to aid to Palestine considering the humanitarian crisis experienced by Palestine due to the conflict with Israel. As President of TDB, Ambassador Febrian led the discussion of the Palestinian agenda and underlined that UNCTAD as part of the United Nations has been helping Palestine for the past 3 decades. Ambassador Febrian also ensured that the debate in the meeting was constructive in ensuring aid to Palestine, and still accommodated the input of UNCTAD member states.

UNCTAD's 2022 report on assistance to Palestinian shows that the Palestinian economy is highly dependent on Israel's restrictive access policies, leaving 2/3 of Gazans still below the poverty line and 45% of the total population still unemployed. Gaza is also an example of development that is getting worse rather than better as well as limited access to basic necessities.

Conditions that were already unfavourable before the Israeli conflict since October 2023 have become a concern for various countries, leading to calls for the war to stop, as well as condemning Israeli actions. The call for the cessation of war was also called by the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, underlining what was conveyed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. This was an important agenda in the meeting with the majority of UNCTAD members to call for the need for humanitarian support and access, as well as the need for international assistance for Palestine and various other forms of support, including UNCTAD's role in the development of Palestine.

On the occasion, Ambassador Habib, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia in Geneva, led the Indonesian Delegation and delivered Indonesia's statement in line with the statements of the G77 Group, Asia-Pacific, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Indonesia also strongly condemned the Israeli military attack on Gaza and the attack on the Indonesian Hospital, which resulted in many casualties. As the Government stands, Indonesia encourages a ceasefire and access to humanitarian aid to Palestine.

Indonesia itself remains committed to helping Palestine. The government has sent assistance from the Indonesian people in response to the current Gaza situation. Palestine is one of Indonesia's largest recipients of technical cooperation assistance.

The meeting marked the first meeting of UNCTAD under the leadership of Ambassador Febrian as President of UNCTAD's Trade and Development Board (TDB) for the 2023-2024 period. In this role, Ambassador Febrian will preside over various important UNCTAD sessions, including the annual session, executive session, and special session of UNCTAD. He will also conduct monthly consultations with UNCTAD's regional coordinator and UNCTAD's TDB Vice President, and report on UNCTAD's TDB performance to Committee II of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The mandate given to Ambassador Febrian as President of TDB UNCTAD not only reflects international recognition of Indonesia's active role and contribution in global issues, but also confirms Indonesia's commitment to bring real and positive change in the international community, especially for cooperation among developing countries within the framework of UNCTAD.

Indonesia's leadership in UNCTAD plays an important role in Indonesia's foreign policy, especially in advancing the interests of developing countries. In 2024, UNCTAD will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its foundation. This will be followed by a Prep-Com discussion in preparation for the 16th UNCTAD Quadrennial Conference to be held in 2025. Indonesia's leadership in UNCTAD can continue to be empowered not only to increase the importance of UNCTAD at the international level but also to prioritize Indonesia's interests in various meetings. 

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