Indonesia Steps Up Global Health Diplomacy

Bolsters Role in Addressing International Medical Challenges

The year 2013 marks Indonesia’s arrival on the global health diplomacy stage. The country’s health minister has become chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The president is cochairing a high-level panel advising the UN secretary general on the global development agenda beyond 2015. And in September, Indonesia will host a conference of Asia-Pacific finance and health ministers to discuss ideas for funding universal health coverage in the region.

Indonesia’s role in global health has changed dramatically in recent years following a brief period of health nationalism in which it stopped sharing bird flu samples with the international community and shut down a U.S. naval research station doing research on infectious diseases. “Indonesia feels its time has come,” says a foreign ambassador in Jakarta. Its leaders “are reaching out aggressively” to snare a bigger role in international health diplomacy.

Murray Hiebert
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Southeast Asia Program