UN congratulates Indonesia for Covid-19 response

President Joko Widodo (cenre right) speaks alongside United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed (centre left) on the sidelines of the 2022 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in Nusa Dua, Bali, on May 23, 2022. - UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed commended Indonesia for its pandemic response on Wednesday (May 25), during the 2022 Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GDPRR) held in Nusa Dua, Bali.

“I would [...] like to congratulate and appreciate Indonesia for the measures taken to address the Covid-19 response that have allowed us to meet today in person for this conference with over 7,000 registered,” she said during an address at the event’s opening ceremony.

Despite limited infrastructure and a vast population scattered across thousands of islands, Indonesia has carried out a large-scale Covid-19 vaccination programme, inoculating nearly 200 million people with a first dose and 166 million with a second, according to Tuesday data from the national Covid-19 task force.

Mohammed singled out the immunisation program as the thing that was “keeping us safe” at the Bali convention.

“Vaccinating a population of 270 million is a huge feat, and we applaud the leadership of Indonesia for its vaccine programme,” she said.

“Indonesia is a critical partner that has much to teach the world about disaster risk reduction,” Mohammed said, adding that the country’s willingness to host the gathering was a testament to the leading role it played in sustainable development and climate action.

The 2022 GPDRR forum is the first UN-led international disaster mitigation forum to take place since the start of the pandemic. Participants from some 183 countries gathered in Indonesia to review global efforts to reduce the threat of climate hazards and other disasters amid the rising toll of extreme events.

The event, which brings together governments, the UN and key nongovernmental players to share knowledge, takes place as the pandemic has set back progress in a number of areas of global development, from climate change to gender equality.

It is also the first event of its kind to take place in Asia.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, who is serving this year as the 76th President of the UN General Assembly, also expressed his appreciation for Indonesia's role in hosting the event.

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the government of Indonesia for hosting the GPDRR and commend both Indonesia and the [UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction] on this joint endeavour,” he said.

Shahid said the pandemic had exposed underlying vulnerabilities and inequities across the world.

“If there is one thing that we have learned from Covid-19, as well as from the ongoing climate crisis; it is those who are furthest behind who suffer the hardest, who wait the longest, who are deprived of development gains that are far too often wiped away by whatever crisis comes their way. Our recovery from the pandemic must reflect this knowledge,” Shahid said.

In his own opening remarks at the conference, President Joko Widodo underlined the fact that Covid-19 had been one of the worst disasters in human history, infecting some 527 million people and killing 6.3 million.

“The government has set up dynamic policies to reflect the situation and implemented a ‘gas and handbrake’ policy to maintain balance between public health and the economy – and it has proven to have a good impact,” he said.

The country’s daily infection rate has fallen from 64,000 at its peak to 315 daily new cases on Wednesday. Economic growth is expected to be 5 per cent this year and inflation is forecast at 3.5 per cent.

“Resilience and preparedness against disasters will determine the amount of damage that must be borne due to disasters. The more unprepared [we are], the bigger the losses,” the President said.

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