Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, has a strategic role as the centre of the national governance and the political and security forum such as ASEAN and the Asia and Pacific. That statement was made by the Governor of the Special Region of Jakarta, Dr. Fauzi Bowo, which was later conveyed by his Deputy, Prof. Dr. Soetanto Soehodho, at a workshop entitled “ASEAN-EU Regional Strategy: Host Country Perspective”, held at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, on Monday 28 May 2012.

The statement affirmed Governor Fauzi Bowo’s remarks last year, “In chairing ASEAN, Indonesia also provides a huge leverage for Jakarta to foster its image as centre of diplomacy.” The Governor also stressed, “We(Government of Jakarta) will do anything within our power to prove ourselves as an extraordinary host.”

The workshop aimed to present experiences and lessons learned from Brussels and how these lessons could be drawn for Jakarta. The workshop was opened by the Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN, Mr. Bagas Hapsoro, followed by remarks from the Deputy Governor of the Special Region Jakarta and from the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium, Ambassador Christiaan Tanghe.

The Workshop was attended by Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives of the ASEAN Member States, Representatives of Permanent Missions of ASEAN Member States, Deputies, and Officers of the Capital City Government of Jakarta and other various line agencies in Indonesia.

Ambassador Tanghe emphasized the importance of the ASEAN Secretariat and Jakarta,”My view is we have to refer to the role that ASEAN plays in the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Summit, as well as in the G-20. Such evolution, I believe is recognized in Belgium. Belgium looks forward to deepen its cooperation with ASEAN.”The Belgium Ambassador highlighted that he followed the special appeal made by SG Surin Pitsuwan which called for Permanent Missions to ASEAN to promote awareness and understanding between the ASEAN Member States to encourage more “people-to-people” contacts. “Like Brussels, Jakarta has important role to play,” he further added.

In his Opening Remarks, Mr. Bagas Hapsoro highlighted the importance of the workshop and the role of the host country in supporting and facilitating the operationalization and function of the regional and international organization like ASEAN. “I urge for better coordination among various line agencies in Indonesia to ensure the success of making Jakarta as the capital of diplomatic city in South East Asia, particularly in view of the recent signing of the Agreement between the Government of Indonesia and ASEAN on Hosting and Granting Privileges and Immunities to ASEAN Secretariat,”said Mr. Bagas Hapsoro.

Mean while, Prof. Dr Sutanto Soehodho, Deputy on Industrial Trade and Transportation of the Capital City of Jakarta in his remarks stressed, “Supporting ASEAN is always part of Jakarta’s commitment as the host city of ASEAN.” Mr. Soehodho outlined Jakarta’s further role and function as Indonesia’s capital that attracts investments and residents both from surrounding areas in the country and from the region, as well as its significant contribution to the country’s income and image in the international community. Expressing a special appreciation for the workshop, Mr. Sutanto Soehodho concluded his remarks and noted, “We appreciate the ASEAN-EU workshop as it is part of the effort to raise Jakarta’s profile at the international level as a diplomatic capital.”

The following topics were presented by the speakers during the workshop: (a) Jakarta Capital Diplomatic City 2015 – Preliminary Report; (b) Internationalization of Jakarta;(c) Project Cycle within context of Belgian ODA; (d) EU Aid Delivery Modalities; (e) An introduction to the Belgian institutional framework for coordination and cooperation on EU affairs; and (f) Hosting of International Organizations.

Among the speakers were Mr. Bernardus Djonoputro, the Secretary General of the Indonesian Association of Urban and Regional Planners, Ambassador Ngurah Swajaya, Indonesian Permanent Representative to ASEAN, and Mr. Terman Siregar, Head of Investment Coordination Board of the Region of Jakarta. From the Belgian side the speakers were Mr. Peter D’Huys and Mr. Guy Platton.

At the end of the Workshop, DSG Bagas Hapsoro emphasized on the obvious potentials of Jakarta. The speakers have looked at the historical perspective, as well as its economic performance and strategic value at the national, regional, and internationallevels.

While both Jakarta and Brussels have similarities in facilitating the development and implementation of the international organizations’ strategy and agenda, it is thus important to note that the Host Country plays an important role in ensuring the well-functioning operation of international or regional organization like the EU and ASEAN.

Included in Mr. Bagas Hapsoso’s concluding remarks is a reminder to all participants that the ASEAN Secretariat is a gift from the Government of Indonesia to ASEAN in 1976, only ten years after the founding fathers of ASEAN established ASEAN. It shows that Indonesia had noticed the importance of having the ASEC in Jakarta as well as committed to the overall goals of ASEAN.

As of now, as dialogue partners come in, they ask what they can do for ASEAN and the Secretariat. All the 61 ASEAN Ambassadors bring, with each of them, employment to Indonesia. Each of them brings additional prestige to Jakarta as the diplomatic capital of Southeast Asia, certainly “a diplomatic capital of the whole of Southeast Asia”.

Therefore, to foster and sustain cooperation these dialogue partners need a space in the building that was given by the Government of Indonesia. Yet there is a need to have more office space to share.

The presence of EU, EC, their dialogue partners, including their experts in Brussels isundeniably growing rapidly. The same can be said of other place like New York, Austria, Nairobi, Bangkok, Manila, and Jakarta.

DSG Bagas believes that the presence of a strong and effective ASEAN Secretariat will revitalize Jakarta. It will make the people and the Government of Jakarta improve their living conditions and attract more investment that will serve Indonesia’s interest not only in ASEAN but also in the world.

The discussion and presentations provided valuable knowledge and better understanding on the role and responsibilities of a country and being of a city host of international organizations to all of the workshop participants.

DSG Bagas further wishes to extend his appreciation to the Belgium government for its continued support and assistance for the Office of the Governor of the Capital City of Jakarta.