Airlangga Hartanto Emphasizes the Importance of Collaboration in Dealing with the Next Pandemic

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Airlangga Hartanto, opens the first serial event of the “Southeast Asia Health Security Roundtable Series” with the theme “Economic Response to Covid-19 and Future Pandemics” held in Ritz Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, Wednesday (19/11/2023). (Photo: Dadan Triawan)

[Unpad Media Channel] The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Airlangga Hartanto, said that strengthening collaboration with stakeholders is necessary to prepare for the future pandemic. The effort is done to create a robust economic resilience to face the next pandemic. 

Airlangga Hartanto conveyed it on the first-series opening of “Southeast Asia Health Security Roundtable Series” with the theme “Economic Response to Covid-19 and Future Pandemics” that was held in Ritz Carlton Jakarta, Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, Wednesday (19/11/2023). 

The event was organized as a collaboration between Universitas Padjadjaran, the National University of Singapore, and the Health Intervention Technology Assessment Program, Thailand.

Airlangga mentioned that after the WHO declared the end of COVID-19 on May 2023, Indonesia’s economy had been strong, and the growth had been consistent at 5%. The government’s strategy was prioritizing the health sector, maintaining business continuity, promoting optimism, and strengthening structural reform as the key to Indonesia’s recovery in the short and long term.

Moreover, Airlangga stated that Indonesia was already prepared for the possibility of a future pandemic. The synergy between G20 members during Indonesia’s G20 Presidency last year resulted in a pandemic fund policy. The scheme had been disbursed in 2023 for 37 countries with a total fund of 338 million U.S. dollars. 

Furthermore, on the ASEAN level of cooperation, Indonesia also expanded joint funds to face the pandemic in the future. “As a member of ASEAN, Indonesia also expands joint funds to deal with the upcoming pandemic, and the ASEAN response fund has been collected around close to 18,000,000 U.S. dollars,” he added. 

Another sector that needed to be strengthened to confront future uncertainty was the quality of human resources. According to Airlangga, Indonesia is in a period of demographic bonus at the moment. This peak era needed to be facilitated so that the young Indonesian generation could enter the industry or be the business actors to create a new employment field. 

“We are prepared by optimizing the demographic bonus through preparing our digitalization faster, strengthening connectivity to involve more of the global value chain, and increasing public goods to support other capital,” said Airlangga Hartanto.

The Rector of Unpad, Prof. Indiastuti, said the collaboration between Unpad and the Minister for National Development Planning, Republic of Indonesia, was trusted to be the host of the roundtable discussion, which focused on economic response to the late COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening the economic response prepared for the future pandemics.

“The collaboration will be helpful for the government, academics, and community to produce evidence-based policy in Southeast Asia region for the next pandemic preparedness,” said the Rector. 

The event was attended by several speakers and was divided into two sessions. The first session facilitator of the discussion were a lecturer from the Faculty of Psychology Unpad, Fredrick Dermawan Purba, PhD., and a representative of HITAP Thailand, Saudamini Dabak. Moreover, the second session facilitators of the discussion were a lecturer from the Faculty of Pharmacy Unpad, Auliya A. Suwantika, PhD., and academics from Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, the National University of Singapore Hsu Li Yang. The Minister for National Development Planning, Suharso Monoarfa, also attended the event. (arm/SA)*

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