Indonesia’s Contribution For The Melanesian Spearhead Group Cooperation

Indonesia is a member of the Melanesian Spear Group (MSG) for some time, because of its ties with the Melanesian descents, especially in Papua. The government’s goodwill to improve the cooperation and economic development in the MSG country members is not taken lightly. Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi, for example, after completing his week-long visit to the four countries of the Pacific, including three members of the MSG, have finished a visit for a meeting to discuss Indonesia’s commitment to support the USD 20 million for capacity building programs in the MSG countries.

Melanesian Spearhead Group
RI Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi during a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea, Rimbink Pato on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly, New York on 21 September 2016. Via kemlu.go.id

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) is an international organization made up of four countries in Melanesia, namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, as well as the National Liberation Front Kanak and Socialist from New Caledonia. In June 2015, Indonesia received as a fellow member. The group was founded as a political association in 1986. On March 23, 2007, members signed the Agreement Establishing the Melanesian Spearhead Group and officiate under international law. This group is based in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Secretariat building constructed by the People’s Republic of China and submitted to MSG in November 2007. The Director General is the first MSG Rima Ravusiro of Papua New Guinea. Since September 2011, the Director General of the MSG held by Peter Forau of Solomon Islands.

Melanesian Spearhead Group was formed with a focus on increasing economic growth among the countries of Melanesia. The purpose of this group is to promote and strengthen trade among the membership, the exchange of Melanesian culture, the traditions, the values of equality and sovereignty; to encourage economic and technical cooperation among members; and to harmonize member states and common objectives member for economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security.

One of the key features of MSG is a trade agreement MSG, a preferential trade agreement sub-regional established to encourage and accelerate economic development through trade and provide a political framework for regular consultations and reviews of the status of the Treaty, with a view to ensuring a good trade in terms of exports and imports are carried out in a spirit of authentic solidarity Melanesia and made with countries that have been agreed upon. Negotiations are held regularly between the leaders of members’ to consider the progress and development agreements. After a revision in 2005, includes 180 free articles fiscal tax.

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) was conceived in 1986 between the three Pacific Island States Melanesia: Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. MSG Trade Agreement was signed in 1993 by Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. At the sixth meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) on Trade and Economic Officials Meeting on 16 April 1997 in Honiara, Fiji delegation indicated their willingness to approve it. This initiative has been agreed in 1997 on the MSG Leaders Summit. Fiji became an official member of the MSG Trade Agreement on April 14, 1998. Trade and Economic Officials Meeting MSG to nine held in Papua New Guinea on 29 and 30 November 2000. This meeting saw the expansion acceptance rates Product Schedule MSG titles from four digits to six digits , thus facilitating trade MSG to remove ambiguities in the identification of products at points of import duties. This agreement GATT (GATT), which is consistent and has been approved and granted recognition by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Regional Settings to be compatible and meet the requirements of Article 24 of the Treaty GATT / WTO.

On the 18th MSG Summit in Fiji, Indonesia for the first time was accepted as Observer. Indonesia is expected to become an observer in the MSG, Indonesia will be able to work together more closely and to contribute to the countries members of the MSG. Indonesia’s commitment to promote partnership and practical steps in the realization of cooperation among Melanesian countries, in particular to encourage the achievement of the objectives of MSG, namely economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security in the sub-region of Melanesia.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Armanatha Nasir said that the increased status of Indonesia in the Melanesian Spearhead Group from observer to Associate Members in MSG has actually been discussed for quite some time. The Indonesian government assesses it was time, after three years as an observer, Indonesia became one of the official members of the regional community.

There are several reasons Indonesia raised its membership status. First, Indonesia has 11 million of Melanesian descent spread across 5 Provinces of Indonesia which are Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara. The other reason is to increase Indonesia’s membership status in the community is to enhance cooperation in the fields of economy and culture. President Joko Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi also give serious attention to the community of the region.

The government of Indonesia wants to promote good relations with the citizens of other Melanesian descent, especially those who become members of the regional group. Indonesia also wants to develop themselves to improve cooperation in the Pacific region to promote the eastern part of Indonesia. The Pacific region is one of the areas that is deemed quite important to the Indonesian government. Various programs and cooperation have already been designed. One of them is the Melanesian cultural festival which will be held in October in East Nusa Tenggara.


 

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