World still narrowly segregated into political blocs, Widodo says at WGS 2023 in Dubai

Indonesian President says the alliances are causing inequality to worsen

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo says the world is still narrowly segregated into country blocs that need to be broken down.

That countries with coronavirus vaccines dished them out to friends and allies before making them available to others was case in point, he told the World Government Summit in Dubai in a pre-recorded address.

Mr Widodo, the leader of one of the world's most populous nations with 270 million people, said the pandemic had put the spotlight on how many nations had been left behind.

We must never see again a situation where vaccines, medical equipment and medicine are associated with political blocs
Joko Widodo

“It is imperative for multilateralism to be strengthened in order to save and build the world,” he said.

“The problem we face cannot be compartmentalised.

“However, the fact is that the world is currently divided into blocs. This is a significant challenge that must be addressed by the world today.

“Strong division of blocs among superpowers must be stopped immediately.”

He said humanitarian issues should not be addressed based on global political blocs.

The pandemic shed light on how divided the world was, with poor countries not having enough access to vaccines as compared to others.

“We must never see again a situation where vaccines, medical equipment and medicine are associated with political blocs,” said Mr Widodo.

“If we are not able to avoid political blocs, we should at least dismiss this factor when it comes to humanitarian issues.”

“Inequalities among countries have made it difficult to deal with our common challenges. Financial, technological, human resources and industrial inequality have proved to be an impediment to dealing with global crises.

“Inequalities in focus and energy supply and manufacturing must also be reduced.”

He also touched on how Covid-19 taught the world an extraordinary lesson.

“Three years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, the world was powerless. Not only low and middle-income countries were struggling, but also high-income countries were left unprepared against the pandemic,” he said.

“We have learnt many lessons from the challenges of the past three years. First, there is no safe salvation; rather, there is shared safety. No one is truly safe until everyone is safe. Therefore, a shared safety agenda must be prioritised by all countries.”

Updated: February 15, 2023, 11:04 AM