Norway to give $1.72m in grants to Indonesia project

Norway and Indonesia signed Monday evening two grant agreements on renewable energy, fisheries and aquaculture projects, Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia Eivind S. Homme said in Oslo.

“The two parties signed a Grant Agreement for the Baron Technopark Renewable Energy Project and a Grant Agreement for Capacity Building in Fisheries and Aquaculture during a bilateral meeting,” Ambassador Homme informed The Jakarta Post via email from Oslo on Tuesday. Norway will spend a total of  US $1.72 million on the projects. The Indonesian delegation was led by Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda, while Norway was represented by its Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre.
Both ministers, Homme said, agreed to expand both countries’ cooperation in energy, environment, climate change, national resources, disarmament and non-proliferation, human rights, democracy building, Global Intermedia Dialogue, health and sustainable development.

As Norway has a special interest in the energy sector, the countries have been holding bilateral energy dialogues. Norway has taken steps in order to enhance this process. ”The Norwegian side announced that a new position as counsellor for climate and forestry issues will be created at the Norwegian Embassy in Jakarta to further strengthen this cooperation,” Homme said.

According to Homme, Norway also strongly supports Indonesia’s efforts to eradicate corruption. Several officials from the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) recently took part in the Norwegian initiated Corruption Hunter Network. ”Norway has announced that it is supporting UNODC’s *United Nation’s Office of Drugs and Crime* cooperation with Indonesian anti-corruption bodies with $2 million *in assistance* during the period of 2009-2010,” Homme said.

Norway, which launched the Global Intermedia Dialogue (GIMD) along with Indonesia in 2006, said it would financially support the Indonesian Press Council and training of journalists in ethics as well as in relevant Indonesian laws and regulations.

Both Hassan and Støre also officially opened the Eighth round of the annual bilateral Human Rights Dialogue in the Norwegian capital on Monday. In his opening remarks, Støre expressed sentiments that Norway greatly values the longstanding cooperation with Indonesia on human rights and described it as a mutual opportunity for learning. ”Norway benefits from this dialogue, we learn from it and we hope that we can contribute to learning for Indonesia as well”, Store said. He also emphasised the fact that without tolerance and freedom of expression there can be no democracy, and without true democracy such tolerance and freedom will have difficulty surviving.

Hassan said in his speech that the excellent bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Norway enabled an exchange of views on sensitive issues. He described how in 10 years Indonesia has rapidly developed towards a fully fledged democracy. “There is no return from this process,” he said. Hassan also met Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.

Relations between Norway and Indonesia have been rapidly growing in recent years. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Stoltenberg visited each other’s country within a year. In the economic sector, bilateral trade in 2008 increased to $210.07 million, a 57.97 percent increase from $132.98 million in 2007.

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