MIKTA Officials Promote Soft Power Diplomacy For Sustainable Development


The diverse perspectives among five informal partners—Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Australia (MIKTA)—help these countries to develop policies which promote their shared interest in an effective, rules-based global order. During a seminar on December 5th at the IPI MENA office in Manama, MIKTA government representatives told an IPI audience that their “innovative partnership” illustrates the efficiency of soft power diplomacy as a path to build inclusive societies. This coordination ultimately benefits international peace, they said.

In a rapidly changing world, new global issues have emerged which challenge efforts to cultivate stability and prosperity. It was against this backdrop that these countries came together in 2013. Since then, the coalition has worked together to build consensus in the areas like finance and economics, security, the environment, and sustainable development.

MIKTA officials including Hatun Demirer, Turkish Ambassador; Muhsin Syihab, Director for Development, Economic & Environmental Affairs, Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Yoon Jiwan, Director of Policy Analysis, Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the progress made by their group on sustainable development, as one of their seven priority themes at the December 5th seminar.

Hatun Demirer emphasized Turkey’s focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), citing his country’s commitment to its “leave no one behind” principle. This “is not only a principle for an inclusive society in our countries, but it also means an inclusive international society,” she said, adding that rule of law, good governance, and strong institutional capacity are the “main pillars of sustainable development.”

As MIKTA Chair in 2017, Turkey “organized high level and expert meetings for keeping the dialogue atmosphere active among MIKTA countries,” Ambassador Demirer said. This deepened MIKTA cooperation in line with its core issues.

Muhsin Syihab said he could see the importance of MIKTA partnership to build inclusive societies. Indonesia “is attached to SDGs at the international level,” he said, and intends to use its upcoming MIKTA chairmanship to advocate for its members to complete all of their National Plans for the SDGs by January 2018. “We will also be holding several programmes like the MIKTA Interfaith Dialogue,” he said.

Yoon Jiwan said Korea considers MIKTA a key forum for “discussing global affairs and strengthening relations with like-minded countries.” He added, “We feel the need to do more to make the world a better place, whether through MIKTA, the G20, the UN, or the OECD.” Korea, he promised, “will strive to make inroads” to achieve the SDGs”.

Nejib Friji, Director of IPI-MENA, noted that MIKTA’s aim of strengthening multilateralism and global governance structures was much like IPI’s own strategic goal of managing risk and building resilience for a more peaceful world. “Today’s presentations on sustainable development priorities are timely, as we at IPI continuously seek to broaden engagements with various stakeholders to achieve sustainable development,” he said.

Mr. Friji concluded the presentation by calling for a “strong and sustainable collaboration with MIKTA in terms of building durable relations.” The speakers also shared their desire to engage with IPI on MIKTA’s seven priority themes—international energy governance and energy access; global security and counter-terrorism; peacekeeping; trade and the economy; gender equality; democracy, human rights and good governance; and sustainable development.

Ambassador Demirer also spoke to the shared values of IPI and MIKTA. “MIKTA aims to combat global problems, and as an informal gathering, we’re trying to contribute to global peace, which is the motto of IPI as well.” For his part, Mr. Syihab said, “IPI is the right entity to introduce MIKTA because of its credibility and credentials. The priorities of MIKTA align with those of IPI.” Mr. Yoon Jiwan said, “MIKTA looks forward to more of such opportunities. By involving IPI, we can benefit a lot by getting new perspectives and ideas.”

The presentation was followed by an interactive session with the audience. Shaikh Abdulla bin Ahmed al Khalifa, the Under-Secretary for International Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bahrain said, “It is interesting to see how MIKTA nations have moved together since September 2013, in addressing a number of international issues. These five great nations have worked collectively to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and have a lot to offer.”

The seminar was attended by government officials, ambassadors, members of parliament & the Shura Council, representatives of civil society, the private sector, the media, and academia.

The event was co-organized with MIKTA.

Nejib Friji, Director of IPI-MENA, moderated the discussion.