In November 2020, the online Week Of Indonesian Netherlands Education And Research (WINNER) kicked off successfully. This was the first time that the plethora of forward-looking sustainable development initiatives in various fields of research and education were brought together on a single platform. The event resulted in new connections between institutes, scientists and government representatives and a focus on Indonesia’s priorities in agricultural technology and climate change.
The overarching theme of the three-day virtual event was ‘Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – From Knowledge to Practice’. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how intertwined our societies are despite the distance. It has also underlined the urgent need to work together and share ideas in the fields of health and medical research. In addition, the two countries are committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through dialogue and collaboration on topics such as climate change, law and justice, agriculture, medical research, and resilience of society.
Close working relationships
The Netherlands and Indonesia share a long history of collaboration in research and education, WINNER celebrates the continued collaboration between research and educations institutes. In his speech during his state visit to Indonesia earlier this year, King Willem-Alexander pointed out the “close working relationships between our two countries in the fields of science, the economy, water management, nature protection and climate.”
As the third biggest democracy in the world and one of Asia’s largest economies, Indonesia is an important partner to the Netherlands. Bambang Brodjonegoro, Indonesia’s Minister of Research and Technology and Chief of National Research and Innovation Agency described how the relationship helps solve global challenges:
“We work together in the areas that benefit both countries. I really believe that only by intensifying international collaboration, we can optimise and amplify resources that we have to address challenges.”
His words were echoed by Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven:
"International cooperation in science and education is essential to maintain a high level of quality. Together we can accomplish so much more than on our own."
In his opening speech Nobel prize laureate Ben Feringa said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” By discussing topics such as disaster management, resilient cities and the mutual heritage of Indonesia and the Netherlands, the 1200 participants were able to start shaping solutions for the future. The conference brought together a wide range of researchers, practioners, policy makers and civil and industrial stakeholders in fields of biodiversity, water, health, climate change, peace, justice and security, education, partnership and economic growth. The sessions focussed on the approaches used in education and research, such as interdisciplinary collaboration and public-private partnerships. Indonesia’s natural resources provide a perfect living lab for working on strategies to improve nature, biodiversity, water and coral reefs.
The high-profile event was organised by the Dutch Embassy in Jakarta, Nuffic Neso, the Indonesian Academy of Young Scientists (ALMI), the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Due to COVID, it had to be postponed and moved online at short notice. The event put important climate issues on the agenda and presented an invaluable opportunity for scientists on the ground to learn from one another and forge new relationships.
2020 marks the beginning of a Decade of Action on the United Nations SDGs. Partnerships are a key mechanism for achieving the SDGs, this Indonesian-Dutch initiative shows how they can make everyone a winner.
The Week Of Indonesian Netherlands Education And Research is due to be held annually for the next five years. WINNER2021 is due to take place in June.