Italy Trip – February 2014

Buongiorno everyone. Happy seeing me again this fast? Well, I promise you last time that I’d do whatever it takes so that I can write you more, and that includes my laziness.

I feel tingle in my fingers when I type this post, because right here right now, I finally get the opportunity to tell you that I finally made it to visit Italy last month *dance* I went there with Ima, the one that I told you in this post. We took the flight to Milan from Paris. Why Paris? Because during my ticket hunt, I found that flying to Italy from the Netherland cost you a fortune. So when my friends prefer to prolong their stay in Paris after the working visit, me and Ima decided to go to Italy over the weekend.20140207_171657 20140207_174617

First Day

We arrived in Malpensa airport at 5pm, and waited for about 30 minutes before my friend, Anggi, picked us up. Anggi is my colleague when I worked in ELTI. She married an Italian and lives in Genoa, Italy since May 2013. She saw my status and post in FB and invited me over to visit her. Who am I gonna say no for this rare opportunity? Of course I said yes and I manage to bring Ima with me.20140207_202258 20140208_084531

Anggi and her husband, Carlo, picked us up and drove us to Genoa. It was quite long trip, about 2 hours, and I believe Anggi was aware with the hungry look in me and Ima’s face, so we stopped near Genoa, ouch, I forgot the name of the city, but we found snow there, super weird! What did we order that night? If you mention pizza then you are super right. Pizza in Italy is thin, less spice, huge, and delicious. And one pan is all for you. You should see the look in me and Ima’s face when Anggi told me that we have to finish it up, and I almost fell down of my chair when she continued that Italian people did not casually bring back the left over. So yes, we both struggle to eat our first Italian pizza, while we about to take the second slice, Anggi’s husband already finish his. Hahahaha.  After a slow and long dinner, we then continue the journey to Anggi’s house in Genoa, and fell into deep sleep.

Second day

We woke up quite early because we decided to visit several cities that day. Me and Ima then helped Anggi in the kitchen, by mostly taking pictures and asked her a lot about Italy. Anggi then shut us off by giving us a homemade pear jam. Seriously readers, it was the most delicious jam we ever taste, we even take picture of it. After a warm and delicious breakfast we were ready to start our trip. Our first destination is Leaning Pisa Tower.20140208_094016

20140208_122218 20140208_123159 20140208_123532 20140208_125252After 90 minutes driving, we finally arrived in Pisa. The weather that day was perfect, blue sky with some with clouds raise my instinct to never stop taking pictures. You know what, it wasn’t easy to take picture with Pisa Tower. Ima needed to almost laid in the grass so she can take a good picture, so Asian, but we love the result. And oh, there was also a Cathedral near the Pisa Tower, but unfortunately it closed.

We only stay in Pisa for like one hour only, we then grabbed the lunch (pasta and enormous Italian salad) and continued to our next destination, Florence.20140208_155230 20140208_160941 20140208_163526 20140208_164304

The trip to Florence was about one hour and a half. I couldn’t remember it precisely because I spent most of the time sleeping. Florence or Firenze (the Italian version) is a small classy town in Italy. Along with other 24 cities, Florence has been categorized as one of must have visit in Europe. And I found it true. Florence is so artsy. There were many statues crafted detail. They looked surreal. We almost stop everywhere just to ooh aaaah admiring the view, and taking pictures. At the end of our journey in Florence, Anggi’s husband take us to a hill, where we can see Florence city view at night. Good grief, it was splendid!1948011_630287040359607_371959070_n 20140208_165306 20140208_165134 20140208_181828 20140208_182155_night 20140208_182712_night

Feeling hungry and tired, we then drove to Italian restaurant, where we’re gonna meet Anggi and Carlo’s friends. The restaurant was so cozy. The food again was huge (I ordered Californian steak, don’t ask me why, but I saw a tiny recommendation thumb next to the menu) yet delicious, but what I like the most from Italy is the people. They were loud and super friendly. The waiters and the chef sometimes greeted us just to check we were happy with food, and yes we were!20140208_194306 20140208_194843 20140208_203212 20140208_194243

Third day

It was our last day in Italy. We had our pancakes breakfast and the legendary pear jam in the dining room. Anggi and his husband then drove us to Malpensa because we need to catch our flight at 3pm. We arrived there on time. I can’t thank Anggi enough for the hospitality during our short stay in Italy. Thank you so much Anggi and Carlo, I wish you both happiness ever after. Ciao!20140209_144931 20140209_143225 20140209_144858

Narsis di Taman

Pagiii smuaaa, selamat hari Senin yaa. Masih pada semangat kan? Kalau ngerasa lagi bete ato bosen, biasanya tangan saya suka jalan sendiri buat ngambil cermin ato gadget, buat foto-foto *true story* Serius, saya ini narsis aku, foto itu akan saya bilang bagus kalau saya yang di foto itu terlihat bagus 😀

Nah, pas di Belanda 2 bulan kemarin, level narsis saya meningkat pesat. Hal ini disebabkan banyaknya pemandangan-pemandangan indah yang cocok untuk dipadankan dengan saya. Saya terpukau dengan taman-taman di Belanda yang bersih. Beberapa taman bahkan memasang tanda tertentu yang melarang anjing masuk ke taman tersebut, dan dipatuhi dunkz oleh para pemilik anjing, akibatnya saya menjadi tidak takut terkena ranjau kala berkunjung ke taman.

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Dua minggu sebelum kepulangan saya ke Indonesia, sepertinya sudah mulai transisi musim semi. Hal ini ditandai dengan mekarnya bunga-bunga dimana-mana. Kece abiiiiis. Sayangnya, kami tidak berkesempatan mampir ke Keukenhof, taman tulip legendaris Belanda, karena baru dibuka pada akhir Maret 2014. Ya sudah, silahkan loh disimak ya foto-fotonya, maaf kalau banyak saya nya 😀

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Short Study in Clingendael, The Hague

Morning my all fabulous readers, how are you? Did you have enough rest during the weekend? Or do you craving for more? LOL. Well I recently found myself as a second type of person. I cherish weekend and every day-off counts!

Okay, enough with the babbling, I should start telling you about what I did in The Netherlands. So, there was an agreement between Clingendael Diplomatic Institute and Centre for Education and Training of Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Pusdiklat) which agreed on sending Indonesian young diplomats to study in Clingendael Diplomatic Institute in The Hague. Since the seats were only available for 22 people only, Pusdiklat simply registered the top 22 from the 59 young diplomats. And there I was, feeling quite lucky again by the chance of returning to Europe.1496195_598177933570518_1826956893_o

The program itself was from January 13 to March 6, 2014. So by the time I wrote this post, I’m already enjoying the traffic in the capital. Hooorah! Well, back to the program (seriously, i had a lot of things popping up in my head, and I have the sudden urge to write it down, not nice, sorry sorry), since it was a diplomatic training, I thought that most of the program was discussing about international relations, here is the thing, I’ve never been so wrong 😀 Well yeah, there were some classes about international relation, the regional up and down, but there were also negotiation class where we could practice how to negotiate, and showed up our true colors! Thumbs up also should be given for the lecturers. They were so qualified and blunt, something that quite difficult to find here :p There were also some breathtaking site visit to some institutions that even in my wildest dream I’d get the chance to step my foot in, like NATO, Peace Palace, ICJ, ICC, OECD, and many more you name it! Oh I almost forget to mention our Dutch Water Management class. My oh my, with all those sophisticated technology no wonder they can even manipulate the water flow so they can prevent the flood. Brilliant!

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At first I thought that 2 months study could not considered as short study, but when the program started, wuuuuuz, I was like entering a time machine, time flies and suddenly our two lovely coordinator, Anne and Henriette, were taking us to a warm dinner in Shabu-shabu, The Hague downtown.

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Ah, thank you again, Dear God and universe for all the chance, experience, and whatever comes with it. I have been blessed, and I’m grateful for that.

I have so much to tell you guys about what I did in Europe, I really do. I promise I’ll force my lazy ass to write more, because where’s the fun of having experience by not sharing it? Talk to you later my loyal readers, and have a nice day!!!!

Policy Brief Indonesia-Japan

Goedemorgen!

It’s been a while since my last post. Again, i got a chance to visit Europe again. Currently, i base on The Hague, Netherlands for some diplomatic training. Here i would like to present our final assignment where me and my partner, Ima, had to make policy paper about Indonesia-Japan. It was a bit hard at the beginning because we had to find a dilemma between these two countries. But miracles does happen people! A day before the deadline we decided to elaborate about the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). We found this issue very interesting and we got a bit carried away, lol. Well then, enjoy reading peeps!

Final Policy Brief Indonesia-Japan

What should the government do to solve unfairness issue in EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) between Indonesia and Japan?

Group E: FA and KKD

Executive Summary:

Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Indonesia and Japan was signed in 2007. The signing of partnership agreement was aimed at further promoting trade and investment between the two countries by reducing tariff barriers and improving cooperation in capacity building. During its implementation, many experts pointed out that the EPA most likely benefit Japan, thus the government then decided to postpone it in October 2013. In the other hand, Japan claimed that the EPA benefits both parties equally. This analysis suggests that Indonesia should continue the EPA with Japan with some adjustment by developing new mechanism in guarantee the fairness in the agreement. The future agreement should focus on environmentally friendly project. The implementation of this new policy should be done fast and well-coordinated because this policy can help Indonesia as developing country in reducing emissions, while also promoting Japanese exports of energy-efficient and low-pollution technology.

Objective       :

This study aim to analyze whether EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) between Indonesia and Japan is beneficial or unfavorable to Indonesia and identify required actions from the government to answer the dilemma.

Introduction: 

On August, 27th, 2007, Indonesia and Japan signed an economic partnership agreement (EPA) covering the fields of environment, health care and a new free-trade deal. The signing of partnership agreement was aimed at further promoting trade and investment between the two countries by reducing tariff barriers and improving cooperation in capacity building.

In Indonesia, EPA is mainly criticized for failing to enhance cooperation in capacity building/ transfer technology.

EPA itself is Indonesia`s first bilateral free-trade deal that exempted Indonesian products from 90 percent of Japan`s 9,275 import duties, amounting to 99 percent of its export value. The agreement was also aimed at fostering the service sector and the export of workers to Japan. Meanwhile, Japan would be exempted from 93 percent of Indonesia`s 11,163 import duties, 92 percent of its export value, while being ensured of a steady supply of energy and raw materials from Indonesia. In addition, the EPA also includes cooperation in capacity building to ensure the quality of Indonesian products entering the Japanese market. In short, EPA’s scheme is based on liberalization, facilitation and cooperation in capacity building. EPA came into effect in 2008 and ended in 2012. In December 2013, there is a growing concern over EPA that many analysts criticize EPA had failed to benefit Indonesia.

The result can be assessed from the non-oil and gas import between Indonesia-Japan. From 2008 to 2013, the import balance from this two countries showed than Indonesia suffered from deficit from those period of time.

Interests:

For Indonesia, Japan is a trade partner and biggest foreign investor. Indonesia, in turn, is likely to benefit substantially from expanded Japanese investment in its flagging oil industry–complementing the government’s efforts to expand domestic production and refining capacity. To Japan itself, Indonesia is a major energy supplier and a basis for its manufacturing sector.

The EPA signed by Indonesia and Japan consists of many sectors and had showed essential increase in trade relation between two countries. However, the main advantage that can Indonesia get by the EPA beside the huge amount of capital flow is the technology transfer from Japan.

Pre-existing Policy

Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) came into force on July 1, 2008. Indonesia’s first such bilateral trade agreement appropriately takes effect during the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations.

In October 2013, Indonesian Government agreed to evaluate the EPA due to criticism that EPA did not succeed to benefit both countries equally.  The results of the evaluation would become the basis for the renegotiations of the agreement.

Policy Options 1: Indonesia-Japan develop new cooperation mechanism i.e environmentally friendly projects

Indonesia and Japan has a deep historical relationship. In the future Indonesia should continue its EPA with Japan, but with specific adjustment in order to prevent the unfairness. Thus new focus in EPA should be benefiting two parties.

Jakarta needs Tokyo’s help in promoting the use of green technology to effectively manage its mineral resources and overcome the threat of environmental degradation. The government called for continued assistance from Japan to help Indonesia achieve its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent from “business as usual” levels by 2020 in its efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change. In the other hand, Japan is committed to minimize carbon emissions by 25 percent before 2020. Such target will be achieved through boosting investments in environmentally friendly projects at home and abroad. This mechanism is an incentive for Japanese companies to increase investments in low-carbon projects in Indonesia

Indonesia and Japan also have signed a bilateral deal in September 2013 to soothe the way for Japanese companies to directly get carbon credits and projects. Known as a joint crediting mechanism (JCM), it bypasses the Kyoto greenhouse protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, in which the United Nations must screen and sign off on each company’s participation in it. The new agreement will help Indonesia cash in more rapidly on Japanese companies’ attempts to offset their own industrial carbon emissions by gaining credit for helping avoid emissions elsewhere in the world.

In summing up the agreement, the Japanese government has already run feasibility studies in the options it has which include renewable energy, forestry, energy conservation, transportation, carbon storage and waste treatment.

Advantage:

  • New mechanism will enhance the volume and quality of Japanese investments in Indonesia.
  • Indonesia will benefit from Japan’s investment particularly in projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions (Katori, 2013), Japan has adequate technologies to support the new investment scheme. In this light, the development of new mechanism will support technology transfer and capacity building in Indonesia.
  • Indonesia will then hopefully have the capacity for emission reduction since it is the third largest emitters after US and China.
  • Japan will get credit for its efforts to reduce carbon emissions (as part of its contribution to developing country)

Disadvantage

  • The result of this policy will only be seen in the medium or long run.

Policy Option 2: Indonesia terminated the EPA completely and all future cooperation should be conducted in each issue, not under umbrella agreement like EPA.

Advantage

  • Less complicated in the making process

Since the beginning of Indonesia-Japan relation, both countries had established hundreds of bilateral agreement. Thus, building issue based agreement will not be a problem and less complicated than EPA.

Disadvantage

  • Difficult in linking the issue
  • Political implications from Japanese government

The EPA came into effect on July 1, 2008. That was the same year when Japan and Indonesia celebrate their 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties. This agreement thus highlights a longstanding economic relationship between Japan and Indonesia. Termination towards this cooperation would possibly jeopardize the diplomatic tie.

  • Moving backward relation

Since Indonesia and Japan already conducted many agreements before, the termination of EPA will indicate that the relationship between two countries is moving backward

Policy Options 3: Indonesia maximized the trade cooperation with ASEAN members and also ASEAN + 3 (China, Japan, and Korea)

Since its establishment in 1997, ASEAN+3 cooperation has deepened in many sectors, not only in economy, but also in political and security as well. This cooperation can be a very potential market for Indonesia. In the future, ASEAN+3 could be a stepping stone to aspire the raise of EAFTA (East Asia Free Trade Agreement).

Advantage

  • ASEAN could have stronger bargaining position, if all the member states could stay in one consensus
  • Since Japan, China, and Korea will deal with ASEAN as a whole, unfairness in trading could be prevented, or at least minimized.

Disadvantage

  • It would be very difficult for all ASEAN member countries to gather consensus about what commodity should be proposed for cooperation
  • Potential conflicts may arise with other countries in the region that have disputes with China, especially regarding South China Sea, and could hamper the cooperation.jepang

Preferred Policy Options:

From those three policy options above, the advise is that Indonesia should continue EPA with Japan with several adjustments and focusing more on environmental friendly mechanism.

By choosing this policy will provide Indonesia many opportunities because Indonesia will be able to get technology transfer from Japan in solving the environmental problem in Indonesia. In the future, hopefully Indonesia can produce environmental friendly product on its own. More important, Indonesian citizen will benefit the most from this policy because the quality of life in Indonesia will increase significantly.

The policy is a win-win solution for Indonesia and Japan because this policy can help Indonesia as developing country (3rd largest emitter) in reducing emissions, while also promoting Japanese exports of energy-efficient and low-pollution technology.

In addition, this policy should be taken because it is undeniable that Japan will always be Indonesia’s strategic partner, and also one of an undisputable major global power in Asia Pacific.

The policy can be implemented by first identifying the field of industry that urged the most in emission reduction. Then, the government needs to provide supporting data about the environmental indicator, such as amount of emissions produce; water and air quality, which can be used as policy basis.

Thus, in helping realizing this policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs could propose and coordinate between Japanese government and related ministries in Indonesia, especially Ministry of Environment to establish an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of environmental protection and sustainable utilization of natural resources. This agreement serves to deal with various environmental issues, such as rehabilitating mining sites and heavily polluted areas. Through this agreement both Indonesia and Japan work together in strengthening global environmental protection efforts.

To ensure the fairness in this policy, there should be a timeline that can predict the amount of emission reduction in Indonesia. For Japan itself, the timeline serves to exemplify Japan’s commitment and contribution to Indonesia as developing countries as part of its responsibility in Green House Gas (GHG) reductions.

The implementation of this policy itself could be done after the election in April 2014. As Japan is currently Indonesian biggest investor, the elected government should speed up the implementation process. We do believe that Japan will react positively on this proposal since Indonesia is Japan’s biggest trading partner in the energy sector. In addition, cooperation with Indonesia has by far contributed the largest Japan energy supply. Regarding the propose emphasis on environmental issue, this would help Japan to maintain its commitment in lowering world carbon emissions.