Jakarta – BRIN Public Relations. The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) wants to sharpen and take the Research and Innovation Initiative Gathering (RIIG) to a higher level of actionable programs. The G20 member countries are still facing the Covid-19 pandemic and at the same time must take real actions on climate change.

In relation to these two matters, Head of BRIN, Laksana Tri Handoko, emphasized that there is no need to question how important the role of research and innovation is. “It is time for all of us to emphasize the role of research and innovation on the stage of the G20 forum. This will also be the key that will enable us to turn our informal meeting to a permanent working group at the G20 Summit to be held in the near future,” he said when opening the RIIG Preliminary Meeting (24/2) online.

Since the pandemic broke out in 2020, Handoko observed, the world has learned a lot on how research and innovation play a very significant role in combating COVID-19. He also highlighted drastic changes in the scientific community, especially in the medical field, when they stand side by side to fight the pandemic. There are so many volunteering works and cross-border volunteers, including the growing willingness to open up data for the benefit of the people. For example, the GIS-AID platform for sharing the COVID-19 genomic data worldwide.

“With that in mind, we have proposed two major agenda items to be discussed during the RIIG event this year. The first agenda is, we want to improve research and innovation cooperation through sharing facilities, infrastructure and funding,” he said. “The second agenda is use of biodiversity to support green and blue economies,” he continued.

“I want to emphasize several points why BRIN considers these two issues important for all the G20 member countries. First, biodiversity and its use, including health and medical research, are the key to our future,” he said.

Second, he continued, this issue is also the key component in global efforts to combat pandemics and climate change. “With regard to climate change, it is inevitable that we have to consider ocean and its ecosystem. Therefore, transboundary marine research and our in-depth understanding of the ocean and its ecosystem must be the game changer in the future,” he explained.

Third, on the other hand, Handoko regrets that there is no established mechanism and mutual agreement to conduct global research on biodiversity. “Support for more massive use of biodiversity is very important to extend through equality-based collaboration for the prosperity of mankind,” he said.

Indonesia, as a mega-biodiversity country, must form a kind of Global Biodiversity Research Partnership (GBRP) scheme to take more concrete actions to encourage use of global biodiversity and global collaboration.

On that occasion, Handoko said that Indonesia is now more than ready to contribute progressively to realize the GBRP. “Therefore, I ask the G20 member countries for support and contribution to realize this initiative in the near future,” he added.

The Head of BRIN has seen that several G20 member countries are already familiar with the GSO-GRI (Group of Senior Officials on Global Research Infrastructures) scheme which focuses on research infrastructure to support big science. “Perhaps, we can adopt some of the best practices to realize the Global Biodiversity Research Partnership as soon as possible. This partnership is expected to accelerate biodiversity-based research and innovation which is more advanced and global in the future,” he said.

G20 Delegation Appreciation

Responding to the two proposals submitted by BRIN, the Heads of RIIG G20 Delegations from several countries support and appreciate the two proposals. The Italian and Japanese delegates encourage cooperation in these two fields and which must be incorporated into more specific programs in the form of concrete concepts or platforms that are global in nature.

The delegates agreed to further discuss the importance of the Open Science concept, by encouraging the availability of data and facilities that can be utilized and developed by fellow members. The four areas (biodiversity, marine and ocean, space and renewable energy) proposed by BRIN in this regard are also the priority for the G20 countries, especially related to biodiversity issues which are closely related to human welfare, climate change, social and environmental issues. Italy strongly agrees that biodiversity is very important for the mankind, in which the blue and green economies plays a dominant role.

The Canadian delegates also supported the two BRIN’s proposals. The concept of green and blue economy that has been implemented by Canada relies on use of sustainable resources which provide a better function for climate change regulation, and social and environmental aspects. Canada will support BRIN in this regard, including building international collaborations between governments, academics, and the private sector.

Meanwhile, the British delegates are interested in considering the relationship between the biodiversity sector and other fields such as agriculture and food, forestry, land use and so forth, as well as the relationship between marine and ocean research and these various sectors.

With respect to marine and ocean research, the United States delegates suggested looking back at a number of existing international agreements and collaborations with existing relevant stakeholders so that there would be no overlap in cooperation and collaboration at the global level.

Support was also given by the Australian delegates who in this regard, state that so far they have had a number of funding mechanisms to support research and technology collaboration and are open to further discussions to support international cooperation in this field with the G20 members. In line with the delegates from Australia, and they see the opportunities for the G20 countries to encourage sharing of mechanisms, both information, data and funding in the areas of blue and green economy. Brazil gave an example that so far it has shared data and information in the realm of biodiversity through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

Meanwhile, the Chinese delegates emphasized that among the four sub-topics (biodiversity, marine and ocean, space and renewable energy) it is necessary to clarify in which areas the G20 members must contribute. (drs,aps/ed:pur)