“What is the correlation, the relevance between the world of diplomacy, international relation, negotiation, and business schemes?” Marty Natalegawa, an Indonesian diplomat and was the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia from 2009 to 2014, raised a question concerning his specialty. He proposed that the subjects mentioned are extremely relevant, and are of consequences to business and management. With the continuous changes that the world goes through, Marty then discussed the effects of these changes and their relation to how the distinction between countries all over the world is becoming more blurred.
There are a few strands that affect this: 1) it has become increasingly obvious that the differences between local, national, regional, and global are becoming more fragile, diffused, and easily distinguished, and 2) the reality that the distinction between issues of our world has become more fragile as in the 21st century, differences are eliminated, converged, and intertwined.
The key drivers of these facets are globalization and the accelerated pace of technological advancement. The term globalization refers to the growing interdependence of the world’s economies, cultures, and communities, as a result of cross-border trade in goods and services, technology, and investment, individuals, and knowledge flows. Hence, as mentioned previously, economic, political securities, cultural, and environmental issues are slowly converging and are interrelated across the globe. The example that Marty used is the issue of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the past year, we have been trying to combat this challenge, whose implications are becoming more multifaceted. The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health issue, which is in direct correlation with the manifestation of the pandemic. Day by day we are reminded of the health consequences, the number of existing cases, and the fatalities that come along as a consequence. There are public consequences that are not grasped yet, this includes the delay in treatments of other supposedly preventable diseases for many years to come and may be unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Marty explained.
Aside from the public health issue, the economy has also been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Marty claimed that the “economy would not recover in the absence of addressing the public health issues. Without the attempt of management of the issue, the economy will not recover.” In addition to the economic downfall, the pandemic has also affected the level of poverty globally. Many people who have managed to escape poverty before the pandemic struck are forcefully dragged back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has the potential to increase the number of people living in extreme poverty to over 1 billion by 2030, with a quarter of a billion being thrown into poverty as a direct result of the pandemic.
Moreover, it also impacted the momentum of Sustainable Development Goals progress. Obviously, the most visible impact is on Goal 3, which aims to ensure a safe life and encourage well-being. The pandemic has put tremendous strain on health services, not only in terms of treating and managing the virus but also in terms of caring for people with other illnesses and increasing the risk of complications in communities with compromised health. The pandemic has brought the importance of equal access to health systems to the forefront, regardless of people’s demographic characteristics. “The pandemic has provided us with a timely reminder of the multidimensional implications which refers to the fact that the distinction between issues internally and externally is becoming increasingly blurred,” Marty concluded.