MIKTA – Unity in diversity

25 March 2021

The Diplomatic Society hosted a webinar to create greater awareness of MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, Korea (ROK), Turkey and Australia), a diverse consultative group of middle power countries. MIKTA has developed into an innovative partnership since 2013 after a meeting initiated by Mexico on the sidelines of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

Australia took over chair from the Republic of Korea for 2021. The agenda for the webinar was pertinently themed Covid-19 response and recovery, Gender equality and Climate action. The distinguished panel was made up of the Heads of Mission of the respective countries to South Africa – High Commissioner Gita Kamath of Australia, Ambassador Chull-joo Park of the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Ana Luisa Fajer of Mexico, Ambassador Elif Çomoğlu Űlgen of Turkey and Ambassador Salman Al Farisi of Indonesia. The session was moderated by Kirtan Bhana, Director of the Diplomatic Society, opening remarks were delivered by Sanusha Naidoo, Senior Research Analyst at the Institute for Global Dialogue who also served as respondent together with Advocate Ajay Sooklal, legal and economic diplomacy expert.

Australia is committed to coordinate the discussions within MIKTA especially around the bolstering of the current global health architecture and providing greater support and resources to the World Health Organization (WHO) towards responding to and preventing further pandemic outbreaks said Kamath in her remarks. She also commended Korea for their efforts as chair during an unprecedented and extraordinary situation created by the Covid19 viral pandemic.

Ambassador Park of Korea recently arrived in Pretoria and his focus was climate action. He discussed the environmental and ecological challenges as stated in the Paris agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals and motivated that the momentum to address these issues continue at pace even as the world battles Covid-19. The Republic of Korea launched its P4G National Platform on 27 July 2018, solidifying its role as a leader in sustainable development. The Partnership for Green Growth, P4G, summit will be held in Seoul in May 2021.

Mexico’s Ambassador Fajer spoke of the empathy between the nations of MIKTA, especially during these uncertain times when countries most need each other’s support. She was glad that the informal grouping was making progress and the cooperation between the countries was receiving attention. She referred to the richness of the diversity of the traditions and cultures of the nations and that it bode well for governance related solutions.

Addressing the equitable access to vaccine and the TRIPS agreement at the WTO brought up by Sanusha Naidu in her opening remarks, Ambassador Çomoğlu Űlgen of Turkey referred to a paper sponsored by Australia and Turkey from MIKTA among other countries to this effect, and felt that other MIKTA countries are also sympathetic to the issue. A joint statement by the heads of state of the MIKTA countries at last year’s UN General Assembly reflected the growing cooperation between these diverse yet equally balanced nations.

Action orientated global action is the best response to the pandemic, said Ambassador Farisi of Indonesia, as he addressed the panel discussion. The pandemic has brought a sharp focus on humanity and its interactions in the environment and the impact on the ecology. Indonesia has prioritised a gender responsive approach as part of its policy protecting the vulnerable and enabling society to exist sustainably and in harmony with the environment.

Unity in diversity is how Advocate Ajay Sooklal responded to the discussion of the MIKTA HOM’s. He acknowledged the core areas of overcoming vaccine nationalism and the lead that MIKTA is taking on gender equality. He pointed out that implementation of these initiatives was key, saying that the opportunity for this will present itself at the upcoming G20 and COP26. Both will be held in the United Kingdom later this year. Sooklal referred to some of the tenets of the founding of MIKTA including green energy, just transition, peace and safety among others.

Sanusha Naidoo summed up the discussion with the focus on empathy. She reflected on the commonality of these five nations whose eclectic backgrounds have similar views on the world we want and the world we create.

The full discussion is available on The Diplomatic Society You Tube Channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n88LSrQfXGI&t=715s