Indonesia-Australia Bilateral Plant Biosecurity Initiative
The Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre signed a bilateral research agreement with five Indonesian research organisations in April 2016, to work on mutual plant biosecurity research, education and training to benefit both Indonesian and Australian biosecurity.
The Bilateral Plant Biosecurity Initiative (BPBI) is with Indonesian partners: Universitas Mahasaraswati Denpasar (UNMAS DENPASAR), Denpasar, Bali; Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana (UKSW), Salatiga, Central Java; Universitas Nusa Cendana (UNDANA), Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara; and Universitas Sam Ratulangi (UNSRAT) and the Pacific Institute for Sustainable Development (PISD), located at Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
As well as working together on research projects, the partnership will exchange personnel, including senior researchers, post-doctoral and PhD students, jointly supervise Masters and PhD students, and share seminars, symposia and bilateral talks.
Official event to sign the bilateral research agreement in Indonesia (April 2016).
Opportunities and Benefits for Collaboration on Indonesian Plant Biosecurity: A Bilateral Approach
This Thought Leadership Paper, compiled by Professor Ian Falk with input from the BPBI partners in Indonesia, addresses the question "What are the opportunities and benefits of a bilateral collaboration for an Indonesian-Australian plant biosecurity initiative?". The Executive Summary is outlined below.
Increased collaboration between Indonesia and Australia around plant biosecurity will benefit both countries, leading to improved regional food security and expanding trade and market access for agricultural produce.
Indonesia’s goal of food security for its 13,000 inhabited islands, and Australia’s need to protect its northern borders from pest and disease incursion, can both be supported by the two countries working more closely on plant biosecurity.
There are a number of collaboration opportunities in this area, including measures for early detection and response to pest and disease threats, food storage methods, increased research capacity, policy integration, education and training strategies, digital tools and improved partnerships across all levels of government.
One of the major opportunities is the implementation of sound plant biosecurity processes that will drive agricultural productivity and therefore food security in Indonesia. A dual strategy of increasing production and reducing loss provides the best chance for Indonesia to achieve its 2015 food security goals. Such a strategy provides a clear role for bilateral partnership, drawing on Australia’s knowledge and practice in plant biosecurity management.
Indonesia and Australia’s goals around biosecurity and food security are compatible and a strong working relationship will not only improve food security in the region, it will extend trade and market access opportunities. Opening markets is only possible if complex market conditions are met, and both countries are dependent on strong and effective plant biosecurity measures. Indonesia’s expressed wish to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) requires the implementation of such a plant biosecurity strategy.
Indonesian officials at central government and provincial levels, as well as academics at all levels, have expressed a wish to enter into a bilateral relationship with Australia to enhance knowledge and strategies in the face of a huge and complex mega-biodiverse country with a pressing need to achieve food security and food sovereignty.
A bilateral relationship would help both countries achieve better plant biosecurity measures while improving trade and market access. Australia has significant expertise and strong international linkages to contribute to a collaborative network with Indonesia including: knowledge and networks internationally, risk assessment and development of import conditions, international standard setting, offshore audits and verification, border activities, post-entry quarantine, domestic quarantine, pest management, food storage methods, surveillance, diagnostics, emergency response, export inspection and certification.
Engaging two of the world’s mega-biodiverse countries in joint research and development, as part of a collaborative bilateral agenda, will result in enhanced biosecurity measures and significantly impact strategy, policy and practice in a cycle of change from grassroots to green papers.
The success of any future collaborative activities in the Indonesian context depends on a strong in-country presence on Australia’s part.