Among the mangroves, Biden cultivates diplomacy

Bali, Indonesia

President Joe Biden capped off a straight week of meetings with his foreign counterparts abroad—discussions centered on Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, the existential threat of climate change to the ground, and a pandemic that has unleashed food, energy, and economic crises around the world—with a final symbolic gesture in Bali. .

Mangrove tree planting.

The mangrove tree represents strength, resilience, and stability in the face of adversity. So it seemed fitting that in the final hours before boarding Air Force One for home, the president — flanked by the leaders of some of the United States’ most important allies — helped lower mangrove seedlings to the ground.

Biden eased his tree into a pre-dug hole before using a shovel to stuff dirt into the hole. Wearing a G20 hat and rolled up cuffs, the president triumphantly raised his shovel for the gathered journalists to see — a move quickly copied by the other foreign leaders next to him.

Later, Biden was seen in conversation with a number of leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Cameras heard him tell Macron and Proof about the debt forgiveness scheme he developed in the 1980s alongside the late Republican Senator Dick Lugar to reward countries that don’t cut down their forests.

Later, a man approached Biden about a meeting they had years ago that involved his granddaughter, Naomi.

“That granddaughter is getting married in four days,” Biden said.

“This is why you miss APEC,” their guide noted.

Half a world away, Biden’s predecessor was announcing his third run for the White House. But Biden responded nonchalantly as he strolled through the mangroves.

When asked if he had a reaction, he looked at Macron.

“No, not really,” Biden said.

Biden’s participation in a mangrove-planting ceremony was initially scheduled to be his first public event on the final day in Indonesia, but that changed after reports came in overnight that a “Russian-made” missile had landed inside Poland, a NATO member, killing Two people killed.

After an emergency meeting with top allies to discuss the situation, Biden said the United States would fully support Poland’s investigation into the explosion. He also said that “preliminary information” seemed to contradict the idea of ​​the missile being launched from Russia.

I don’t want to say that until we fully investigate. It is unlikely in the minds of the track that it was launched from Russia. “But we’ll see,” he said.

Biden’s three-country trip through Egypt, Cambodia and Indonesia came at a moment of great turmoil around the world. Looming over all of Biden’s meetings with foreign leaders is the ongoing war in Ukraine, which — since the Russian invasion began in February — has transformed the world order and destabilized the global economy. It also worked to strengthen the US alliance with some of its partner countries, as evidenced by the G-20 summit in Bali which produced strong condemnation of the war from most of the member states.

Indonesia is said to have the largest mangrove coverage in the world – about 3.5 million hectares, according to the World Bank.

Mangroves play a beneficial role in preventing coastal erosion and provide protection from extreme weather events such as hurricanes, typhoons, and tsunamis. They also play an important role in combating climate change, with the potential to store a significant amount of carbon.

One of the many themes of coordination during the G20 summit was addressing the climate crisis and clean energy, and the mangrove tree represents a step in that direction.

Climate change was a major topic of discussion during Biden’s isolated meetings with the leaders of India and Indonesia. The president also announced a range of investments by the United States and multilateral institutions around the world during the G20 event on Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investing with Purpose in Clean Energy.

Among the mangroves, world leaders made this small symbolic step towards tackling climate change before leaving Bali on their private jets.


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