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Bali’s “Tri Hita Karana” Life Philosophy recommended for APEC Sustainable Economic Development

October 11, 2013 Destination ASEAN No Comments Email Email

Addressing the International Conference on Sustainable Development 2013 (ICSD 2013) with Special Focus on Tourism, held in Bali during APEC 2013, Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono suggested that APEC adopt the Balinese Philosophy of “Tri Hita Karana” to achieve Sustainable and equitable Economic Development, one of the three main pillars for Development in APEC.

Bali’s “Tri Hita Karana” Life Philosophy recommended for APEC Sustainable Economic Development


“Tri Hita Karana” is the Balinese philosophy that underpins the three relationships in human life in which harmony must be maintained. These are: the relationship between human beings and the natural environment, the relationship among human beings, and the relationship between mankind and God. If harmony among these three relationships is maintained, then prosperity will be achieved,” said President Yudhoyono.

For, Tri Hita Karana literally means: the three causes of prosperity. Tri meaning three, hita means prosperity and karana means: reasons or cause. This cosmological philosophy of life has proven to be a powerful concept that in Bali has ensured sustainabality of diverse cultures and the environment in the midst of erosion caused by globalization and homogenization.

These values as incorporated in Tri Hita Karana can inspire both the advanced and emerging economies in APEC to ensure sustainable development, which includes sustainable Tourism development. For, sustainability should not only mean the conservation of the natural environment alone it but must also entail sustainability of the economy, and of social and cultural aspects. This is, since the aim of development is not merely to achieve economic growth but it should also assure the balance between growth on the one hand and conservation of the environment on the other, from which humanity can benefit.

This concept as proposed by Indonesia , moreover, is very relevant in the context of collaboration among APEC countries, which is in line with the development agenda post the 2015 Millenium Development Goals. Sustainable Tourism Development should bring about positive impact not only in the alleviation of poverty but it can also serve to push economic security in APEC. Wisdom should be maintained in ensuring equitable economic sustainable growth. Unfortunately today, the three elements of Tri Hita Karana are not yet in harmony since many economic activities still clash with the need to conserve a sustainable environment.

For this reason, President Yudhoyono called on APEC members to jointly take four necessary actions to maintain a balanced harmony among the above elements, with special regard to the Economy and the Environment.

Firstly, economies should be prepared to adapt and evolve in the midst of a fast changing world, including in environmental issues. Secondly, economies should be straightforward in the identification of their strengths and weaknesses to tackle environmental issues in order to attain sustainable development.

Thirdly, economies should accelerate the need to integrate environmental sustainability into their respective development strategy. Fourthly, to achieve the above, governments and stakeholders need to establish mutual assistance and cooperation, advised President Yudhoyono.

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