Misleading claim that ‘Indonesian president appointed as head of UN crisis task force’ circulates online

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Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video of an Indonesian academic claiming that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been appointed to lead the new UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) has been viewed by hundreds thousands of times on TikTok, Facebook and YouTube. But the claim lacks context: the group is actually chaired by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and the Indonesian president is named one of the group’s six global champions.

A video was shared here on TikTok and has been viewed nearly 375,000 times since it was uploaded on July 16, 2022.

The four-minute, 31-second video shows Roby Muhamad, a professor at the University of Indonesia, talking about the UN setting up a special task force called the Crisis Response Group to deal with the global crisis.

“The task force is led by six world leaders, with President Joko Widodo being one of the trusted leaders who has been asked to lead the UN task force,” he said.

Indonesian-language text superimposed on the video reads: ‘The world is hit by crisis, President Jokowi has been appointed by the UN to lead the global crisis response group!’

Jokowi is the popular nickname of the President of Indonesia.

The caption of the post, also in Indonesian, reads: “President Jokowi’s leadership has been seen as a factor in Indonesia’s resilience in the face of global crises. This made him appoint one of the leaders of the UN Special Working Group on Global Crisis Management”.

Screenshot of misleading post, taken July 27, 2022

The clip was also shared on Facebook here, here, here and here.

The long version of the video was posted on YouTube here on July 14, 2022, titled: “Roby Muhamad: Why is Jokowi appointed to help solve the global crisis? (Roby’s Philosophy #38)”.

The YouTube video, which has garnered over 352,000 views, was uploaded by a channel called 2045 TV, which publishes content relating to contemporary Indonesian politics.

Many social media users believe this claim. One TikTok user commented, “‘I’m proud of you Mr. Jokowi’, while others wrote, ‘JOKOWI the best leader in the world’ and ‘Indonesia gets more global recognition’.

Screenshot of TikTok user comments, taken July 29, 2022

However, the request lacks context.

The defenders of the group

The United Nations Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) was established in March 2022 “in response to the hunger crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine by the Russia,” according to this UN news article.

The group is chaired by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to this UN page on the GCRG.

Jokowi is named as one of the group’s members along with five other world leaders as the group’s “champion”, not one of its presidents.

The other five leaders are Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Senegalese President Macky Sall.

“As champions of the group, they will champion and facilitate global consensus on actions to prevent, mitigate and respond to the crisis,” the page reads.

Jokowi’s appointment as one of the members of the GCRG was announced in a statement posted on the Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat on April 15, 2022.

“President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo has been named a member of the United Nations Global Crises Response Group (GCRG) Champion Group,” the statement read.

“This was conveyed by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States, on Wednesday (4/13).”

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