The new capital city named “Nusantara”, currently under construction in the east of the island of Borneo, is to become the future capital of Indonesia. The construction of the city shall be completed in 2045, when Indonesia celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence. The new seat of government and administration, Ibu Kota Nusantara, shall start its operation as early as 2024. As a green and sustainable, so-called 'smart city', it is to become the most modern capital in the world and to ensure a contribution to economic development in parts of the country outside Java as well. The seminar was a great success due to the high quality speakers and the outstanding willingness of the eighty participants of KAAD and KONTAK to discuss critically the issue.
The seminar was ceremonially opened on the topic "IKN: the Most Modern and Greenest Capital City to be? – A Dialogue and Thoughts on the Direction of Indonesia's National Development after 2024" by KONTAK Chair Celine Widjojo and our Secretary General, Dr Nora Kalbarczyk. Before the participants celebrated their reunion and exchanged ideas about the new capital at the joint barbecue, they were brought up to date on the current status of planning and construction work on site by Dr Yuwono Imanto during a virtual tour of the new capital. A subsequent discussion already raised the first critical questions about the impact of the relocation of the capital.
On the second day of the seminar, the participants began to work on the topic. Dr Anselm Feldmann, Head of our Asia Department, gave a presentation on the German experience with this topic and discussed the relocation of the German capital from Bonn to Berlin and the similarities and differences to the case of Jakarta and Nusantara in a historical context.
In the question and answer session, some of the problems arising from the relocation of Indonesia's capital and the solutions that have been found in Germany were also identified. In particular, the effects on the old seats of government in Bonn and Jakarta were discussed. Afterwards, Jeremy Adinugroho, expert for urban planning and development as well as consultant at PT Bina Karya, an Indonesian state-owned company, spoke about the urban planning ideas to turn Nusantara into a green 'Smart City'. Afterwards, the participants also critically questioned the extent to which Nusantara can meet these requirements.
Now that all participants had deepened their understanding of the underlying ideas of relocating the capital, a presentation by Dr Yanuar Nugroho followed. He is a former Deputy Chief of Staff in the Board of Advisors to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Visiting Senior Fellow at the prestigious ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute at the National University of Singapore. He laid out very clearly the difficulties in planning and implementing the new capital. Too little time had been spent on planning, consultation and stakeholder participation since the decision to move and its implementation, he said. Some of Jakarta's problems, which the relocation of the capital was supposed to eliminate, also existed in Nusantara, and the water supply in particular was problematic. Afterwards, different aspects of the relocation, namely ecology, economy and government action, were discussed in three groups in a workshop and finally presented to the plenum. The critical examination of the capital project continued during discussions on the last day of the seminar with Joanes Joko, who currently serves on the board of advisors to President Joko Widodo.
On the one hand, the relocation of the capital and seat of government to Nusantara offers various advantages in terms of urban development, as there is no need to pay attention to existing buildings. The relocation is also understandable due to problems in Jakarta regarding water and sewage supply, limited possibilities of further infrastructure measures in public transport or the sinking of the city with simultaneously rising sea levels due to global warming. On the other hand, the relocation brings with it numerous problems: ethnic groups such as the Dayak will be displaced by the construction. The costs of the project are very high, which is already leading to noticeable budgetary reductions in other regions and areas. Further struggles for scarce financial resources are to be expected. While the plans promise a green and sustainable city, forests will be cleared for construction. Water supply will be a major problem, as it is in Jakarta. In addition, experts expect negative impacts for Jakarta; for example, funds for infrastructure projects are expected to be used mainly in the new capital Nusantara. However, it is not yet clear whether the project, which is already under construction, will be completed: presidential elections will be held in Indonesia in 2024. Only if a candidate of the current governing coalition wins, a continuation of the project will be certain – although a lot of money has already been invested in the new city up to this point. However, the results of the elections are at this stage completely uncertain.
KAAD also used the meeting to appoint the new Partner Committee during the seminar: After Hadi Kasim, managing director of the Triputra Group, left the Partner Committee at his own request after 15 years, Dr Ignatius Iriyanto, who works at the Adaro Bangun Negri Foundation in Indonesia and is active in numerous civil society groups, was recruited for this position. Ignatius Iriyanto is a proven expert in the field of corporate social responsibility. In addition, Dr Triyanti strengthens the Partner Committee. She has technical project responsibility at PT DyStar Colours Indonesia and chaired the board of our partner organisations KMKI and KONTAK. Thus, she represents an outstanding link between KAAD and the partners in Indonesia. Dr Juliana Murniati, Dean of the Faculty of Psychology at the Catholic University Atma Jaya Indonesia, will chair the Partner Committee for another five years. Also serving on the Partner Committee for another five years are Father Simon Petrus Lily, who teaches at the Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat Driyarkara College of Philosophy, and Dr Antonius Wibowo, who also teaches at Atma Jaya. During the ceremonial appointment and farewell, Anselm Feldmann expressed great gratitude to Hadi Kasim for his considerable commitment to KAAD and the Partner Committee Indonesia. Nora Kalbarczyk also commemorated the unexpected and much too early deceased partner committee member Stephanus Muliyadi. Once again, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to all former and new Partner Committee members for their commitment. It is only through their commitment that we can award scholarships, as the application process is largely based on the decision and cooperation of our partners in their respective countries, thus confirming the sustainability of the funding. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with the new Partner Committee.
The seminar ended with an extremely successful mass led by Father Simon Lily. A local group of Anklung players musically accompanied the service (Anklung: an Indonesian instrument). This gave the extremely successful seminar a well-deserved and worthy conclusion.