Jakarta’s gubernatorial election: a call for change

Published in East Asia Forum, September 29th, 2012

Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah, ANU,

original linkhttp://www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/09/29/jakartas-gubernatorial-election-a-call-for-change/

Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s expected victory in the final round of Jakarta’s gubernatorial election against incumbent Governor Fauzi ‘Foke’ Bowo has sent a clear message that the government’s approach to managing Jakarta’s complex urban systems needs to change profoundly.

Official results will not be available until 1 October, but according to exit polls taken on 20 September 2012, Jokowi gained approximately 53–54 per cent of the votes while Foke obtained 46 per cent.

Jokowi’s running mate, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as ‘Ahok’), is a Christian with an ethnic-Chinese background. In the lead up to the final round of the election, several Muslim figures beseeched their constituents not to vote for a non-Muslim candidate, a clear message for voters to back away from the Jokowi–Ahok team. Seeing the increase in intolerance in Jakarta (and Indonesia as a whole), many Jakartans, including Jokowi’s supporters, reacted by calling for people to be rational and to elect candidates based on their performance. Many utilised social-media platforms — Jakarta having recently been named the most active Twitter city in the world — to convey their messages of tolerance. This seems to have paid dividends for Jokowi.

The results may have interesting implications for the approaching 2014 legislative and presidential elections. Jokowi was supported by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (the party of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri) and Gerindra (the party of former Suharto-era strongman and 2014 presidential frontrunner Prabowo Subianto). Foke was backed by the Democratic Party (the largest party in the parliament and the party of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) and Golkar (the party of the former dictator Suharto). Such a shift in party support could foreshadow political change at the national level.

The key topics of debate during the campaign, however, related to challenges facing the megacity of Jakarta.

Jakarta has constantly struggled to find a balance between promoting development and providing a safe, healthy environment for its inhabitants. The city’s infrastructure has not kept up with its fast-growing population and high level of density. The state of the city’s poor infrastructure is hugely challenging for Jakartans.

Seasonal flooding is a serious problem, as Jakarta lacks the physical capacity to absorb high rainfall. Regular fire incidents in Jakarta have been associated with densely populated areas across the city and the mismanagement of urban slums and poverty — officials claim such incidents are mainly the result of illegal power connections. But the biggest topic of debate is the heavy traffic congestion; Jakarta’s traffic crisis is estimated to cost at least US$1.4 billion a year. A dramatic increase in multiple-vehicle ownership in Jakarta has not only led to traffic jams, but also to an increase in air pollution, which leads to high levels of respiratory and other serious diseases.

The outgoing governor has made efforts to address this issue, for instance, by pushing for special bus lines and a program for mass rapid-transport systems. Last year, the central government disbursed US$32.4 million in efforts to boost infrastructure development in and around the capital, partly aimed at improving transport infrastructure. But, according to many critics, these investments still fell far short of the Jakartan people’s expectations. Slow implementation and weak governance and law enforcement, as well as limited incentives and disincentives for the public to change their behaviour, have created major obstacles for the city government to overcome this issue.

The challenge of flooding is a similar story. While the outgoing governor and city administration claim to have been successful in addressing the issue, in particular by building the East Flood Canal, many point to the need for more comprehensive solutions.

Solutions for traffic jams and flooding, as well as many other issues, require changes in the behaviour of Jakartans (for example, flooding would be easier to address if people stopped throwing rubbish directly into rivers and drains). Jakartans need to realise that they contribute to the city’s problems, and their behaviour therefore needs to change if they are to be part of the solution. Regardless of any programs put in place by the city government, without active public participation, the desired outcomes will be hard to achieve.

Jokowi claims to have the appropriate solutions for Jakarta’s problems, drawing on his experience as the mayor of the Central Javan city of Surakarta (or Solo). As the mayor of Surakarta, and a nominee for the World Mayor 2012 awards, Jokowi has a reputation as a clean and down-to-earth leader. He demonstrated these characteristics in his previous role through his reluctance to draw a salary, the implementation of one-day processing for ID cards, and improvements to the informal sector and markets.

Jokowi’s critics argue that the challenge of running Jakarta is on a different level to the challenge of running Surakarta, the population of which is little more than half a million. But he and his running mate have a great opportunity to change Jakarta. The numbers show that the majority of Jakartans support the newly elected governor and vice governor. Their biggest challenge is to engage with all Jakartans, to encourage them to be part of the solution and to prove that they are the right leaders to run this megacity.

Fitrian Ardiansyah is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

The future of development and the question of sustainability

The Jakarta Post, Opinion, Fitrian Ardiansyah, Canberra | Wed, September 26 2012, 8:52 AM

Paper Edition | Page: 7,

Original link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/09/26/the-future-development-and-question-sustainability.html

The gathering of the United Nations (UN) this September in New York undoubtedly had a different nuance. It marked the first official meeting to discuss “the future of development”. On Tuesday 25th, parallel to the UN General Assembly, the UN High Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on Post-2015 Development Agenda kicked off discussions about the continuation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In September 2000, 147 heads of state and government officials met at the UN to unanimously adopt the Millennium Declaration, committing themselves to eight global development objectives (the eight MDGs) to be reached by 2015. These MDGs are widely perceived as the global and cross-country measures by which international development efforts would be judged.

Some proponents of the MDGs claim that many countries have exceeded the targets in at least three areas of the MDGs, namely poverty, slums and water. In the poverty category, for instance, it is estimated that in 2010 the share of people living on less than a US$1.25 a day basis dropped to less than half of its 1990 figure at the global level, as reported in the 2012 MDGs publication.

In Indonesia, as explained by the President’s special envoy for the MDGs, there are MDGs targets that have been achieved successfully such as the increased level of PPP (public-private partnership), school enrollment and higher gender equality. It is clear, however, many countries under the current MDGs framework have yet to achieve all the MDGs’ targets. The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2008, for instance, when commenting on the achievements of the MDGs, stated: “We have made important progress toward all eight goals, but we are not on track to fulfill [all of] our commitments.”

The 2012 UN report concurred with the secretary-general’s statement. The report projected, among others, that more than 600 million people worldwide in 2015 will lack access to safe drinking water, almost one billion will be living on an income of less than $1.25 per day, mothers will continue to die needlessly in childbirth and children will suffer and die from preventable diseases.

In Indonesia, to achieve many of the MDGs’ targets by 2015, huge challenges remain. One of them chiefly relates to addressing poverty vulnerability, which remains high (i.e. many people live very close to the poverty line and mostly, they do not have social protection).

The aforementioned situation sends a strong, clear message to the UN and all countries to accelerate efforts to further achieve targets already laid out in the MDGs, and to continue efforts to achieve them beyond 2015.

Due to this challenge, Ban formed the UN HLP earlier this year that will advise the UN on the global development agenda beyond 2015.

Ban has appointed three co-chairs to lead this HLP: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom. The HLP consists of 26 eminent individuals that will help the co-chairs.

The HLP is expected to prepare a bold yet practical development vision, to be presented to participating countries of the UN next year, which will recommend on a global post-2015 agenda with shared responsibilities for all countries with the fight against poverty and sustainable development at its core.

Sustainable development has been highlighted as an important core of the post-2015 development framework because at the Rio+20 Conference this year, countries agreed on the SGDs and many analysts argued that these goals have been generally overlooked in the MDGs.

Experience shows that focusing on economic growth and poverty eradication alone has not necessarily led to human welfare and — most importantly — well-being. A sole focus on economic growth may further result in the increase in social inequality and environmental negative externalities.

If this continues, such unsustainable growth may push our planet close to its “tipping point” (exceeding our “planetary boundaries”). The planetary boundaries, as defined by some scholars, are a safe operating space for humanity, which are identified and quantified so that human activities can move forward without causing unacceptable and irreversible environmental changes.

These boundaries include biodiversity loss, atmospheric aerosol loading, chemical pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, global freshwater use and change in land use. Since most changes in ecosystems are likely to be irreversible, it is imperative that urgent action is taken to address these challenges before it is too late.

The links between poverty and the environment, however, are mostly complex and strongly influenced by local demographic, political, institutional, economic and cultural factors.

The over exploitation of natural resources, for example, which is driven by wealthy investments, may lead to environmental and natural resource degradation and further marginalize poor people, preventing them from accessing these already limited resources or pushing them to face more frequented disasters, such as flooding, land-slides, drought and fires and haze, as a result of the degradation.

The development framework in post-2015, as discussed in the HLP, therefore, should seriously take into account balanced efforts to address poverty, social inequality (both intra-generational and inter-generational equity) and environmental degradation. The framework needs to promote innovation including the promotion of bottom and inclusive approaches — garnering the support from different stakeholders — in the formulation of development agendas in many countries.

In general, the work of the HLP is crucial to define the basic shape of our development in the future. Since the Indonesian President is one of the co-chairs of the panel, Indonesians — and other developing country citizens — need to be proactive in contributing to this process.

It is our future that the HLP is discussing and defining.

With our contribution, it is hoped that the process is enriched and the formulation of “the future of development” will lead to the appropriate level of welfare and well-being of the human population as well as sound and healthy ecosystems of our only planet Earth.

The writer is a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

Balancing energy development and forest protection

Published in COAL ASIA MAGAZINE, VOL. 2, OPINION, AUGUST 17-SEPTEMBER 17, 2012, PAGE 94-95

by Fitrian Ardiansyah

To see the pdf version, please click COALASIA_OPINION_fitrian ardiansyah_energy&forest_Aug2012

As the largest energy producer and consumer in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is currently struggling to cope with the increase in energy demand each year, causing short-term energy shortage and likely leading to worse situation if no immediate actions taken.

Albeit having enormous energy potential, developing energy sources in this country, while desirable, is fraught with hurdles, ranging from regulatory and pricing issues, lack of capacity and investment, to the problematic location of energy sources.

The heavy reliance on subsidized fossil fuels means it has brought about significant problems of energy security and economic issues, especially ever since Indonesia became a net importer of both crude oil and refined products in 2004.

The new extraction of oil, gas and coal as well as the development of new and renewable energy sources has been viewed as a priority by the government but this development faces a number of challenges, such as the fact that some locations of these energy sources overlap with Indonesia’s remaining important and fragile ecosystems, including its forests.

It has been reported by the Forestry Ministry in 2011 that the area of forests within mining concessions, which include for oil, gas and coal activities, covers approximately 2.03 million hectares – based on 842 licenses given for mining related exploration and exploitation between 2005 and 2011.

A number of environmental organizations, such as Mining Watch Canada and Walhi, even claimed a higher number stating that as of 2005, mining activities have encroached on or threatened 11.4 million hectares of forest in Indonesia, including 8.68 million hectares of protection forests and 2.8 million hectares of conservation areas.

A 2008 study conducted in South Kalimantan by M. Handry Imansyah and Luthfy Fatah of Lambung Mangkurat University, published in ASEAN Economic Bulletin, found that a massive coal exploitation without a proper technical handling for reclamation can cause serious water contamination and land degradation, because many mining areas are often left without rehabilitation.

A similar concern may also be said when it comes to the development of renewable energy, namely biofuels and geothermal.

In the case of biofuels development, mainly from palm oil, although considered as one of renewable sources of energy and therefore has the greenhouse gas (GHG) saving potentials, the development of these crops can further increase GHG emissions if the plantation replace forests and peat lands.

A 2011 article written by Gayathri Vaidyanathan in Nature shows that, for example, in North Sumatra and Bengkulu provinces, 38 and 35 percent, respectively, of peat-swamp forest were converted to oil palm plantations by the early 2000s – leading to the release of about 144.6 million tons of carbon from biomass above ground and peat oxidation below ground.

Another study conducted by Lian Pin Koh and David S. Wilcove in 2008, published in Conservation Letters,estimates that over 56 percent of oil palm expansion occurred at the expense of natural forest cover for the period between 1990 and 2005. In addition, according to the 2009 BAPPENAS (National Development Planning Agency) report, as of 2006, plantation licenses (i.e. predominantly for oil palm) on peatlands totalled 1.3 million ha.

With regard to geothermal energy, this type of renewables has a significant potential to contribute to the future electricity generating capability – with 10 gigawatts of total geothermal potential that is presently ready for commercial extraction as reported in 2009 by the World Bank.

If developed appropriately and immediately, geothermal energy can at least reduce the burden of approximately 35 percent of the current total generation capacity in 2035, as argued in a 2012 paper written by a research team from the Christian University of Indonesia, and eventually contribute to climate change mitigation.

Accelerating the development of geothermal energy is likely to be challenging since up to 60 percent of its potentials and reserves are located in the remaining important forest areas, according to a 2009 paper written by Montty Girianna, the Energy, Mineral and Mining Resources Director of Bappenas.

The exploration, extraction and overall activities of oil, gas, coal and geothermal have been previously subjected to the laws regulating the protection and management of pristine forests, including employing stricter conditions under which licenses are to be issued.

A 2011 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers explains that the Forestry Law No. 41 of 1999 (and its amendments No. 1 of 2004 and 19 of 2004) prohibit oil, gas and mining activities in protected forest areas except where a government permit is obtained.

This, however, was gradually altered, particulary since February 2010 when Government Regulation No. 10 of 2010 on Forest Areas Utilization was introduced. According to this regulation, development projects, including oil and gas activities, power plants, mining, transport and renewable energy projects, can take place in protected forests if they are deemed strategically important.

Specifically on geothermal, a presidential decree (No. 28 of 2011) released on 19 May 2011, allows conditional underground mining in protected forest areas, which includes geothermal energy. This decree was later strengthened with the release of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Forestry Ministry (No. 7662 of 2011) aiming at accelerating the permit issuance of geothermal energy development in forest areas.

Critics, however, view that these regulations and policies which promote and accelerate energy development in forest areas will also encourage other destructive mining activities to take place since the use of the definition of ‘strategic’ or ‘vital’ development activities can have multiple interpretation.

Furthermore, these critics question the level of seriousness of the Indonesian president’s pledge to reduce Indonesia’s GHG, if many of his government’s policies still incorporate a large number of activities that will lead to deforestation in primary and secondary forests as well as peatlands.

It is, therefore, imperative for Indonesia to find practical and applied solutions to balance energy development and forest protection.

The balanced development of energy and forest protection is also crucial since the pledge made by Indonesia’s President particularly mentioning his commitment to changing the status of Indonesia’s forests from a net-emitter sector to a net-sink sector by 2030 and more specifically, emphasizing the preservation of areas under forest protection as one of key programs.

One immediate step to do this, for example, is by harmonizing and synergizing different regulations and policies that will result in a clearer guidance from the government. Vague words like ‘vital’ or ‘strategic’ development activities need to be clarified so that these will not be used as a loop hole.

Synergyzed policies will not be implementable if data regarding conventional energy sources, renewables and forest areas are not synergized as well. Recent actions taken by a number of government’s institutions to synchronize and agree on a map of forest and land use in Indonesia – adhered to across all sectors and levels of government – are therefore crucial to contribute to balancing energy development and forest protection.

Following these steps, a set of sustainability benchmarks is deemed urgent to be instituted to provide technical directions to mitigate the impacts and risks of energy development on forests.

The sustainability benchmarking – promoting principles of high conservation value forest, effective environmental assessment, management plans and monitoring, and multi-stakeholders participation – is required because not only the actual environmental impacts have to be mitigated but also the perceived risks coming from energy projects on these ecosystems need to be addressed, in which local communities and the public may have substantial interest.

The development and implementation of these benchmarks will also align with other laws regulating forest and biodiversity protection, namely the 2009 Forestry Law, the 1990 Biodiversity Conservation Law and the 2009 Environmental Protection and Management Law.

As an emerging economy with a significant increase in energy demand, supplying energy while reducing environmental impacts is definitely a balancing act.

Finding solutions, as elaborated above, is hence urgently required and if these solutions are applied appropriately, Indonesia is likely to secure its future energy in a sustainable way.

——

Fitrian Ardiansyah

The writer is climate and sustainability specialist, a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award. He can be reached at fitrian.ardiansyah@anu.edu.au

Igniting the Ring of Fire: a Vision for Developing Indonesia’s Geothermal Power

Early July 2012, Published by WWF-Indonesia, Author: Fitrian Ardiansyah and Ali Ahsat.

WWF-Indonesia released a report, co-authored by Fitrian Ardiansyah and Ali Ashat, entitled “Igniting the Ring of Fire: A Vision for Developing Indonesia’s Geothermal Potential” – an essay that elaborates the challenges and opportunities involved in the development of geothermal energy in Indonesia, as well as gives a picture on their possible workarounds.

For the pdf file of the complete report: please read geothermal_report or alternatively click http://awsassets.wwf.or.id/downloads/geothermal_report.pdf

This report discusses economic, social, policy, financial and environmental aspects of geothermal energy development in Indonesia, including balancing geothermal energy development and forest protection, and setting the price right for geothermal investment.

 

 

Rio+20 and the fate of sustainable development

Strategic Review

The Indonesian Journal of Leadership, Policy and World Affairs, by Fitrian Ardiansyah, 18 May 2012

Original link: http://www.sr-indonesia.com/2011-08-09-22-09-10/commentaries/193-rio20-and-the-fate-of-sustainable-development

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), being held in June in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, will undoubtedly raise a critical question about how far countries have advanced sustainable development and mitigated environmental degradation.

Sustainable development, defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, was introduced in the 1987 Brundtland Report and reaffirmed 20 years ago in Rio. This is why this year’s UNCSD is also known as Rio+20, marking the 20th anniversary of one of the famous large-scale gatherings on environmental issues, the 1992 Earth Summit, which was held in the same city.

During the 1992 Earth Summit, world leaders agreed to uphold sustainable development, demonstrated by, among others, the adoption of Agenda 21, the signings of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the issuance of the Declaration of Forest Principles. Agenda 21 is a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection at the global, national and local levels.

The CBD, signed by 150 government leaders, provides a platform to achieve sustainable development since it recognizes crucial functions and services of biodiversity and natural ecosystems that directly and indirectly support people and their needs. The Forest Principles, which focuses particularly on forest ecosystems, is the first global consensus that encourages nations to conserve, restore and manage these already fragile and threatened resources.

Another major breakthrough in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit was the signing of the UNFCCC. The convention created an umbrella for global efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change, which is perceived as one of the biggest threats to human civilization. With the UNFCCC, nations recognize that the climate system is a shared resource and all governments and people on our planet have the responsibility to ensure its stability.

Two decades have passed since the first UNCSD, yet progress toward the achievement of the objectives of the above conventions and commitments, according to many scholars, has been very slow.

In the 2010 editorial section of Wiley’s Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) of Climate Change—Climate and Development, Daniel Murdiyarso of the Center for International Forestry Research argued that global programs and actions to achieve safe drinking water, improved health and reduced mortality, food security and reduced hunger, and environment sustainability – as also reflected in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – fell very short toward their targets.

When commenting about the MDGs in 2008, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said: “We have made important progress toward all eight goals, but we are not on track to fulfill our commitments.”

With regard to food security and the use of land and water, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, for example, reported in 2011 that although agricultural production has as much as tripled due to significant increases in the yield of major crops, global achievements in production in some regions have been associated with degradation of land and water resources and the deterioration of related ecosystem goods and services.

The report indicated that significant biomass, carbon storage, soil health, water storage and supply, biodiversity and social and cultural services have been negatively affected by the global agriculture production from the use of 11 percent of the world’s land surface and 70 percent of all water withdrawn from aquifers, streams and lakes for crop production. In the same report, agricultural policies are viewed to have primarily benefitted farmers with productive land and access to water, bypassing the majority of small-scale producers who are still locked in a poverty trap of high vulnerability, land degradation and climatic uncertainty.

In Indonesia, a 2008 study written by Sugiyanto and Candra R Samekto of the ministries of Public Works and National Development Planning revealed that the country had already experienced water shortages in some areas during the dry season and flood events during the rainy season.

Specific water issues that Indonesia faces, as described in this study, include in imbalance between supply and demand in a spatial and temporal perspective and degraded river basins. For instance, increasing water demand – the total water needs of the country was 112.3 billion cubic meters in 2003 and approximately 117.7 billion cubic meters in 2009 – combined with limited water availability will certainly aggravate the water scarcity problem and trigger water conflict.

Biodiversity is also under threat. In the 2010 State of the Planet’s Biodiversity, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) provided gloomy facts. Species extinction is a natural part of Earth’s evolution, the reported noted, but during the past 100 years humans have increased the extinction rate by at least 100 times compared to the natural rate.

The report stated that virtually all of Earth’s ecosystems have been dramatically transformed through human actions; for example, 35 percent of mangroves and 20 percent of coral reefs have been lost. The report further argued that important ecosystems continue to be converted for agricultural and other uses at a constant pace during at least the past century.

In the 2010 State of Biodiversity of Asia and the Pacific, UNEP ranked Indonesia second after Australia as having the most threatened plant and animal species in the region. This is due to, among other things, high rates of fragmentation and net loss of forests that have continued in many countries in Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2009.

Still, 20 years after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, it is not all doom and gloom for the Earth and its people. Increasing collaborative works among state and non-state actors or between businesses and nongovernmental organizations have brought about gradual but important changes toward achieving sustainable development.

The development and application of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) – a pioneering certification scheme for forest products harvested based on strict environmental, social and economic criteria – is an example of a concrete step forward from the 1992 Forest Principles. Under the FSC, more than 130 million hectares of forest and 8.5 percent of forest products in international trade are now certified, allowing important reforms in the relevant chains of custody and behavioral changes of end consumers. Other forest certification schemes have also been developed.

A similar case can be argued about the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a certification scheme for wild-caught seafood. To date, this scheme has produced more than 100 MSC-certified fisheries and 7,000 certified products available worldwide.

When it comes to the protection of large-scale threatened biodiversity and ecosystems, a multi-partners work that launched a 10-year initiative to preserve 12 percent, or 60 million hectares, of the Brazilian Amazon under the Amazon Region Protected Area can be used as a showcase. The protected area and other similar efforts in the Amazon are the world’s largest in situ conservation schemes, creating more than 30 million hectares of protected areas, ensuring further protection and improved management of 80 percent of the Amazon’s original forest and establishing a $29 million conservation fund.

Similar efforts have taken place in the Central Africa and Southeast Asia regions, such as the adoption of the Yaoundé Declaration (resulting in the protection and sustainable management of more than 10 percent of the Congo forest), and the creation of the Heart of Borneo (conservation and sustainable management of 22 million hectares of forest and terrestrial ecosystems).

In marine areas, comparable efforts have been undertaken through the Coral Triangle Initiative, a multilateral partnership of six countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) formed in 2009 to address the urgent threats facing the coastal and marine resources of one of the most biologically diverse and ecologically rich regions on Earth.

Such progress, however, can only be further continued if existing and future threats, particularly from unsustainable land use and marine activities, are mitigated and important enabling conditions are improved, namely good economic policies that create positive incentives, good governance, clear land tenure and environmentally-friendly infrastructure development.

Rio+20, under one of the two themes of its upcoming conference, “Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” provides a venue for countries to openly and informally discuss comprehensive approaches using a green economy concept to address such threats and improve enabling conditions and propose solutions.

By using the green economy concept, it is expected that countries can be helped to transform their engines of economic growth, particularly through shifting investments – public and private, domestic and international – towards emerging green sectors and the greening of existing sectors, complemented by changes to unsustainable consumption patterns.

Such transformation is crucial to ensure sustainable development in most countries, especially developing countries including Indonesia. Without significant transformation in countries’ economies, sustainable development is likely to remain an oxymoron concept.

Indonesia, as a large developing country, has a real stake and hence is required to come up with a strong position to negotiate so that countries agree at Rio+20 for a worldwide transition toward a green economy and concrete application of sustainable development.


Fitrian Ardiansyah is a Climate and Sustainability Specialist, doctoral candidate at the Australian National University and the recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

Electing the leader of Jakarta, the city of (no) joy

The Jakarta Post, Fitrian Ardiansyah, Canberra | Wed, 03/21/2012 9:59 AM

Original link: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/03/21/electing-leader-jakarta-city-no-joy.html

Recent news on the lead up to the Jakarta gubernatorial election has reminded people about the importance of the immediate future of this great big capital city and the people who live within its city limits.

Jakarta, for some, is considered as a source of economic opportunities, a stepping stone to living the “Indonesian dream”.

For others, it is a constant reminder of a harsh day-to-day life, facing the consequences of urban environmental mismanagement such as traffic gridlock, flooding, air and water pollution.

Yet, like a magnet, those who have left will likely return, new people will turn up and the majority who stay will continue to call this city their home.

Jakarta has a stunning history. From a small port on the estuary of the Ciliwung River around 500 years ago, Jakarta has significantly transformed itself into Indonesia’s economic and political hub.

The city is a busy and crowded melting pot and is now one of the biggest cities on Earth.

The latest statistics suggest that Jakarta’s population has reached 9.6 million (with a growth rate of 1.40 percent per year) — among the top 10 most populous cities in the world — while the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Area is home to 27.9 million people (the growth rate is 3.6 percent per year).

Jakarta’s population density is estimated at around 14,500 per square kilometer, ranking 17th of 125 big cities in the world.

According to Prof. Tommy Firman of the Bandung Institute of Technology, the population growth in Jakarta and its greater area can be attributed to net migration and reclassification (i.e. change in rural localities to urban localities).

The accelerating growth in population in the city is due to, among other factors, its significant economic growth. It was recorded that last year, economic growth in Jakarta reached 16.5 percent, the highest in Indonesia.

Although having the highest economic growth in the country, Jakarta still falls behind other big cities in the world, particularly when it comes to personal earnings and purchasing power.

A report released last year by UBS reveals that Jakarta has the lowest rank (number 73 of 73 big cities assessed) in terms of domestic purchasing power, even compared to Manila, Nairobi and Mumbai. It is, however, slightly better (number 70) than these three cities in terms of gross wages.

Its iPod index — a calculation on how long an employee would have to work to be able to afford an iPod nano with 8 GB storage in each city — ranks 65 in 2009, which is lower than Bangkok (much lower than Zurich or New York) but higher than Delhi, Manila and Mumbai.

This means that an average wage-earner in Zurich and New York can buy an iPod nano after nine hours of work. Workers in Jakarta, however, need to work 93 hours (or 10 nine-hour days) to purchase the same gadget.

Regardless of these figures, the economic spectrum of Jakarta is still very attractive to millions of people.

This tremendous economic boost, combined with decades of land-use and urban management (or the lack of it), however, also brings about unwanted consequences.

Jakarta has been well-known for its seasonal but intensified flooding. Flooding in 2007 affected 80 subdistricts, causing traffic chaos and paralyzing the city. The Indonesian government estimates that losses amounted to Rp 4.1 trillion (US$450 million).

Every year, the city government promises to make various efforts to prevent major floods from inundating the capital city.

Last year, the Jakarta city administration had to allocate Rp 1.36 trillion to support these actions.

With only 9.79 percent of green space in 2010, continuous overdevelopment inside the catchment areas and nearby rivers that cannot discharge water into the sea since they are clogged with waste, the city will have little capacity to absorb a high level of rainfall and prevent flooding.

Another major but daily headache for Jakartans is the continuous horror of its traffic. A 2011 study released by the Jakarta Transportation Agency estimated that traffic congestion costs the city up to Rp 46 trillion a year.

Another figure from the Transportation Ministry claims that congestion costs Rp 28.1 trillion each year, accounting for wasted fuel, productivity lost and traffic-induced health problems.

Promises after promises have been made by the city administration to address these issues and the people of Jakarta have waited long enough to see if these are going to be put into action.

With the upcoming election of their governor, Jakartans now have a greater chance to demand more and push the incumbent and other candidates further to not only promise a better Jakarta but also to come up with ambitious and clear action plans to improve the city.

Impossible is nothing, says one ad. Jakarta can be changed into a better and livable place. Jakarta’s citizens can ask their government — and the future government — to learn from the success of cities in other developing countries.

Mexico City, Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro, for instance, as part of the commitment by their political leaderships to improve the living conditions of their citizens, have gradually changed their images for the better by establishing environmental policies, programs and actions, developing innovative and creative modes of public transportation, and instituting a high degree of public participation and engagement in environment-related issues.

It is now the right time for Jakartans to voice their concerns louder, by ensuring that they elect the right candidate for the position of governor.

Being apathetic is not an option, since the immediate and possibly long-term fate of Jakarta will be decided in this upcoming election.

The writer is a native Jakartan, doctoral candidate at the Australian National University and recipient of the Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award.

This article is reposted in East Asia Forum: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/04/07/jakarta-s-gubernatorial-election-a-time-for-change/