Indonesia moving its capital from Jakarta to Nusantara

Indonesia’s capital has just been relocated from Jakarta to a site within the jungle of Kalimantan on Borneo island after parliament approved the bill. The new city has a name chosen by President Jokowi – Nusantara, a Javanese term for the Indonesian archipelago.

Indonesia is relocating its capital city from Jakarta to a site more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away in the rainforests of Borneo Island. The project is set to launch at the end of President Joko Widodo’s term in 2024. Here’s why Southeast Asia’s largest economy is moving its administrative centre to Nusantara. A lush, biodiverse region home to the world’s oldest rainforests.

Jakarta is a city struggling to keep its head above water. “It’s been attacked from both sides – from the river and from the land,” says Eka Permanasari, associate professor in urban design at Monash University, Australia.

The city experiences extreme amounts of rainfall, worsened by climate change, which regularly causes severe flooding. Coupled with this, massive extraction of ground water from aquifers underneath the city is causing the Jakarta to sink. “If you go to the northern part of Jakarta, you may see the road is higher than the houses next to it. In some other areas, it’s actually sinking more than 15cm per year,” says Permanasari.

Reason of the decision

Indonesian officials say the new metropolis will be a “sustainable forest city. That puts the environment at the heart of the development and aims to be carbon-neutral by 2045. But environmentalists warn that the capital will cause massive deforestation. Threaten the habitat of endangered species such as orangutans and imperil the homes of Indigenous communities.

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The new city has a name chosen by him – Nusantara, a Javanese term for the Indonesian archipelago. But no timeframe has yet been set for finalisation of the project. And Jakarta will remain the capital until a presidential decree is issued to formalise the change.

Nusantara would follow in the footsteps of new capitals in other countries, notably Brazil and Myanmar. It will strengthen supply chains and place Indonesia. “In a more strategic position in world trade routes, investment flows, and technological innovation,” the government said in a statement.

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