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Thursday, December 7, 2023
BANGKOK, Thailand, Sep 27 2023 (IPS) - Many nations are engaged in ambitious urban planning endeavors and the creation of new capital cities. Nusantara, Indonesia, is the latest in a series of modern cities that have sprung up across Asia.
The government aims to create a model capital city based on the principles of liveability and green urban development on the island of Borneo.
Indonesia seeks to relocate its capital due to flooding, land subsidence, overpopulation and congestion in Jakarta, located on the island of Java, where 60 per cent of the country’s population of close to 280 million lives.
Nusantara will also play a role in rebalancing the country’s economy, and redistributing economic growth outside Java. But how can the government get such a complex endeavor right?
In this article, we explore how planners of Nusantara are leveraging a UN-supported mechanism, called the Voluntary Local Review (VLR), to promote sustainability and uphold human rights. VLRs are typically performed by authorities of existing subnational administrative areas such as provinces and cities.
Nusantara will be the first VLR for a new city ever undertaken – in order for authorities to integrate sustainability actions and key principles such as leaving no one behind already during the development stage.
Valuable lessons from other new Asian cities
Seven key takeaways for Nusantara’s way forward
Nusantara is learning from these examples by leveraging sustainability in its master planning and closely working with ESCAP, the UN Country Team in Indonesia and the Asian Development Bank to prepare a baseline VLR report as a tool for fostering inclusive, sustainable and rights-based development.
While significant attention is focused on Nusantara, it’s clear that relocating administrative functions may not address all social and environmental problems in Jakarta, especially for those most vulnerable.
The development of Nusantara has the potential to help Jakarta address its longstanding problems by relieving population pressure, improving infrastructure and setting an example for sustainable urban development. However, the success of this endeavor will depend on careful planning, infrastructure investment, and effective governance.
Omar Sidique is Economic Affairs Officer, UN Economic and Social Commissions for Asia and the Pacific; Diani Sadiawati is Special Staff to the Head, Nusantara Capital City Authority, Government of Indonesia; and Diandra Pratami is Development Coordination Officer, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Indonesia
IPS UN Bureau
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