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Shifting Capital from Jakarta to Borneo

  • Published
    10th Mar, 2023

Recently, Indonesian government authorities unveiled the site of the country’s new capital, from Jakarta to Borneo.


  • The city is expected to be inaugurated on August 17 next year to coincide with Indonesia’s Independence Day. 
  • The final stages of the city, however, likely won’t be completed until 2045, marking the nation’s hundredth anniversary.
  • Borneo is a large island in Southeast Asia that is divided among three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.
  • Borneo is the third largest island in the world, after Greenland and New Guinea. 

About Jakarta (the Indonesian Island)

  • Jakarta is the largest city and capital of Indonesia
  • The city lies on the northwest coast of Java at the mouth of the Ciliwung (Liwung River), on Jakarta Bay (an embayment of the Java Sea). 
  • It is coextensive with the metropolitan district of Greater Jakarta (Jakarta Raya).
  • Jakarta is home to about 10 million people and three times that number in the greater metropolitan area.

Problems surrounding the city:

  • Jakarta lies on a low, flat alluvial plain with historically extensive swampy areas.
  • It is easily flooded during the rainy season. 
  • The draining of swamps for building purposes and the continuous decrease of upland forest vegetation have increased the danger of floods. 
  • With such an excess of water in the soil, Jakarta has a shortage of clean drinking water, for which there is increasing demand. 

The area is quite fertile for fruit and other horticulture, as most of the soil is of old volcanic origin.

Why is the government planning to change the capital?

  • Sinking land: Jakarta is congested, polluted, prone to earthquakes, and rapidly sinking into the Java Sea.
    • It has been described as the world’s most rapidly sinking city and it is estimated that one-third of the city could be submerged by 2050. 
  • Causes: The main cause is uncontrolled groundwater extraction, but it has been exacerbated by the rising Java Sea due to climate change.

Issues in shifting the location:

  • local habitat loss: 
  • It has been reported that the new capital region is home to orangutans, leopards, and a wide array of other wildlife, which will be affected by deforestation or any changes in their habitat.
  • Also Forest Watch Indonesia, an Indonesian non-governmental organisation that monitors forestry issues that most of the forested areas in the new capital are “production forests” meaning permits could be granted for forestry and extractive activities that would lead to further deforestation. 

Until now, there has been no certainty regarding the protection status of the remaining natural forests in the new capital city area.

  • Affect livelihood of indigenous communities: 

At least five villages with more than 100 Indigenous Balik people are relocated, with more villages expected to be uprooted to expand the capital region area.

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