Photo: Marthin Hadiwinata

‘There are many alternatives for Jakarta’s coastal defence,’ said an Indonesian government representative today in Jakarta in response to the report ‘Social Justice at Bay. The Dutch role in Jakarta’s coastal defence and land reclamation’.

The report – written by SOMO, TNI and Both Ends – criticises the plan of the Dutch government and Dutch companies to build a giant dike in Jakarta Bay. The plan would have a significant impact on people employed in local fisheries. The closure of the bay, according to Indonesian NGOs, threatens the livelihood of tens of thousands of people.

The organisations, united in the ‘Save the Jakarta Bay Coalition’, presented the SOMO, TNI and Both Ends report this Friday in Jakarta. A representative of the Indonesian state planning agency Bappenas commented that alternatives to the Dutch plan for this ‘Giant Sea Wall’ were being considered. He said water management in Jakarta should be improved.

Many people in the Indonesian capital are not connected to the water supply. Therefore, they pump up their own groundwater, causing Jakarta to sink further below sea level and making the city very vulnerable to floods. According to SOMO, Both Ends and TNI, the Dutch plan for a sea wall is not the right solution: it will not solve the problem of the sinking city.