[Joint Press Release] “Initiating the Vision of Democracy and the Environment of Indonesia”

Jakarta, August 5, 2019. Civil society groups that were present at the Symposium of Initiating the Vision of Democracy and Environment, criticised the Vision of Indonesia by the elected President Joko Widodo some time ago. This vision highlights many issues of infrastructure development, investment and bureaucratic reform which are also directed to facilitate investment. But regrettably in this vision there are no environmental considerations at all. Ignorance of environmental and natural resource issues are feared to continue in future policies if not addressed immediately.


The symposium began with a Public Discussion that presented 4 (four) speakers, namely: Laode M. Syarif (Vice Chairperson of the KPK), Prof. Hariadi Kartodihardjo (Forestry Policy Expert), Mas Achmad Santosa (Coordinator of Special Task Force for Eradicating Illegal Fishing), and Yuyun Ismawati (Senior Advisor of Nexus 3). The speakers conveyed criticism and input about the importance of raising the issue of the environment and natural resources so that President Jokowi’s policies in the 2019-2024 government period still care about the environmental protection and natural resources.


“Investment should not be faced with law enforcement,” explained Laode M. Syarif, Vice Chairperson of KPK who was invited as a guest speaker at the Symposium. “Investors like law certainty the most. If the obligations and restrictions are clear, good investors will inevitably be obedient. Precisely ignorant and naughty investors who should not be allowed to invest in Indonesia. We need investment but only the responsible ones,” he continued.

Syarif added that the lack of environmental vision in Jokowi’s speech could be because it was not a state speech, but only a victory speech. It is necessary to ensure that the technical support teams from ministries and agencies deliver the right input to him in the state speech later. In line with Laode M. Syarief, Prof. Hariadi Kartodiharjo forest policy expert added, “Civil society needs to ensure that environmental and natural resource issues are conveyed in the state speech on the 16th August 2019.”


“Development must pay attention to public interests and environmental quality. Some data show areas that are high in natural resources and high in investment, but the welfare of the community has not improved. Poverty actually increases while the quality of the environment decreases.” Prof. Hariadi added.


Meanwhile, Mas Achmad Santosa emphasised, “It is indeed too early for us to only base it on President Jokowi’s Vision Indonesia speech. But civil society must continue to guard so that environmental issues and natural resources are included in Jokowi’s policies. There are 3 (three) main jobs that need to be guarded, namely related to the rule of law, protection of ecosystems and natural resources, and the sea as the future of the nation. If there is no pressure from the public (civil society), this issue could be lost in future considerations.”


“I am certain that the Jokowi Government will not disregard the economic potential of our seas, where Indonesia has the second longest coastline in the world, with abundant natural marine resources, productive coast lines, and potential transportation routes,” added Mas Achmad Santosa again.


Another speaker, Yuyun Ismawati, Senior Advisor of Nexus 3, explained, “The government’s priority for investment and encouraging domestic infrastructure is often done with a shortcut mechanism. For example, when President Jokowi sees waste as a problem, the solution is an incinerator. Even though incinerator raises its own environmental problems.”


Another example of a policy considered to be problematic is related to the import of plastic waste. “At present there are about 65 million tons of plastic waste annually, but we are still importing around 300 thousand tons of waste. The reasons are because there are market and industry needs. In fact, what is needed is synchronisation of information where employers can utilise resources and sources of raw materials so that they can use up domestic resources. There needs to be coordination that is well translated by ministries/agencies so that the policies produced are not misleading,” Yuyun added.


The symposium was organised by the Indonesian Center for Environmental Law (ICEL) with the Friends of the Earth Indonesia (WALHI), the Association for Community-Based and Ecological Law Reform (HuMa), Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI), Publish What You Pay (PYWP), Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), and the Code Initiative also asked President Jokowi to Reaffirm Vision of Democracy and the Environment with the following points.


  1. Completing the agenda for recognition of land rights, access to management and living space for the community to natural resources that have been imbalance.
  2. Ensure transparency, accountability, and consistency of regulations in natural resource management policies that favour the people and protect the environment.
  3. Strengthening natural resource planning and utilisation instruments that pay attention to carrying capacity of the environment through a decentralised approach, access redistribution, and ecoregion-based development that is sensitive to disaster risk.
  4. Carry out law enforcement indiscriminately in a firm and integrated manner to protect the people and the state from losses from acts of exploitation of irresponsible natural resources.
  5. Ensure remedial action for any pollution and damage by emphasising accountability to perpetrators of environmental crimes.
  6. Build public awareness of the importance of early environmental protection and disaster.


To implement the 6 (six) Agendas above, 2 strategies must be carried out, namely (1) institutional improvement, not only for bureaucratic reform to simply facilitate investment, but the protection of natural resources which has so far been coloured by various conflict of interest issues, which are vulnerable to corruption practices in the natural resources sector. (2) creating strong, clean, and responsible leadership in the 2019-2024 cabinet and public service institutions related to natural resources.


Contact person


  1. Henri Subagiyo (Director of ICEL), 0815 8574 1001
  2. Maryati A (Director of PWYP), 0821 2523 8247
  3. Edo Rahman (Walhi), 0813 5620-8763


Institutions that were present at the Symposium Initiating the Vision of Democracy and the Environment of Indonesia:


ICEL, Walhi, PYWP, FWI, HuMA, ICW, the Code Initiative, Nexus 3, Coaction Indonesia, KPA, KPBB, RMI, Jikalahari, WWF, CRPG, Madani, Earth Hour Community, Ecoton, Pili Green Network, GIDKP/AZWI, FKKM, Walhi Jakarta, Kehati, WWF, TI Indonesia, Pattiro, KNTI, Salam Institute