Indonesia names its new capital and approves the change of Jakarta

(CNN) — Indonesia named its new capital Nusantara after lawmakers approved changing Jakarta to Kalimantan, a jungle area east of the island of Borneo.

The new name translates to “archipelago” in the Indonesian language.

Concerns about the sustainability of Jakarta’s congested political center, which is sinking rapidly, led to the need for a new capital. And the country’s House of Representatives officially approved a draft law on the transfer on Tuesday.

“The transfer of the capital to Kalimantan is based on various considerations, regional advantages and welfare. With the vision of the birth of a new economic center of gravity in the middle of the archipelago,” said Suharso Monoarfa, the country’s Minister of National Development Planning, according to Indonesian Parliament television.

The Jakarta problem that spurred change in Indonesia

President Joko Widodo announced in 2019 that the capital would be relocated, citing concerns about Jakarta’s environmental and economic sustainability.

Jakarta sits on marshy land close to the sea — making it especially prone to flooding — and is one of the fastest-sinking cities on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum. The ancient capital has been falling into the Java Sea at an alarming rate due to overexploitation of groundwater.

It is also one of the most overcrowded urban regions in the world. More than 10 million people live there, and it is estimated that in the largest metropolitan area there are 30 million, according to the United Nations.

This Tuesday, the bill to relocate the capital was approved by eight fractions and only one fraction rejected it, according to the president of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Puan Maharani. The Indonesian Parliament is made up of nine groups of political parties known as factions.

Lawmakers have stressed the importance of carefully considering the environmental impact of new development. According to data from the National Agency for Planning and Development, the total area of ​​the new capital will be about 256,143 hectares (about 2,561 square kilometers), almost all of it from forest areas.

This is how they train to rescue stranded mammals 1:11

Five stages of development

Indonesia owns most of Borneo, the world’s third largest island, while Malaysia and Brunei each own a part of its northern region.

Sri Mulyani, Indonesia’s finance minister, told a news conference on Tuesday that there will be five stages of development in the new capital.

The first stage is expected to start in 2022 and run through 2024, with development running through 2045, Monoarfa said.

According to previous estimates, the ambitious project will likely cost some 466 trillion rupees ($32 billion), CNN Indonesia reported.

CNN’s Rob Picheta contributed to this report.

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