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Walhi Slams Jokowi's WWF Summit Speech on Water Infrastructure, Hydro-Diplomacy

Translator

Najla Nur Fauziyah

Editor

Laila Afifa

21 May 2024 19:54 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Indonesian Forum for Living Environment (Walhi) criticized the speech by President Joko Widodo or Jokowi regarding water infrastructure at the 10th Water World Forum Summit. Walhi's Coastal, Marine and Small Islands Campaign Manager, Parid Ridwanuddin, believes that large-scale infrastructure development would not solve the water crisis in Indonesia.

"What was conveyed in the speech is the opposite of what is happening in the field," he told Tempo on Monday, May 20, 2024.

President Jokowi discussed various water infrastructure projects built over the last decade. The president claimed that the government has consistently boosted the principle of solidarity to achieve joint solutions, especially for small island countries and those experiencing water scarcity. He also boasted a concrete and innovative implementation of hydro-diplomacy, a commitment to avoid competition in managing cross-border water resources and strengthening political leadership.

According to Parid, the development of national water infrastructure, such as dams and coastal protection, is not without issues. “In it, there are matters of violence, eviction, as well as destruction of the environment, instead of solving the water crisis problem," he said.

The dam case in Wadas village, Central Java, was used as an example. The project was initially built to irrigate 15,519 hectares of land in Purworejo and Kulonprogo. "However, the development damaged the environment due to andesite mining. There were also detentions of 64 people," he said.

Jokowi's claim regarding calls for increased international solidarity for small island countries was also criticized by Walhi. Parid said small islands are experiencing a water crisis due to nickel mining for the electric car industry. Walhi noted around 218 mining business permits covering 34 small islands in various regions in Indonesia. These mining operations destroyed the quality and quantity of the water used by locals.

When rain comes, the water that flows into people's homes turns brown and muddy. Residents have to pay more for clean water. These ecological disasters occur in small nickel mine-ridden islands in North Maluku and Southeast Sulawesi, among others.

Walhi also questioned the invitation to strengthen hydro-diplomacy. This invitation is aimed at foreign investors to continue investing in the water sector, thereby causing more rampant water privatization in Indonesia. "Jokowi should’ve urged northern countries to evaluate their water business in Indonesia," said Parid.

IRSYAN HASYIM  

Editor’s Choice: WWF in Bali; Elon Musk Says Solar Power Can Solve Global Water Crisis

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