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World Economic Forum East Asia in Jakarta, news reports

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These are coverage in English newspaper on our activity during World Economic Forum East Asia in Jakarta


Yuyun Harmono


NGOs: Economic Neo-Liberalism Hurts the People

Fidelis E. Satriastanti | June 15, 2011

A coalition of civil society groups has blasted the commitments made at the World Economic Forum as favoring foreign investors at the expense of local communities.

Dani Setiawan, chairman of the Anti-Debt Coalition, said on Tuesday that the agreement reached by the government and multinational corporations to boost food security would privatize what were essentially the government’s duties.

“This is neo-liberalism, where the state’s responsibilities to provide jobs, eradicate poverty and ensure people’s welfare are being transferred to the private sector,” he said.

“The government is obviously trying to shift its constitutional obligations to corporations. The result will be even more social conflicts because the government can no longer control investment flows.”

Dani added that it was time to return to the spirit of the Constitution by involving the people more of a stake in theeconomy. “Give them what they need.”

“For instance, give farmers more land to work on, don’t sell it all to corporations. Give more space for community cooperatives, don’t push for the domination of the private sector.”

The WEF on East Asia, held on Sunday and Monday in Jakarta, resulted in several commitments to boost investment inthe country in a bid to shore up food security.

They included agreements to work with 14 multinational companies, including consumer goods giants Nestle and Unilever, as well as palm oil and pulp and paper behemoth Sinarmas.

The commitments are targeted to increase food production by 20 percent, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent and slash poverty by 20 percent, dubbed the 20-20-20 program.

Dani conceded that although more jobs would be created as a result of increased foreign investment in the country, thesubsequent contribution to national economic development was still highly questionable.

“There will never be a middle ground between environmental stewardship, community welfare and corporate interests in Indonesia,” he said.

“The system is wrong because it is based on economic growth through natural resources extraction, which will lead to nothing but ecological disasters and social injustice.”

Berry Nahdian Furqon, executive director of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), said the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had overseen a failed economic system that was heavily dependent on theextractive industries, which he blamed for a host of ecological disasters.

“Now they’re trying to answer the food security issue with the same formula — through corporations — even though theforest destruction we are seeing now is also the result of corporations,” Berry said.

He also argued there was no clarity on how the 20-20-20 program would actually work while achieving its targets. “What we need is management for natural resources production, because we’re already the largest producer of palm oil and thesecond-largest of producer of coal.”

“We need better management of current production because the people themselves are still not benefiting from theseeconomic activities.”


NGOs oppose more foreign investmentNani Afrida, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 06/14/2011 4:48 PM

Three prominent civil society groups opposed the recent World Economic Forum on East Asia today, saying it would bring more irresponsible foreign investment to Indonesia.

Dani Setiawan, the head of Anti-Debt Coalition, said that despite bringing money into Indonesia and creating more jobs, foreign investment would only provide limited benefits and yield long-lasting negative impacts such as the exploitation of natural resources and environmental disaster.

“The government is supposed to limit foreign investment in Indonesia, not open the opportunity widely, because it will harm local people,” Dani said.

Berry Furwan, the head of the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), said the government has yet to acquire thenecessary mechanisms to address potential damage to the environment from the expansion of big foreign investment.

“The government just applies old mechanisms to address environmental damage and food crises,” he said.

A speaker for the Indonesian Farmers’ Union (SPI), Hendry Siahaan, said opening strategic natural resources to foreign investment is a direct violation of the constitution.

“The 1945 Constitution’s Article 33 says that the earth and water and natural resources contained therein shall be controlled by the state and used as much as possible for the prosperity of the people,” Henry said.

The World Economic Forum on East Asia was held in Jakarta from June 12 to 13 and attended by about 600 participants from all over the world.

On Monday, the government announced at the WEF more than US$20 billion in foreign direct investment from top global firms.

The first WEF on East Asia conducted in Indonesia has put the country under the spotlight for investment opportunities involving several bilateral meetings with major businesses from the United States, Europe and South Korea, including Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Chevron, Unilever, Metro AG, Nestle as well as India’s GVK and GMR.

06/15/2011 – 12:00


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