POWERING INDONESIA'S RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Hong Kong & West Java, Indonesia | October 13-26, 2013

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In October 2013, GIFT travelled to West Java in Indonesia to conduct a project focused on improving access to hydropower in some of Indonesia's remote areas. Young leaders from Europe and Asia traveled to the region to provide recommendations for IBEKA, an NGO attempting to build micro-hydropower projects for rural Indonesian villages, and ultimately pass ownership over to local communities.

Participants recommended that a new company which would engage local communities in new projects, offering a scheme to eventually have 100% community ownership. Finally, participants recommended that communities be rewarded for sustainable resource management through preferential rates by the state power company. 


WEST JAVA, INDONESIA

 

West Java (Java Barat) is the most populous province in Indonesia. As the native homeland of the Sudanese people and enclaves of other ethnicities, West Java has been shaped by rich and vibrant traditions and cultural heritage.

Today West Java is a very popular domestic vacation destination and the regional tourist trade benefits from stunning mountain ranges, steaming volcanoes, sweeping coastlines, and lush tropical rainforests. Rice cultivation, which contributes up to 17% of national paddy production, and oil palm plantations dominate much of the rural landscape. The northern part of the province has been developed into a major industrial area and plays a key supporting role to the nation’s economic and political capital Jakarta.

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West Java’s GDP per capita ranked 14th among 33 provinces in 2011 and ongoing urbanisation means the 79% of West Javans living in rural areas (2010 statistics) continues to decline
 

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Indonesia’s economic growth is expected to drive a 7% - 9% annual increase in demand for electricity. The government has set a target of 95% electrification by 2025. Many electricity generation facilities are out-dated and inefficient, operating at an average 66% capacity.

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Mount Halimun Salak National Park, a 400 km2 conservation area in West Java, is home to the largest tract of true rain forest now remaining on Java as well as the renowned Kasepuhan Kingdom – a Sundanese community who have inhabited the area for over 700 years.

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Blackouts are commonplace - in efforts to meet demand the state power company, PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) implements frequent rolling blackouts on the islands of Java and Bali.
 


GUEST SPEAKERS

RONNIE CHAN
Chairman, Hang Lung Group

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RAVI CHIDAMBARAM
Co-Founder and President, TC Capital

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THOMAS ABRAHAM
Director of Public Health Media Project, the University of Hong Kong
 

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GRAHAM BARKUS
Head of Organisation Development and Change, Cathay Pacific
 


ON THE GROUND IN WEST JAVA

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Massive reservoirs and the infrastructure, such as dams, roads and transmission lines that accompany large-scale hydropower schemes are very controversial. Critics believe the generating capacity is not worth the disruption to local communities and destruction of surrounding ecosystems. Smaller, decentralised and often locally managed and maintained hydropower projects provide developing nations a more sustainable and efficient means to boost electrification and improve livelihoods without high ecological, social or financial costs.

Rather than geography and available natural resources, IBEKA's most important criteria for selecting the site of a new MHP project is the willingness and ability of a community to reach a consensus and take concrete actions regarding their collective socio-economic development.

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IBEKA (Institut Bisnis dan Ekonomi Kerakyatan: People Centered Business and Economic Institute) is an award-winning not-for-profit organisation improving rural development in Indonesia by promoting electrification through community-based micro hydropower schemes.


WORKING TOWARDS A SOLUTION

The GLP uses real-world field projects as a learning platform for participants to develop and hone the practical skills needed to manage diverse teams in unfamiliar situations. Through meetings with government, local communities and business leaders, and through frank and open discussions, participants learn to navigate conflicting and contradictory views to transform concepts and theories into realities and practical solutions on the ground.

Participants recommended the creation of a new company Nusaterang that would draw on the experience of IBEKA. The company would provide local communities an ownership from day one, and a path to full local community ownership will be provided. 

One innovative proposal was that local communities would be incentivised to sustainable manage resources and the surrounidng environment through preferential rates by the state power company. If communities achieved certain standards, the state power company would buy excess power at above-market rates.

Below are a few slides from the recommendations developed by participants.

The 2013 Indonesia Global Leaders Programme culminated in a public forum in Jakarta, to an audience of government officials, local community leaders, representatives of civil society, and students.


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For more information about the 2013 Indonesia Global Leaders Programme, other projects held in Indonesia, and future projects held by the Global Institute For Tomorrow, please write to us at enquiry@global-inst.com