Indonesia’s Future Capital Aspires to Be Carbon Neutral by 2045

A model of Nusantara, Indonesia's future capital.
Nusantara’s plan to achieve a carbon-neutral, resource-efficient, and livable city will contribute to Indonesia’s target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2060. Photo courtesy of Indonesia's Ministry of Public Works and Housing

Indonesia wants its future national capital, Nusantara, to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. It plans to build a low-carbon city that uses 100% renewable energy and with energy-efficient public buildings.

At the recent COP27 climate talks in Egypt, the Indonesian government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that a scoping study will be conducted to help Nusantara to identify, track, neutralize, and reduce carbon emissions. This will lay the groundwork for a comprehensive set of regionally and locally determined contributions for the new capital, the first of its kind at the subnational level in the country. A voluntary local review to analyze the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will also be conducted.

ADB will provide technical assistance in the form of a study, which will be financed by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The study is expected to be finalized by June 2023.

“This study is another step toward our goal of making Nusantara the world’s first sustainable forest national capital and the first carbon-neutral city in Indonesia by 2045,” said Nusantara National Capital Authority Chairman Bambang Susantono.

Indonesia has committed to reaching net-zero by 2060. Regionally and locally determined contributions, which are commitments made by subnational governments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, are integral to achieving national climate commitments.

“Active participation of subnational governments, which are at the forefront of national policy implementation, will be critical for countries to achieve their commitments under the Paris Agreement,” said ADB Vice-President for East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Ahmed M. Saeed. “ADB is pleased to help the Nusantara National Capital Authority in taking decisive action in the battle against climate change.”

The study will identify key activities to help Nusantara meet its net-zero commitment, including protecting and restoring the future capital’s land and forested areas. The authority will also prioritize the rehabilitation and protection of areas with significant conservation value, such as wildlife and biodiversity corridors, and water catchment zones. For its urban area, Nusantara’s development will prioritize low-carbon materials for construction, maximizing energy coming from renewable sources, and access to public transportation.

The Nusantara National Capital Authority was established in March 2022 and is a ministerial-level agency that reports directly to the Indonesian President. The authority is in charge of planning and constructing the new capital, and responsible for overseeing the government’s transition to the new city and eventually becoming its manager.

Indonesia is moving its national capital to East Kalimantan to bring it closer to the geographic center of the archipelago to spur development in remote and less developed areas. In the past, infrastructure projects were concentrated on Java and Sumatra.

The new location puts the administrative center of Southeast Asia’s largest economy right in the middle of BIMP-EAGA where it could help drive the subregion’s development and growth.

This article was first published by BIMP-EAGA on 15 November 2022.