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Indonesia names its new capital and agrees to change Jakarta

(CNN) – Indonesia renamed its new capital Nusantara after lawmakers approved changing Jakarta to Kalimantan, a forested region east of Borneo island.

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

Concerns about the sustainability of Jakarta’s crowded political hub, which is rapidly sinking, led to the need for a new capital. The country’s House of Representatives formally approved a transport bill on Tuesday.

“Moving the capital to Kalimantan depends on various considerations, regional advantages and well-being. With the vision of the birth of a new economic center of gravity in the center of the archipelago,” said Suharso Munwarva, the country’s Minister of National Development. Planning according to Indonesian Parliament TV.

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 lies on swampy land near the sea – which makes it particularly vulnerable to flooding – and is one of the fastest sinking cities on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum. The ancient capital is falling into the Java Sea at an alarming rate due to overexploitation of groundwater.

It is also one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world. More than 10 million people live there, and in the largest metropolitan area there are an estimated 30 million, according to the United Nations.

Indonesia’s lower house speaker, Puan Maharani, said the capital relocation bill was approved this Tuesday by eight fractions and rejected by only one. The Indonesian parliament is made up of nine groups of political parties known as factions.

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Lawmakers stressed the importance of carefully considering the environmental impact of the new development. According to the data of 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 which are forest areas.

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

Five stages of development

Indonesia owns most of Borneo, the third largest island in the world, while Malaysia and Brunei each have part of their northern region.

Sri Mulyani, Indonesia’s Finance Minister, said at a press conference on Tuesday that there will be five phases of development in the new capital.

Monwarva said the first phase is expected to start in 2022 and run until 2024, with development continuing until 2045.

According to previous estimates, the ambitious project is likely to cost around 466 trillion rupiah ($32 billion), CNN Indonesia reported.

CNN’s Rob Pechita contributed to this report.

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