Indonesia

Indonesia has great natural wealth but many of its citizens live in extreme poverty. Democratic progress has been made since the resigation of former president Suharto in 1998, but many civil society organisations feel that far too little progress has been made towards sustainable management of the country's resources, and ensuring that Indonesia's diverse communities have a real say in decisions which affect their future.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

The Wahid government's emphasis on foreign investment prioritises the needs of multinational companies over sustainable, community based natural resource management

Soon after taking office, President Wahid pledged his commitment to foreign companies and declared his new government investor-friendly.

Down to Earth No. 46, August 2000

The response to regional autonomy by Indonesia's main creditors has been mixed. While they officially acknowledge the need for decentralisation and greater decision-making powers at regional level they also express doubts about the capacity of Indonesia to implement regional autonomy in a way that will avoid economic chaos.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

New laws on regional autonomy and financial control were passed by the Habibie government in 1999. Now, Indonesia is waiting for the regulations which will determine how the laws are to be applied. Implementation is planned for January 2001. But many questions remain about how far the Jakarta government will permit decentralisation to go and how much control it will really relinquish.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Opposition is mounting to large-scale mining in Indonesia as communities speak out about its effects on their lives and the environment, but foreign companies are warning the Wahid government not to change the contracts they signed during the Suharto regime.

Indonesia's foreign-dominated mining industry is on the defensive.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Coastal communities are being impoverished by large-scale illegal fishing operations; the country's coral reefs are badly damaged and its mangroves are rapidly disappearing. Indonesia's coastal resources are facing a grave crisis. The question now is whether the government of President Wahid has the political commitment to stop the devastation.

Down to Earth No. 45, May 2000

Indigenous communities whose forests have been plundered by logging companies are demanding compensation for the damage. Deprived of the protection they enjoyed under former President Suharto, the companies are having to take them seriously.

Down to Earth No. 44, February 2000

Companies which have profited from Indonesia's iron-fisted rule in West Papua, may be starting to feel jittery as calls for independence grow more insistent.

On December 1st last year celebrations took place in towns all over West Papua to mark the 38th anniversary of independence, declared when the territory was still under Dutch rule.