Jakarta Bay Reclamation in the Giant Sea Wall Project: Necessity or Opportunity?

Jakarta Giant Sea Wall Project, officially named as National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) includes a 1250 ha land reclamation in form of 17 islands at Jakarta Bay. Located at the north coast of Jakarta, the area is locally known as “Pantura”. The Giant Sea Wall Project actually does not have to include land reclamation, as the 32 km offshore sea wall performs the main duty to achieve the objective of the project, which is to alleviate the flooding problem in Jakarta by protecting it from the rising sea level.[1]

However, only building the sea wall is not such an attractive solution to the investors, thus the government may need to fund most of the project. Additional infrastructures such as the reclaimed islands and toll-road were incorporated in synergy as means to attract funding from developers, while also creating new land expansion that can solve Jakarta’s land scarcity issue and have the potential to grow as a new Central Business District (CBD).[2] Despite reclamation not being the main infrastructure of NCICD, it has garnered public attention as it is perhaps the most controversial part of the project – not only within the ecological realm but also within the socio-political discourse.[3] The debate on Jakarta Bay Reclamation is not new, dating back to 1995 when it is first materialized in the 1995 Presidential’s Decree. Since then, numerous land reclamation plans in Jakarta Bay have been produced and canceled back and forth, none of which have been completely carried out as of 2020.[4]

The issue of Jakarta Bay reclamation is a complex one, as it involves multiple stakeholders with different interests. Although studies on both the environmental and social impact have been carried out,[5] interpretation of the data still varies greatly according to different interests,[6] resulting in a lack of consensus even amongst the policymakers themselves.[7] The lack of representation of the fishermen as the most affected community is also apparent throughout the studies and the decision-making process, as voiced through the protests by the fishermen and activists.[8]

Jakarta Bay Reclamation does have a lot of potential for urban development, as the objective set forward in 1995 by President Soeharto and Jakarta Governor Wiyogo Atmodarminto, followed by Governor Fauzi Bowo in 2012, and at last by Jokowi and Ahok in their 2012-17 administrative period.[9] The accrued revenue from the project would add to the city’s reserve, potentially funding other civic projects.[10] From this perspective, we could see reclamation to foster urban and economical development. Yet, other political actors such as the current governor Anies Baswedan viewed reclamation as projects to benefit the rich.[11] Interestingly, perhaps as a response to the numerous environmental and social concerns, reclamation starts to be framed as a solution for Jakarta’s flooding problem, beginning from its integration into NCICD and then currently as part of Jakarta Emergency Dredging Initiative (JEDI).[12] Yet, looking into it in detail, reclamation is not exactly the solution to the problem, but more often included as part of the project to add potential development value. The following linked narratives will mainly look through the policies governing the Jakarta Bay Reclamation, focusing on understanding the political nuances and the effect of the varying stances of the policymakers towards the progress of a large-scale development project.

Links to next narratives

Links to Historical Documents


[1] Thanti Octavianti and Katrina Charles, “Disaster capitalism? Examining the politicisation of land subsidence crisis in pushing Jakarta’s seawall megaproject,” Water Alternatives 11, no. 2 (2018), 395; The Ministry of Public Works, “ATLAS Strategi Pengamanan Pantai Jakarta,” [“ATLAS Jakarta Coastal Defence Strategy (JCDS),”] 2011;  Eka Permanasari, “Jakarta Revitalization Project,” presentation slides, presented for PT Pembangunan Jaya, February 2012, accessed November 15, 2020 from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324560043_Jakarta_Revitalization_Project

[2] Octavianti, “Disaster Capitalism?”; The Ministry of Public Works, “ATLAS JCDS.”

[3] Octavianti, “Disaster Capitalism?”

[4] KOMPASTV, “Anies Terbitkan Izin Reklamasi Ancol, Ini Kata Pengamat!” [“Anies Issued Reclamation Permit for Ancol, This is the Observer’s Reaction!”] Youtube Video, 14:39, July 1, 2020. Retrieved December 13, 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKVHG7DnK4w; timeline

[5] The Ministry of Public Works, “ATLAS JCDS,”; PT. Pembangunan Jaya Ancol, Tbk., “Analisis Dampak Lingkungan (ANDAL): Reklamasi Pulau K,” [“Environmental Impact Assessment: Reclamation of K Island,”] June 2015.

[6] Elok Faiqotul Mutia and Donna Asteria, “Jakarta Bay reclamation policy: an analysis of political ecology,” E3S Web of Conference 52, no. 00014 (2018), 1-7, https://doi.org/10.1051/e3sconf/20185200014

[7] Elok Faiqotul Mutia, Herdis Herdiansyah, and Joko Tri Haryanto, “Conflic of Jakarta Bay Reclamaton: Government Knowledge and Respond,” Journal of Physics: Conference Series 1363 (2019), 1-6, https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1363/1/012099

[8] DPRD Provinsi DKI Jakarta, “Nelayan Muara Angke Tolak Reklamasi,” [“Muara Angke Fishermen Opposes Reclamation,”], DPRD Provinsi DKI Jakarta: Galery Dewan, March 1, 2016, accessed December 13, 2020 from https://dprd-dkijakartaprov.go.id/nelayan-muara-angke-tolak-reklamasi/; Nursita Sari, “Reklamasi itu Secara Enggak Langsung Mengusir Nelayan…” [“Reclamation Would Indirectly Evicts the Fishermen…”] Kompas.com, May 7, 2017, retrieved December 13, 2020 from https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2017/05/07/19205601/.reklamasi.itu.secara.enggak.langsung.mengusir.nelayan.

[9] M Puteri Rosalina, “Jalan Panjang Reklamasi di Teluk Jakarta, dari era Soeharto sampai Ahok,” [“The Long Journey of Jakarta Bay Reclamation, from the era of Soeharto to Ahok,”], Kompas.com, April 4, 2016, retrieved December 16, 2020 from https://megapolitan.kompas.com/read/2016/04/04/10050401/Jalan.Panjang.Reklamasi.di.Teluk.Jakarta.dari.era.Soeharto.sampai.Ahok?page=all. Article originally published in print in Kompas, 11 November 2015, with the title “Dilema Reklamasi Pantai Jakarta.” [“The Dillema of Jakarta Bay Reclamation,”]. Author M Puteri Rosalina is representing Litbang Kompas [Kompas Research and Development]; Helmi Shelmi, “Mengenal 11 Hal Tentang Reklamasi Jakarta, dari Soeharto Sampai Anies,” [“11 Things to Know About Jakarta’s Reclamation, from Soeharto to Anies,”] IDNTimes, January 11, 2018, retrieved from https://www.idntimes.com/news/indonesia/helmi/mengenal-11-hal-reklamasi-jakarta-dari-soeharto-sampai-anies-1/11

[10] Metrotvnews. “Ahok vs Anies Debat Soal Reklamasi” [“Ahok vs Anies Debate Regarding Reclamation Policy”] Youtube Video, 6:02. April 12, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2020 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOtUIoV-FDU

[11] Ibid.

[12] The Ministry of Public Works, “ATLAS JCDS,”; Keputusan Gubernur [Governor Decree] No. 237, “IZIN PELAKSANAAN PERLUASAN KAWASAN REKREASI DUNIA FANTASI (DUFAN) SELUAS ± 35 HA (LEBIH KURANG TIGA PULUH LIMA HEKTAR) DAN KAWASAN REKREASI TAMAN IMPIAN ANCOL TIMUR SELUAS ± 120 HA (LEBIH KURANG SERATUS DUA PULUH HEKTAR)” [“Execution Permit for Expansion of Dunia Fantasi (DUFAN) Recreational Area ± 35 HA and Taman Impian Ancol Timur Recreational Area ± 120 HA”] (2020), Jakarta, Indonesia, retrieved November 15, 2020 from https://jdih.jakarta.go.id/uploads/default/produkhukum/KEPGUB_NO._237_TAHUN_2020.pdf



6 Comments on “Jakarta Bay Reclamation in the Giant Sea Wall Project: Necessity or Opportunity?

  1. I wonder why it takes almost a decade for the government to this project. It sees like the past 3 governors of Jakarta seem to agree, but just the current one does not? Or were there other power structures that inhibits the reclamation project?

  2. I wonder why it takes almost a decade for the government to realize this project. It sees like the past 3 governors of Jakarta seem to agree, but just the current one does not? Or were there other power structures that inhibits the reclamation project?

  3. Even though the project might yield great benefit to the city, alleviating the flooding problem, the construction of the giant wall will also have a great environmental impact on the sea. I think it would be interesting to see more explanation on the potential effects without considering the political issues.

    • Yes! Your observation is very well pointed out. The environmental impacts are actually one of the causes for division in stances within the government, whether they prioritized the environment or not. I guess what I would like to discuss in this section is despite the environmental reports, the final say of the project still depends on the political power. The more thorough environmental impact is actually discussed by Jason in his blog posts, so you can give his posts a visit!

  4. From the comments, it is wonderful to sense an interest in the political undercurrents of this infrastructure project. Indeed, who are the political actors of this project? Your posts are predominantly accompanied by master plans and maps, suggesting that these technical plans, maps, policies and decrees are the instruments of the government and technocratic participants. What would be the instruments used by activists, environmentalists, or the observer cited in the YouTube video above?

    It is apparent that you have worked through numerous local language sources. Would it be powerful to reveal the platforms used by these sources, and show the headlines in the Indonesian language (as an original, then translated into English). Then, actively compare these platforms, whether they are research articles, government reports, NGO reports, environmentalist findings, news media reports, and so on. Would the different platforms or media forms shed light on their respective roles in this debate? For example, it is common to see state news media reinforce the government’s position, and an opposition media serve as a watchdog against government actions that may be unfair or unwise.

    • Thank you for your insightful comment, Koon. Indeed, looking from the comments, despite my first intention to unravel the complexity from the government level first, giving an overview from other stakeholders will definitely help to understand the government stance even more. I was looking into more neutral media to see different voices without much bias (I might have a biased opinion before but I am trying see from a neutral ground). What I find interesting about this project is due to the government having different opinions amongst themselves, the state media approaches announcements more in reporting style – e.g. “Meeting will be carried out in January 2021”, “Fishermen protest outside office.” and for the ones supporting the executive government, generally the platform would directly quote the governor’s statement and rarely additional supporting research for the 2020 case. I am working on adding clarity to the final stages of the draft, so hopefully it would be an interesting read for everyone later on. Thank you!

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