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Nusantara Is Not Built in a Day: Indonesia’s New Capital and Opportunities for Russian Investments

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Image source: Office of the President of Indonesia

In 2019, Indonesian President Joko Widodo officially approved the province of East Kalimantan as the construction site of Indonesia’s new capital, Nusantara, to be located in a resort area rich in natural resources, between the island’s two largest cities, Balikpapan and Samarinda. The name Nusantara is common in Indonesian culture, designating the historical territory of the Majapahit Empire that exercised control over a large part of the Malay Archipelago in the 14th to 15th centuries. It is also a common self-designation for Indonesia as well as the name of the region inhabited by peoples of the Austronesian language family. The chosen name for the new capital may well be seen as a bid for Indonesia’s comeback to leading positions in the region, signaling the country’s aspiration for a higher profile in global affairs.

The plan calls for building the capital from the ground up, the cost of construction varying between USD 33 to 35 billion. Moreover, Joko Widodo supports the idea of erecting an eco- friendly “green” and sustainably “smart” city with zero emissions and convenient infrastructure, with 20% of construction outlay to be covered by the state budget, with the rest 80% coming in on the part of foreign investors.

The question of the capital relocation has been raised since 2017, though such plans had existed before, under Presidents Soekarno and Soeharto. The need to relocate the capital is precipitated by Jakarta’s overpopulation, infrastructure and environmental plight of that megacity, as well as the desire for a balanced socio-economic development of the country’s western and eastern regions. The political aspect, too, plays an important role here, since the Javanese elites have greatly influenced the political and economic life of the Indonesian people throughout most of Indonesia’s history, and Java remains both the most populous and economically developed region. Arguably, moving the capital to Kalimantan would help to overcome this imbalance.

For Indonesia’s president, this is a flagship project in terms of domestic policy and the country’s foreign policy image. Since his re-election in 2019, Jokowi has consistently promoted the idea of a technological revolution in Indonesia, encouraging opportunities for Industry 4.0, attracting investment from major global companies such as Toyota Motors, Tesla, SpaceX, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, TSMC, and others. Much attention is paid to joint ventures and the development of Indonesian national giants as well as MNCs in various fields.

In the wake of the July 2021 health crisis, Jokowi was criticized for the unrealistic nature of such a grand-scale project, but now we can see the political will to put it back on the agenda, which is crucial in terms of what “ideological” foundation is going to shape the social and political identity of Indonesians in the run-up to the 2024 elections. On February 15, 2022, the State Capital Law came into force, which stripped Jakarta of its status as the capital city, triggering the transfer of government agencies to the new capital, Nusantara.

The idea of Indonesia’s greatness as a global and regional actor, the bold relocation of the capital to Kalimantan, despite the pandemic’s economic repercussions and global challenges, definitely looks like a demonstration of stability within the state.

The new capital comes out as an “ideological” expression of the president’s anticipations and hopes for progress and a hi-tech future for his country. Nusantara is expected to resemble Washington, D.C., Putrajaya, or Metro Manila, that is, to be precisely a concentration of small government buildings, administrative, diplomatic, and residential quarters without heavy urbanization. At the same time, the pursuit of its “smartization” and sustainability reflects Indonesia’s new role as a leader in Southeast Asia’s “green” transition. The presidential palace in Nusantara is scheduled to be completed in 2024 and is designed as the centerpiece of further urban development. The government also hopes that a total of more than 4.8 million jobs will have been created in Nusantara by 2045, the centennial of Indonesian independence, in sectors such as technology, petrochemicals and renewable energy. The city’s infrastructure will supposedly be completed by that time, so that officials will be able to move there with their families.

To govern Nusantara, the Capital City Authority (Otorita Ibu Kota Negara Nusantara) with “hybrid” powers, combining the functions of a government agency and territorial authorities, was established in accordance with a special act passed on January 18, 2022. It is spearheaded by Bambang Susantono, Indonesia’s Vice-Minister of Transportation (2009-2014), while architect and businessman Doni Rahayu, one of the capital relocation program developers, was appointed as his aide.

The ambitious nature of this project notwithstanding, it largely hinges upon foreign investment, search of partners and translating all investment commitments into reality. Joko Widodo’s presidential term ends in 2024, which makes the implementation of his key domestic political plan the first order of business. Thus, among the priorities of Indonesia’s economic “post-Covid” diplomacy, the search for partners to build the capital is particularly prominent. Following the tradition of Indonesian diplomacy, all co-investors and stakeholders are treated on an equal footing.

Who is already on board?

Important political and economic partners of Jakarta—such as Australia, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., South Korea and Japan—have all expressed their interest in developing Nusantara. In 2022, Joko Widodo, among other things, relied on the G20 and B20 platform to promote the capital project among potential investors. In early 2023, Head of the Nusantara Capital City Authority Bambang Susantono, spoke at the WEF in Davos, where he also dwelled on the large-scale construction of residential quarters for civil servants, who will gradually be relocated to the new place.

Nevertheless, the situation with luring foreign investment is still unpredictable. For example, in March 2022, the Japanese investment conglomerate SoftBank exited the project. Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development also refused to participate in the construction of the new capital city, although it was originally assumed that it is the Japanese smart city and transport management systems that will be used in the architecture of this city to raise the level of its automation through the Internet of Things.

The UAE remains a key partner, with a fund of more than USD 10 billion to develop bilateral cooperation. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, national president and ruler of Abu Dhabi, also joined the steering committee for the construction of the capital city, along with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

On the South Korean side, Hyundai Motor Group, as well as the Land and Housing Corporation of South Korea, also signed memoranda of understanding with the Nusantara Capital City Authority. Australia, for its part, has offered technical expertise for planning the new capital.

Major players such as China and the United States are also involved, but their participation has not been active so far. Thus, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) remains one of the main operators of American investments in Nusantara, collaborating with the Capital City Authority to promote the implementation of smart and green technologies in urban development.

Chinese investment has largely been concentrated elsewhere in Indonesia rather than in Kalimantan—namely, in mining, oil, metallurgy and nickel industries. China has invested in a cement plant in East Kalimantan and has expressed interest in supporting the construction of an Indonesian industrial park in North Kalimantan. The state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation is also interested in developing Nusantara’s transportation system, but Chinese investors have not tried things out so far, partly due to the lack of a clear development plan for the new capital, which is in the process of being drafted.

The only potentially major project with Chinese participation is a housing construction project in Nusantara, more than USD 2.7 billion worth, on the part of the Chinese construction company CCFG-RBN. The Capital City Authority is also considering South Korean firm Korea Land and Housing Corp. as a contractor, much as the bids from local developer PT Summarecon Agung.

Chinese participation in this kind of initiatives has been widely politicized, including out of fears of disproportionate Chinese presence in Kalimantan’s resource development and in the development of the new capital city, which some political factions believe might threaten the national economic security and jobs for Indonesian citizens.

Among the nations of Southeast Asia, Malaysia has expressed keen interest. During a two-day visit, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim agreed with President Joko Widodo to joint cooperation in the development of the future capital and the island of Kalimantan at large, as the island is home to the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Among the potential investors is Taiwanese MNC Foxconn, which the Indonesian side has attracted to develop renewable energy technology solutions.

What will potential investors gain?

Despite the interest of many powers in the development of Nusantara, no specific commitments have yet been assumed by the parties. On the one hand, this opens up great opportunities for developing cooperation, but on the other hand, it signals potential partners may leave if there’s dragging on with working out solutions “on the ground”.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian government is not standing still, finalizing a regulation that offers a number of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for foreign investors in Nusantara, including 30-year tax remissions for investments in utilities and infrastructure, tax deductions for research and scientific development in Nusantara, and 20-year tax benefits for investments in tourism, conference halls, exhibition centers and hotels in the new capital. Non-fiscal support measures include facilitating the import and export of materials, simplified procedures for obtaining business licenses, availability of land for real estate development.

Can Russia participate?

On January 5, 2023, Indonesian Ambassador to Russia Jose Antonio Morato Tavares officially announced in an interview to RIA Novosti that Indonesia invites investors from Russia to participate in the construction of the new capital Nusantara on the island of Kalimantan. This position reflects the Indonesian side’s interest in Russian companies to be involved in the project. Earlier, in the summer of 2022, the Russian ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Vorobyeva, also informed that Russia was invited to join the capital relocation project.

In the midst of Western sanctions and the touted “pivot to the East,” Russia’s participation in the construction of Indonesia’s new capital seems more than beneficial from political and economic perspectives, since Russian companies, including large state corporations, can gain access to a long-term construction program that will most certainly enjoy the support of a friendly state. The principles of public-private partnership in Indonesia are quite similar to Russian cases, where the interests of national corporations are promoted, including with the support of government agencies.

In case of political agreement and mutual negotiations between the relevant ministries and authorities on both sides, Russian companies will be able to fill the existing niche. Of course, to support such agreements, not only diplomats, but also experts and representatives of civil society will have to be actively involved.

In Indonesia, there is quite a lot of interest in Moscow’s experience of building transport and smart urban infrastructure. Here, there is an opportunity for negotiations between the Nusantara Capital City Authority and the Government of Moscow. Prospects are obvious for the state corporations such as Rosatom, Rostec and Roscosmos, as plans for the construction of a green and smart city include the technology to control the transport infrastructure, Internet of Things, space technology, the construction and power supply systems of the capital city or future economic zones around it. Given that Japanese investment companies have withdrawn from the project, Russia can fill the resulting vacuum.

Notably, the state Russian Railways company has already signed a number of agreements with the Indonesian side. For example, in 2018, the Russian and Indonesian transport ministries agreed to prepare a roadmap for joint transportation initiatives, including the plan of building a railway line and related infrastructure on Kalimantan Island. At the meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Moscow on June 30, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin separately emphasized the continuing interest of the Russian side in the delivery of this transport project, given that it could be of use for the ambitious initiative of the Indonesian leadership to move the capital to the island of Kalimantan.

Are there any risks in the midst of the international crisis?

Although Western sanctions against Russia and the general state of conflict in the system of international relations seriously hamper competition with the above-mentioned powers for participation in the Indonesian capital city development project, Indonesia is able to protect the interests of investors. Since its inception, the country has adhered to the principles of an independent and proactive foreign policy, as well as peacemaking diplomacy, which involves promoting the resolution of global conflicts through cooperation with all stakeholders and regard for their vision of challenging issues on the global agenda.

However, we should not forget that Indonesia is an active participant in the global economic and financial system, and its economy is also threatened by direct and indirect sanctions, which can act as an instrument of putting pressure on Jakarta. That said, close bilateral cooperation, consistent negotiations, mutual interest and concrete proposals from both sides can prepare companies for potential risks. It should also be remembered that Russia is not the only owner of high technology and infrastructure solutions, and the Indonesian side is careful as it reviews the companies’ capabilities, experience as well as the quality of their products and services.

Among the vulnerable points of interaction between Indonesia and its partners is the lack of feasible bids and the cautious position of investors, who either wait for more favorable conditions of involvement in the construction program, or for pioneers capable of transforming their venture capital into urban facilities. The experience of Russian state corporations in the construction of any turnkey infrastructure facilities with subsequent support could be of particular use here, as a ready-made solution will save a lot of time, increasing the investment attractiveness of the project for outside observers, which is beneficial to the Indonesian side as well.


Thus, a rather promising economic project of the new Indonesian capital, Nusantara, remains more of a political initiative at this stage, supported by the current Indonesian government led by President Joko Widodo. For his part, he sees the relocation of the capital as the main domestic political outcome of his two presidential terms and intends to launch and partially build key facilities of the city in the run-up to the elections of 2024. Despite a significant interest of investors from partner countries, companies tend to opt for a wait-and-see approach, entering into memoranda of understanding and working out the potential projects carefully.

Some withdraw from construction endeavors, as was the case with Japanese investment companies, but there remain those who support it or are partially involved in some or other initiatives. For Russia, given its technological, economic and resource potential, participation in the construction of Nusantara seems beneficial as it may show the country’s interests in Southeast Asia as well as in strengthening the political and economic relations with Indonesia. The latter is also interested to involve Russian companies in the construction of its new capital.

Indonesia’s international position, its credibility in regional and global affairs in the light of its successful G20 presidency in 2022 and the ASEAN presidency in 2023, make this country a reliable partner in the delivery of projects, including major economic initiatives. Given the ongoing sanctions pressure and the need to transform Russia’s economy, the program to build the Indonesian capital of Nusantara looks attractive, provided all international risks are handled together with the Indonesian side.

We can only hope that the new capital of Nusantara will be built in accordance with the ambitious plans of the Indonesian leadership to shine as the leading green and digital economic hub of Southeast Asia, despite the economic and political challenges at home and abroad.

From our partner RIAC

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Southeast Asia

Bali governor puts Indonesia on the spot

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Bali Governor Wayan Koster. Photo: Bali Provincial Government

A refusal by the governor of Hindu-majority Bali to host an Israeli soccer team at this May’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup puts the Indonesian government, football association, and foremost Muslim civil society movement on the spot.

Wayan Koster’s refusal threatens to lead FIFA to deprive Indonesia of its hosting rights, which oblige it to allow national teams to compete irrespective of whether countries recognise one another.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stripped Malaysia of its right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championship because it refused to allow Israel to participate.

“We request the Minister adopt a policy of banning the Israeli team from competing in Bali. We, the provincial government of Bali, declare that we reject the participation of the Israel team to compete in Bali,” Mr. Koster wrote in a March 14 letter to the youth and sports ministry a day after the minister resigned because he was elected deputy chairman of the Indonesian Football Association.

Indonesia has refused to establish diplomatic relations with Israel as long as it fails to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians.

The rise of a far-right, ultra-nationalist, and religiously ultra-conservative Israeli government has further dampened already dim hopes that the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country and democracy would follow the United Arab Emirates and other Arab states in recognising Israel soon.

This week, the Indonesian foreign ministry condemned Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotric’s denial of Palestinian existence. “Indonesia continues to consistently support the Palestinian people’s struggle,” the ministry said.

Earlier, ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah asserted that Israeli participation in the FIFA tournament would “not weaken Indonesia’s consistent position on Palestine.”

If world soccer body FIFA deprived it of its hosting rights, Indonesia would suffer a setback in positioning itself as a Southeast Asian sports powerhouse. In addition, Indonesia would lose its spot in the championship.

Indonesia qualified for this year’s tournament as the host rather than because of its performance in qualification matches.

Mr. Koster’s refusal was celebrated by Muslim oragnisations, including the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), which groups the country’s top clerics, and Muhamadiyya, the country’s second-largest civil society movement with tens of millions of followers. The groups this week protested Israeli participation in the tournament.

The refusal and the protest shine a spotlight not only on pro-Palestinian sentiment in Indonesia but also the at times blurred distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment.

To be sure, the slogans of the protest were anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish.

Even so, Israel has sought to spin crossovers between the two to discredit all criticism as anti-Semitism.

The controversy over Israeli participation in the Bali tournament also highlights the outreach to Jews and other faith groups by Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, the world’s largest and most moderate civil society movement.

Nahdlatul Ulama has been a driving force in reforming Islamic law to rid it of supremacist concepts. Some 20,000 Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic scholars in 2019 replaced the notion of the kafir or infidel with that of a citizen.

In addition to tackling problematic concepts in Islamic law, Nahdaltul Ulama has been at the forefront of efforts to take inter-faith dialogue beyond hollow, feel-good, lovey-dovey declarations by putting historical grievances, truth-telling, and the troubled histories of Islam and other faiths on the agenda.

Nevertheless, Aan Anshori, a young Nahdlatul Ulama religious scholar, cautions that antipathy in Indonesia toward Jews is “culturally deep-seated.”

“The key to turning this around is to instill the importance for coexistence between Islam and other faiths today,” Mr. Anshori said.

Last year a poll showed that 51 per cent of Indonesian Muslims had serious misgivings about having Jewish neighbors, 57 percent opposed allowing Jews to teach in public schools, and 61 per cent objected to Jews becoming government officials.

Also last year, the alliance of Islamic scholars on the Javan island of Madura, a region with a history of intolerance, and a conservative cleric who identifies himself as a Nahdlatul Ulama associate, protested against the participation of an Argentinian rabbi, known for her advocacy of human rights, in a summit of religious leaders organised by the group under the auspices of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“I am an NU (Nahdlatul Ulama) member, rejecting (the leadership’s) efforts to bring the Jewish rabbi, Silvina Chemen, to Indonesia… The infidels from the children of Israel have been cursed through the words of Prophet Dawud (David) and Prophet Isa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary),” said Luthfi Bashori Alwi.

A Sunni Muslim mob armed with machetes and sickles attacked and burnt a Shiite-majority village in Madura in 2012, killing a 45-year-old woman and seriously injuring several others.

Nahdlatul Ulama secretary general Yahya Cholil Staquf set the tone for his leadership by addressing, shortly after his election in January 2022, the Simon Wiesenthal Center on Holocaust Remembrance Day as well as the Palestinian embassy in Jakarta at about the same time.

Calling for compassion, Mr. Staquf referred only obliquely in his Wiesenthal Center speech to the Palestinians and other repressed groups.

He noted that “Holocaust remembrance serves as a memorial and vivid reminder of the cruelty, violence, and suffering that so many human beings — acting in the name of their ‘group identity,’ whether ethnic, racial, religious, or political — have, for thousands of years, inflicted upon others. This pattern of malignant behavior continues to threaten humanity, and civilization itself, to the present day.”

Mr. Staquf was more explicit in his speech at the Palestinian embassy.

“If the people of the world fail to ensure a better, more noble future for Palestinians, humanity will have failed in its collective responsibility to ensure a better future for everyone, by fostering the emergence of a global civilization,” Mr. Staquf said.

Mr. Staquf is one of two Nahdlatul Ulama leaders, alongside former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, to visit Israel. Mr. Wahid travelled when he was head of Nahdlatul Ulama rather than when he was head of state.

Discussing his own experience Ezra Abraham, a 29-year-old Indonesian Jew, suggests that engagement with others as well as frank and honest dialogue as pursued by Mr. Staquf produces results.

“Part of the problem (in Indonesia) is that the decades-long invisibility of the Jewish people has made us into the convenient, never-seen bogeyman,.. At past interfaith events, (Indonesian) Muslim participants were initially uncomfortable when I told them I was Jewish. But by the end of our frank discussions, most would’ve modified their stance,” Mr, Abraham said.

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia: Climate Change Challenges

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Indonesia is a nation that faces the threat of drowning land due to the impact of global warming. Rising sea levels, caused by the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, are leading to the submergence of low-lying areas in the country, particularly in coastal regions. The effects of this problem are not limited to the loss of land, but also include the displacement of populations, environmental degradation, and the potential exacerbation of social, economic, and political issues.

The impact of rising sea levels on Indonesia’s archipelagic status is a real concern as many of its outermost islands and basepoints could potentially be submerged in the future. As an archipelagic state, Indonesia benefits greatly from UNCLOS, which permits Indonesia to claim sovereignty over all of the waters between its islands. If sea levels rise, the basepoints used for drawing archipelagic baselines might be partly or fully covered by water, affecting the measurement of the allowable distance between all the basepoints. In a worst-case scenario, where the basepoints are completely underwater, Indonesia may have to find alternative basepoints or rebuild them. Rising sea levels could cause total territorial loss, including the loss of baselines and maritime zones measured from them.

To protect its archipelagic status, Indonesia needs to assess the impact of sea level rise on the outermost points of its islands and drying reefs of its archipelago. It should also record the heights above sea level of these basepoints, and how much they will be impacted by sea level rises. Indonesia could consider declaring its archipelagic baselines as final once defined and declared notwithstanding sea level rise. Additionally, Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries threatened by rising sea levels could adopt a regional declaration recognizing the stability of their baselines and secure their maritime entitlements. As chairs of ASEAN this year, Indonesia could take this opportunity to take collective action to respond to rising sea levels.

The issue of environmental migrants is closely tied to this problem. Environmental migrants are individuals or groups of people who are forced to migrate from their homes or communities due to environmental factors, including sea-level rise, drought, desertification, and deforestation. In the case of Indonesia, many people are likely to be displaced by the submergence of coastal areas, which can lead to a variety of challenges, including housing insecurity, food insecurity, and economic instability.

In the face of these challenges, it is crucial that effective protection of fundamental human rights is prioritized. This includes ensuring that the rights of environmental migrants are protected, including the right to adequate housing, food, and healthcare, as well as the right to seek asylum and protection from persecution. Governments must also take steps to address the root causes of environmental migration, such as by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable development.

Existing policies and international frameworks, such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, provide a basis for action on this issue. However, it is essential that governments and other stakeholders take concrete steps to implement these policies effectively, and that the voices of affected communities are heard in the decision-making process. This requires a commitment to collaboration, transparency, and accountability at all levels of governance, as well as a recognition of the urgent need to address the threat of climate change and its impact on vulnerable populations.

International efforts, such as the International Organization for Migration’s support for a research project on climate and migration in Indonesia, and the World Bank’s South Asia Water Initiative and Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia project, are encouraging but insufficient. Therefore, three policy recommendations to reduce the risk of climate-induced migration in South Asia are offered:

-Promote more livelihood opportunities in non-agricultural sectors to reduce the vulnerability of agriculture workers to climate-driven displacement.

-Empower non-federal authorities to better tackle climate-induced displacement risks, particularly at the local level.

-Host and sponsor dialogues and other exchanges to generate greater regional cooperation so that South Asian states can jointly combat the shared and transnational threats of climate change and climate-induced displacement.

The threat of drowning land in Indonesia due to global warming highlights the urgent need for action on the issue of environmental migration and the protection of fundamental human rights. Governments and other stakeholders must work together to address the root causes of this problem and to provide effective support and protection to affected communities.

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Southeast Asia

Indonesia’s Leadership in ASEAN 2023: Young Generation as Game Changers in Echoing Regional Peace Narratives

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‘ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth’ was announced by President Joko Widodo as the theme for the one-year relay of Indonesia’s leadership in ASEAN at the ASEAN Summit agenda on 13 November 2022 in Cambodia. As can be seen, Indonesia has received a lot of trusts and a progressive image from the international order, as evidenced by its success at the G20 multilateral economic cooperation forum in 2022, and this year Indonesia is preparing to become the leader of the regional organization agenda of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Setkab, 2022). Indonesia openly gets many opportunities to introduce its identity to be more vocal regionally and multilaterally, one of which is introducing basic Indonesian principles such as Pancasila and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (different but still one), which are compact or following the principles of international organizations which Indonesia chairs. As a reflection, ASEAN is indeed thick with diversity, so solidarity is one of the principles upheld. Archipelagically, Indonesia is a country composed of tracks of reconciliation with differences. So, in terms of harmonizing the differences that occur, Indonesia has vital ammunition for that.

The effort and enthusiasm of innovative and creative youth in various fields is a potent ammunition from Indonesia. According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), in 2021, the youth in Indonesia will be around 64.92 million people, or around 23.90% of Indonesia’s total population (Mahdi, 2021). What about the number of youths within the scope of ASEAN? ASEAN estimates that the total population of the younger generation will be around 220 million in 2038, which has yet to be accumulated with the estimated calculation of Timor Leste’s inclusion as the 11th member of ASEAN (CNN, 2022). So, the total population explosion must be utilized as the epicenter of progressive growth for all ASEAN countries. Referring to article 32 of the ASEAN charter, ASEAN leaders have three main tasks: spokesperson, chief executive, and tabling new initiatives. Also, in carrying out this leadership, the ASEAN chairperson must pay attention to several things: actively advancing and enhancing the interests of ASEAN members, guaranteeing ASEAN centrality, representing ASEAN, ensuring an adequate response, and carrying out its duties, principles, and functions to the fullest (ASEAN, 2008).           There are three main pillars in the topic of ASEAN discussion; the first is the economic sector which is discussed in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), politics in the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC), and socio-culture in the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC). A topic that is interesting to young people and has a variety of uniqueness due to the diversity of ASEAN is ASCC-based so socio-cultural terminology will be the main focus of writing. The heart of ASCC is to ensure the quality of life (QOL); quality of life of the ASEAN people through cooperative activities with the concept of being people-oriented, people-centered, environmentally friendly, and promoting sustainable development (ASEAN, 2016). Therefore, when Indonesia chaired ASEAN, he had a significant role in maintaining regional and domestic stability. When the quality of life and regional stability are met, the situation is safe and free from threats, and the obstacles to achieving ASEAN’s vision can be reduced in tension. Regarding peace, the young generation of ASEAN, especially in Indonesia, must be introduced and well-educated as a game-changer to create peace in the Southeast Asian region. So, this article simultaneously proves the question, how can Indonesian youth be actively involved in ​​regional peace through the momentum of Indonesia’s chairmanship in ASEAN in 2023?

               Looking back on youth involvement in ASEAN, for the first time in 2022, ASEAN held a Youth Dialogue under the chairmanship of Cambodia in ASEAN in 2022. This Youth Dialogue is being held jointly with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and resulted in policy recommendations as a form of commitment from the younger generation in preparing for the industrial revolution 4.0 in the era of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic (ASEAN, 2022). In other forums still under ASEAN’s attention, the younger generation has only made and submitted policy recommendations that have yet to be contributively and actively involved in the ASEAN process. Indicators or parameters of the younger generation’s influence in ASEAN regional forums still need to be determined because the younger generation still plays a passive role in ASEAN. On the other hand, many youth-based organizations, forums, communities, and start-ups in Indonesia exist. Until now, there are 2,346 start-ups in Indonesia, making Indonesia the first-ranked country with the most significant number of start-ups beating Singapore in second (Annur, 2022). Start-ups indicate the development of the young generation’s innovation and are a model and proof that Indonesia’s young generation already has the ammunition to put a ‘sense of influence’ among Southeast Asia’s younger generation. Indonesia’s momentum as chair of ASEAN in 2023 should further facilitate and provide opportunities for Indonesia’s young generation to become the epicenter of creation and innovation for the younger generation in the Southeast Asian region. The government must open up space for collaboration and cooperation between the younger generation of Indonesia and other young people in the ASEAN region so that the benefits generated are not only for the younger generation who will continue ASEAN in the future.

Citing the vital role of an ASEAN chairman, Indonesia has full power, for example, in recognizing the existence of a strategic and applicable youth regional forum according to the needs of the younger generation, for example, in cybercrime case studies. Events regarding cyber warfare and its derivatives are exciting and essential for the younger generation who live in an era of digital transformation where war, political weapons, the economy, and various aspects that can weaken national security are carried out through cyberspace. The point of cyber security at the ASEAN level must be a shared concern and mission. This mission can be focused on the younger generation, firstly through policy recommendations, secondly also through meetings or gatherings under the pillars of ASEAN in which the younger generation has not been a representative so far to listen to and interpret debates which also ultimately have an impact on their welfare, the younger generation can become observers in meetings involving high-ranking state officials, even though at the closing ceremony or summit, in the end, the younger generation can feel the atmosphere of meetings in ASEAN. In another form of involvement, the younger generation in Southeast Asia should have a common interest or shared goals, especially in viewing the centrality of ASEAN, and in this case, shared goals are formulated through meetings at the youth level which will ultimately position ASEAN to have a youth-way. The existence of multilateral forums such as dialogues and conferences will further increase awareness and a sense of solidarity with each other, so that common interests arise. The younger generation must promote, innovate, and integrate ASEAN in the focus of any issues that ASEAN will implement in the ASEAN leadership under Indonesia as its chairperson in 2023.

This analogy can describe the relationship of involvement and interrelationship between peace, the younger generation, and Indonesia’s leadership. Peace is a goal to be achieved, while the younger generation is a tool (game-changer) in achieving this goal, and Indonesia’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2023 is the time or momentum. Through the younger generation, the concept of peace regarding fairness in opinion and innovation, the right to be protected from threats, and the right to be free to make choices these values ​​will be reflected when the younger generation knows their position and what is the urgency and justification for their existence in this context. Indonesia’s leadership in several forums has been left from regional to multilateral. The low failure rate in these leadership positions indicates that peace as a form of embodiment of ASEAN’s vision and solidarity in its journey is possible, primarily through the younger generation’s involvement. Harmonization between the values ​​upheld in each country in ASEAN, under the umbrella of ASEAN centrality, is expected not to become an obstacle to the unity of these ASEAN countries. Because the main actors are the younger generation, and the younger generation tends to have a character that likes to work together and produce new ideas exclusive to their field, the tendency to distort one another is rated low. Moreover, ASEAN is the driving force for the movement of the younger generation. A package that complements and fulfills one another.

The game-changer idiom construction in the title refers to the player context, which can bring about change very effectively. When the younger generation already has a portion of involvement, then the younger generation should make the most of this position. The more optimal the role of the younger generation, the more ASCC points will be achieved and creating ASEAN as the epicenter of growth, meaning that the full significance of change is approaching the final goal, then the young generation’s point as a game-changer will be realized. In the track record of making peace with differences, the young generation sparks significant peace (volcanically) in voicing an issue. It means that Indonesia’s ammunition through the younger generation as a game-changer is no longer wishful thinking, but a reality based on factual evidence.

ASEAN “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper” this slogan reminds us to be ready for various opportunities and challenges and ignites the spirit of achieving shared prosperity. Indonesia’s chairmanship in ASEAN is one of the venues for strengthening Indonesian identity globally; Indonesia can realize the noble values ​​of Pancasila, which are not rigid but adapt to the urgency of ASEAN in the next year. By involving the younger generation in a comprehensive and participatory manner, there is a strategic relationship between Indonesia’s leadership as momentum, the younger generation as a game-changer or tool, and peace that is trying to be vocalized and echoed because ASEAN matters. In the end, after the common goals are achieved, mutual benefits can be added value for Indonesia and ASEAN itself.

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