From 17 to 21 April 2023, President of Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo attended the Hannover Messe 2023 industrial technology exhibition and business meeting in Germany. The trade or business exhibition will also be attended by representatives of 470 companies from Indonesia and representatives of 7.000 entrepreneurs, as well as business associations from various countries.
Basically, this industrial technology exhibition aims to accelerate the application or transformation of technology in industry and increase investment in developing countries, especially Indonesia.
As a partner country for the Hannover Messe, Indonesia is considered a very strategic country. The reason is first, Indonesia has natural resources, especially minerals which are very abundant. Second, Indonesia’s vast land and forests. And third, Indonesia’s productive forces are also very large. These three reasons make Indonesian government a very important party, especially in accelerating the application of industrial technology and increasing European and global investment in Indonesia
Meanwhile, for Indonesia as a developing country whose economic growth is highly dependent on investment, it will also take advantage of this industrial technology exhibition and the Hannover Messe business meeting as a valuable opportunity. Of course, this opportunity is used to show off all the mineral wealth in Indonesia, as well as extensive land and forests, so that European companies are interested in investing in Indonesia.
In addition, we predict that President Jokowi will convey policy changes in Indonesia, such as the issuance of the Job Creation Law (Undang-Undang Cipta Kerja). Where this rule in principle provides easy investment and tax incentives for European businessmen who want to invest and support the government’s plan to build a new palm oil processing industry, paper industry, nickel processing industry to the agricultural industry in Indonesia.
So that the Hannover Messe industrial technology exhibition in Germany this year is basically a strategic meeting for Indonesian and European governments to develop investment cooperation that is oriented towards natural resources exploitation in Indonesia.
Sulawesi Alliance, a group of environmental and human rights defender organizations in Indonesia, deems it necessary to participate and provide input as well as alarms, both to the Indonesian government and to European companies, especially Germany, so that investment and transformation of industrial technology still pays attention to society and environment sustainability aspects.
Or in other words so that the planned investment and application of European industrial technology in Indonesia does not destroy essential ecosystems, such as rainforests. And the most important thing is not to make poor indigenous peoples, farmers and women poorer.
Coordinator of Sulawesi Alliance, Muhammad Al Amin said that currently extractive business activities, especially oil palm plantations on Kalimantan, Sumatra and, Sulawesi islands, have actually converted 20 million ha of Indonesian forests. In addition, nearly 20 million people lost jobs, land and access to forests, even living in the midst of agrarian conflicts.
Now, the Indonesian government is ambitious to build an electric vehicle ecosystem which is currently trending globally. Meanwhile, the basic materials for electric vehicles are stored in the rainforest landscapes of Sulawesi Island and North Maluku. So it can be predicted that investment and development projects for the electric vehicle ecosystem in Indonesia will further degrade the rain forests on Sulawesi and North Maluku islands. So this is the same as that the Indonesian government is expanding the destruction of rainforests in Indonesia.
Based on current Sulawesi Alliance records, nickel mining and smelting business currently operating on Sulawesi Island has not only destroyed tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest, but has poisoned ecosystems like rivers, lakes and community wells. Therefore, if investment in nickel mining and smelting becomes more massive, indigenous peoples, farmers and women, and even my life will get worse and poorer.
Seeing the potential for wider ecological and socio-economic impacts on society as a result of European, especially German investment plans in Indonesia, we, Sulawesi Alliance, need to remind and urge European companies, especially German companies, not to contribute and become direct or indirect actors in environmental degradation, especially rainforests, and impoverishment of indigenous peoples, farmers and women in Indonesia.
Investments that aim to gain multiple profits from destruction of nature, including destruction of rainforests, is a fatal mistake. So we represent people affected by extractive business in Indonesia and appeal to European companies, including Germany, not to destroy our earth. Not to be a destroyer of homes, and source of life for indigenous peoples in parts of the world, especially in Indonesia.
Lastly, we also wish all people in Europe, and Germany is no exception. To students, farmers, teachers/lecturers, women, activists, lawyers, private employees and others to continue to support efforts to save nature, especially rainforests around the world. Because by saving rainforests in various parts of the world, especially in southern countries, we are also protecting lives and sources of life for all people in the world, including people in European continent.
WALHI South Sulawesi, Muhammad Al Amin
WALHI Central Sulawesi, Sunardi Katili
WALHI Southeast Sulawesi, Andi Rahman R