Indonesian groups urge ADB to pull out from Citarum water program
Project design flawed, high social risks feared
December 1, 2008. Jakarta – The Aliansi Rakyat untuk Citarum (ARUM) or Peoples Alliance for Citarum, a growing network of West Java and Jakarta civil society organizations, are calling on the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors to pull out from investing into the proposed Integrated Water Resource Management Investment Project (ICWRMIP) unless a significant, meaningful, strongly and broadly supported re-assessment of the entire program is undertaken. In its joint report released this week, the group uncovered serious flaws in the Program, especially in the Resettlement Plan of ICWRMIP’s Phase one project.
The Board is scheduled to approve ICWRMIP on December 4, 2008. The first ADB investment to Indonesia that uses a problematic new instrument, called Multitranche Financing Facility (MFF), the Indonesian public will incur a loan worth US$500 million disbursed over 15 years in various tranches. Part of ICWRMIP’s first phase is the rehabilitation of West Tarum Canal, an artificial waterway that diverts Citarum water for industrial use and drinking supply of Jakarta households, which runs through West Java. The rehabilitation project will displace 872 households and negatively impact others particularly in the three districts crossed by WTC: Kabupaten Karawang, Kabupaten Bekasi and Kota Bekasi. Yet, the ARUM alliance who reviewed the Resettlement Plan and monitored the Program preparation found serious flaws relative to compliance with the ADB’s Involuntary Resettlement Policy and other applicable policies.
“The number of project affected people is underestimated; instead of using the mandated “affected persons,” it adopts “affected households” that is misleading. Thus the 872 estimated number of households projected to be displaced and have their properties damaged and abandoned is grossly inadequate and unrepresentative of people who will be negatively impacted,” said Diana Goeltom of debtWATCH Indonesia, a member of ARUM. Further, it has no clear relocation program; the site proposed to resettle displaced people is unclear and problematic. “How can ADB guarantee that people being considered for relocation in a privately owned land will have secure access to and use of the land when they have no legal title?,” she asked.
ARUM is deeply concerned that persons excluded in the list are likely to be left out in receiving entitlements including proper compensation for their damaged properties as well as comprehensive program to restore their income and other livelihood sources. Even when resettled, risks of impoverishment can be higher and there is no guarantee that they will be economically better off or at least the same as before their relocation.
In ARUM’s report, it indicates that the Phase 1 project and the whole MMFF-ICWRMIP documents have no anti-corruption strategy in place. A Program with multi millions of dollars to fund sets of projects but without monitorable, reportable and verifiable indicators and implementing plan to combat and prevent corrupt practices in the project management including the bidding and procurement of facilities and disbursement of compensation is too risky, says the report.
Arimbi Heroepoetri of ELAW-Indonesia finds that “the Resettlement Plan has not assessed the differential impacts of the project to men, women, children and the elderly given their unequal power relations and burdens. It has no sound program to address their livelihood rehabilitation and long-term development needs either.” ADB has gender and initial poverty and social assessment (IPSA) policies that provide framework to these critical concerns but the project makes unclear and unsound gender strategy. She regards “the half page gender analysis in the resettlement plan as shoddy as it hardly represents the differential needs and real conditions of these sectors.”
ADB makes the program attractive to the Indonesian government by packaging ICWRMIP as an embodiment of the hyped but problematic integrated water resource management (IWRM). “ADB’s push for an IWRM in Citarum river basin should not be uncritically accepted,” argued Wijanto Hadipuro, a researcher and lecturer at Soegijapranoto Catholic University. Having studied the trends and dynamics of water allocation in the Citarum River Basin, including the WTC management, Hadipuro contends that the program has no empirical evidence that demonstrates any successful IWRM projects in Indonesia or in South East Asia. “So why does ADB decidedly push for IWRM without convincing examples and without paying attention to the multi-actor conflicts over Citarum river basin given their unequal power and competing claims over water allocation in Citarum?,” challenged the academician.
Wijanto added: “In Indonesia, there have been recent controversies surrounding the creation of a river basin water board whose mandate cuts across the municipal and provincial boundaries, because some local governments refuse to have their authority in river management (inc. charging and collecting user fees) delegated to a river basin board as this will affect their local revenues. The ICWRMIP has no clear strategy to address vertical and horizontal conflicts over Citarum river management.” “It does not make sense for the Bank to apply an IWRM strategy and for the government to incur huge debt without seeking to resolve the resource governance challenges at the upstream and downstream of Citarum.”
Wijanto met with some of the ADB Executive Directors in Manila last week urging them to urgently delay the schedule to approve the Program on December 4, 2008 until significant improvements and corrective measures that comply with the bank’s policies, best practices and international standards are in place.
Echoing the message of ARUM, Hamong Santono of Peoples Coalition for Right to Water (KRuHA) maintains that “since ICWRMIP has no strong and broad community and stakeholder support and given that the high impoverishment and political risks far outweigh the potential benefits, we are worried that this ADB loan will have adverse long-term impacts to the affected people, Jakarta water consumers, and the Indonesian public.”
Contact persons:
–          Arimbi Heropoetri: +62 811-848514;
–          Diana Goeltom:  +62 815-9202737;
–          Hamong Santono: +62 815-11485137;