The Green Corruption Paradox: Natural Resource Management and Environmental Corruption in Indonesia

[Recorded December 8th, 2021]

Organizers: NYSEAN, Basel Institute on Governance, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, NYU Wagner, and APEC Study Center at Columbia University

Lecture Series: Climate & Environment in Southeast Asia Series


Early November 2021, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and Environment lamented on Twitter on how massive development must not stop in the name of carbon emissions or in the name of deforestation. This much debated tweet which was part of her speech in front of Indonesia Student Association in the University of Glasgow on November 2, highlights that the Government of Indonesia that economic development and environment protection is not mutually exclusive.

Does the Indonesian public think alike? More or less, yes, they do. Recent survey of Indonesians’ attitudes to corruption, environmental degradation and the economy reveals what we call the Green Corruption paradox: Conflicting, and arguably mutually exclusive, views on all three topics can co-exist. Despite seeing the presence of and being deeply concerned about corruption and environmental degradation, people tend to focus on livelihoods when times are hard. People also, according to the survey data, favour economic structures that appear to channel the benefits of natural resource utilisation more directly to citizens. In Indonesia, this means rejecting private companies – particularly foreign-owned – in favour of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and people’s cooperatives.

The survey is a collaborative work between Basel Institute on Governance and the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), with the support from USAID CEGAH programme. See the full report here: https://baselgovernance.org/publications/natural-resource-management-and-environmental-corruption-indonesia-survey-report
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