Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat met with Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb on Monday (12/06) to discuss various aspects of bilateral cooperation and sign a wide-ranging partnership.
The partnership will cover flood management, clean water services and development of the capital city's ports and sea wall — known as the National Integrated Coastal Development — for the 2017-19 period.
"I think the main collaboration that we have is in the water management. Both cities have difficulties with water, Jakarta lacks drinking water and we have a lot of water, on the other hand the city of Jakarta suffers from flooding – two to three times a year – whereas we do not have flooding, but we have lots of rainwater," Aboutaleb told the Jakarta Globe in an interview on Wednesday.
The mayor also said that his administration will assist Jakarta in tackling river pollution and in improving its vital sea harbor to make the city "have a good port with good logistics."
"The idea is how to make the feasibility study to enlarge the port of Jakarta [with the help] from Rotterdam, [which has] the largest port in the western hemisphere and lots of technical models available. We are happy to share our knowledge with everyone, also with our sister city Jakarta," Aboutaleb said.
Transportation and Administration
Aboutaleb also praised Jakarta's plan to create a sea highway connecting a number of the country's hubs to improve trade routes in the region.
"However, to transform these ports is not easy, because people are living there […] and there's also resistance from environmental groups, which have their own ideas on how to deal with such developments," he said, stressing the necessity of engaging these communities in a dialogue and maintaining continuity in implementing the city's major policies, despite its changing leadership.
When asked about Jakarta's traffic, Aboutaleb said that it is worse compared to what he remembers from 2010, but this shows that the income of the city's residents is increasing as they are able to afford cars.
He added, however, that the bad traffic is also due to insufficient availability of public transportation – solutions to which are not that easy.
"The solutions sometimes need to be found in [the surrounding] regions, because people also arrive from outside the city. You need railway connections, subway connections, metro connections, in some places tram connections, and if you have a lot of water, like we have in Rotterdam, you can have what we call 'water buses.'"
He also mentioned the need for decentralization of the city's main business district.
"In Rotterdam, we do not develop business areas anymore. We develop integrated areas where people work, live and spend their time, so it is a multilateral space where living, working and leisure are combined," he said.
The mayor also congratulated Jakarta for turning Kalijodo slums in West Jakarta into an open public space.
"That is a very good example of creating an open space to give citizens oxygen and making them responsible for their own area," Aboutaleb said, praising former Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and Djarot for the initiative.
"That shows that your leader and your city know very well how to do it. They [Ahok and Djarot] did it with less money than we would use in our city, and that is a good example," he said.
Aboutaleb encouraged the city's administrators and residents to discuss all possible ways of improving welfare, the city's livability, development and reducing crime.
Jakarta and Rotterdam initiated their partnership in 1986, with cooperation in various sectors, including waste management, information system management, museum management, social empowerment and water management.
Aboutaleb has been serving as Rotterdam mayor since 2009. He is the first mayor of a large city in the Netherlands who, as Moroccan Muslim, comes from an ethnic and religious minority.