Green Constitution of the 2024 Elections

Konstitusi Lingkungan Pemilu 2024
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The green constitution was popularized in Indonesia by Jimly Asshiddiqie. Through his book titled "Green Constitution: Nuances of Green in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia," this constitutional law professor argues that it is important for environmental legal norms to be incorporated into the constitution by elevating the level of protection for the environment as an integral part of the constitution. This is aimed at providing a strong foundation for the principles of sustainable development that focus on the environment and the protection of the environment within the framework of legislation and regulations.

As an initial starting point, the green constitution introduces the concept known as "ecocracy," emphasizing the importance of environmental sovereignty. The principles of the green constitution and ecocracy are outlined in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. Article 28H, Paragraph (1), and Article 33, Paragraph (4) provide the foundation for the position of the environment within the Indonesian constitution.

In line with the principles of the green constitution, the Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu) has stated, through Regulation Bawaslu 5/2022 that the implementation of electoral supervision is carried out with consideration for environmentally friendly principles. In its implementation, this supervision also adheres to the protection of environmental functions and environmental management principles in accordance with the provisions of legislation and regulations. Additionally, the implementation of this supervision can be supported through the use of information and communication technology systems.

Actually, the distribution and installation of campaign props have been regulated in the General Election Commission Regulation (PKPU) 7/2015 on campaigns, as reported by Media Indonesia. However, this regulation did not specifically address the materials used for campaign props. With the issuance of PKPU 15/2023 on campaigns, the use of environmentally friendly campaign props with a focus on eco-friendly materials has started to be implemented.

The Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU) reported that in the 2024 Elections, the number of youth voters is approximately 107 million people, which is about 53-55% of the total number of voters. The significant number of youth voters can be leveraged by election participants through digital campaigns because young voters are closely associated with technology. The use of digital campaigns can be carried out through social media, which aligns with the significant growth in social media usage in Indonesia.Top of Form

According to data from Reportal, in 2023, the number of social media users reached 167 million people in Indonesia. Out of this total, approximately 153 million users are aged 18 and above, which accounts for about 79.5% of the total population. The use of social media in shaping a political party's image and in election campaigns can be considered as a replacement for conventional campaigns. In addition to cost savings in campaign materials, the use of social media serves as an environmentally friendly propaganda tool.

Compared to the 2019 records, where Media Indonesia reported that conventional campaigns involving door-to-door approaches and the using of campaign props were still irreplaceable. In addition to campaign props, Arief Budiman, who served as the Chair of the Indonesian General Election Commission (KPU) from 2017 to 2022, stated that during the 2019 elections, at least 978,471,901 sheets of paper were printed, along with 58,889,191 envelopes and 130,746,467,309 forms. This aligns with data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan or KLHK), which recorded that in 2019, KLHK identified a total waste accumulation of 67.8 million tons per year, consisting of organic waste at 57%, plastic waste at 15%, paper waste at 11%, and other waste at 17%.

What is the fate of these printed ballots then? In 2019, the Central Java government declared that the Pekalongan City General Election Commission (KPU) disposed of unused ballots by burning them. The incineration of these ballots certainly had a negative impact on the surrounding environment. The disposal of election logistics is governed by a circular issued by the KPU (General Election Commission) following the election, specifically the decision letter from the KPU Secretary-General number: 1560/TU.04.2-SD/04/SJ/XI/2019 dated November 15, 2019, regarding the Permission for the Disposal of 2019 Election Ballots, and the circular from the KPU of the Republic of Indonesia number: 1570/PP.08.5 – SD/07/SJ/XI/2019 dated November 15, 2019, concerning the post-election logistics management for the 2019 election. However, the circulars do not specify the method of disposing of post-election logistics.

Efforts to implement green constitution in the upcoming 2024 Elections are becoming apparent with the issuance of Regulation Bawaslu 5/2022, which applies environmentally friendly principles to election monitoring. This is reinforced by Regulation KPU 15/2023, which governs the use of campaign props materials that can be recycled. One of the pieces of evidence of the implementation of the green constitution in the 2024 Elections is the use of eco-friendly election ink made from gambier. In this regard, the University of Andalas is collaborating with PT Kudo Indonesia Jaya to use approximately 30 tons of gambier leaves as ink material, which will suffice for about 1 million ink bottles for the 2024 Elections.

While the KPU regulations are beginning to incorporate the principles of the green constitution, they still lack strength in governing the handling of campaign props waste. Given this situation, updated regulations are needed to address how post-election campaign props waste is managed.

As an additional piece of information, the 2024 Elections are confirmed to still use the ballot-casting method, which means the management of post-election ballot waste must also be taken into consideration. This management should be carried out not only by the KPU but also by the relevant ministry, namely the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, which oversees the recycling and environmentally friendly disposal of post-election waste.

The disposing of ballots in the upcoming 2024 Elections should prioritize environmentally friendly methods. It's clear that burning them is not a suitable option, especially considering the pressing issue of air pollution in 2023.

Recycling election logistics waste made of paper is feasible through many companies that support paper recycling. Indonesia, as a country that includes green constitution in its 1945 Constitution, should also be able to apply the green constitution to elections as a part of its constitution. Collaboration between institutions ranging from the KPU to the KLHK and the general public is essential in achieving an environmentally friendly 2024 Elections. []


Translated by Catherine Natalia