Co-Authors: Gusti Ayu Made Suartika - Dr, University of Udayana Bali, Indonesia
For five years, a 700 ha large-scale development project in the Benoa Bay Reclamation area in the South of Bali Island met a strong opposition of a sociologically diversified resistance movement united in one NGO. It was all but the first protest on the island, but its duration and scale - some Balinese even going as far as threatening a puputan (fight to death) - revealed a specific context in which such determination had been able to arise. While the project planner emphasized the natural and economic benefits of the project, opposition crystalized around two aspects: environmental ones, in a context where it was feared that the new project would only enhance some already existing problems, e.g. transportation, waste, or coastal erosion. The other aspect highlighted by the resistance movement in the Hinduism dominated Island was religious. The discontent was also fed by socio-economic condition, with a growing feeling of the Balinese marginalization in the Island development. In August 2018, Bali’s Governor and Deputy-Governor newly elected put an end to the story, declaring that the reclamation project will not be allowed to proceed. Was this decision only electorally motivated, or led by a higher conscience of the local stakes and challenges? The objective of this paper is to analyze, in Bali and beyond, the role of this episode – then widely nationalized and internationalized - in local governance maturation, as essential backbone of social cohesion, in urban/tourism planning, development and environment related sectors.