Jayapura, Jubi/TheCoralTriangle – While forest fires rage elsewhere in Indonesia, West Papua is blazing sustainable trails as officials formally declare it a Conservation Province
The Indonesian province of West Papua has just been declared a Conservation Province, a first for both Indonesia and the rest of the world. The new designation is important both symbolically and in ensuring the future health of the province’s astonishing ecosystems. Besides its rainforests, West Papua is the world’s epicentre of marine biodiversity, boasting more species than anywhere else on the planet.
As forest fires rage in Sumatra in the midst of the worst El Nino weather event on record, this example of local government taking action in partnership with local communities and international NGOs shows that real, inclusive action is possible and that it can reach the legislative level.
The declaration was signed on Monday by West Papua governor Abraham Ataruri in Manokwari, the provincial capital, with Indonesia’s minister for Home Affairs, Tjahjo Kumolo in attendance. “This declaration will help us maintain and manage our natural resources wisely and continuously so that future generations can enjoy them,” said Ataruro. The new bylaw designating West Papua a Conservation Province falls under the jurisdiction of Indonesia’s Ministry for Forestry & the Environment.
Supported by Conservation International (CI), Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the local government in West Papua has set up a working group representing a range of civil and political bodies to ensure that the new legislation translates into meaningful action on the ground. They are now drawing up regional bills known as Ranperdasus.
The new designation has taken two years to enshrine in law and comes at a time when West Papua is experiencing a major surge in development. The province has huge resource wealth and is home to the Grasberg Mine, the world’s biggest gold and copper mine. Nickel mining has taken place on islands close to important coral reefs. Yet West Papua is also Indonesia’s least developed province and there are serious questions around the status and treatment of its indigenous population.
As Conservation International has stated in its strategic recommendations, which have fed into the new bylaw, there is a need to ensure the wellbeing of the Papuan people and to protect their customary rights over natural resources. This is as much a conservation priority as establishing an extensive network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and curbing deforestation. Indeed the two are connected, since it is indigenous Papuans that hold ancestral tenure over both reefs and rainforests.
“West Papua should be developed in a way that benefits the people,” said Interior Minister Tjahjo Kumolo, who attended the signing of the declaration. “But West Papua must not lose its identity, its customs and traditions. The beauty of the environment must be maintained and preserved,” he added. (Johnny Langenheim )
The way Papuansphoto Community calls to protect Cycloop
Jayapura, Jubi – Papuan youth from Papuansphoto Community held an environmental action to protect the buffer zone of the Cycloop mountains where precisely located at the rectorate of the University of Cenderawasih.
Around 50 participants joined in the event held on Saturday (8/2/2020) in Waena, Heram Sub-district, Jayapura City. They planted trees and took photos of the natural surroundings.
The Papuansphoto General Chairman Whens Tebay told Jubi on Sunday (9/2/2020) that this action was to demonstrate their concern for the Cycloop area.
“Our concept of photography is to save the forest and humans. So, it was two activities in one event. We planted 50 various tree seedlings,” said Tebay.
The various tree seedlings which brought from the Papua Provincial Forestry Office are the banyan, pine, acacia and weki.
“This is the first event in 2020. There would be more events such as training or workshop on photography to be held in Jayapura,” he said.
Furthermore, Tebay who obtained his bachelor degree from the International Relations of Science and Technology University of Jayapura (USTJ) warned the city and suburb residents of Jayapura to protect their environment, especially Cycloop Mountains as a water source for dwellers living in both areas.
Earlier, Tebay said Papuansphoto had conducted a similar project titled “Save Water, Forest and the Land” on 1 February 2019. At that time, the community worked with native Papuans and Elenggen Art studio.
In the meantime, Gamel from Rumah Bakau Community thinks the concept of event held by Papuansphoto was creatively interesting because they were not only planting trees but turning such activity to be the artwork of photography.
According to him, for those who do not really like reading, have little interest in literacy, the photography at least can bring the actual pictures contained environmental messages.
“While our community has started the environmental action since 1 January 2020 by collecting rubbish leftover from the New Year’s Eve and run some ‘goes-to-school’ events related to environmental issues. The motivation of young people must always be maintained and never stop to try,” he said.
Jayapura City is located in the Cycloop mountainous area and often hit by floods and landslides during the rainy season. It is also said the water flow rate in the Cycloop buffer zone continuously declined.
While, on the other hand, waste and rubbish scatter everywhere and deforestation by irresponsible people has been continuously happening. As a result, the water surface at Kampwolker River, for example, has gradually dropped.
Meanwhile, a Waena resident Yustinus said locals recently are struggling to get water due lacking water supplies from Water Service Company (PDAM).
In Perumnas 2 (Waena), PDAM water supplies not operated for three days. Residents must buy some water at the nearest water depot for daily consumption, such as for washing and cooking.
“In the past, water from PDAM was available for 24 hours. Now, it changes drastically,” he said. Therefore, he asks everyone to protect the Cycloop area as the water source area. (*)
Reporter: Timoteus Marten
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Raja Ampat Government accused to violate tenure rights over two years of land occupation
Sentani, Jubi – The landowner of 3 hectares of the customary land asks the local government of Raja Ampat to return the land and pay the rent for two-years occupation.
The local government was permitted to use the land for two years, from 2004 to 2006, based on the mutual agreement. However, when the landowner asked the local government to return it and pay the rent, it found out the land was registered as an asset of the local government since 2007.
Following the land dispute, the customary people then brought the case to court. Here the statement declared by their legal counsel Haris Azhar from Lokataru, the Law and Human Rights Office to Jubi via WhatsApp on Tuesday (4/2/2020).
“The Local Government of Raja Ampat deprived the tenure land rights of indigenous Raja Ampat arbitrary. Therefore, Lokataru, the Law and Human Rights Office, as their legal counsel, condemns the land occupation by the local government over the tenure land owned by Hj. Salim family. The land is located in Waisai, Raja Ampat Regency. We found some facts showing the practice of deprivation over this land,” said Haris Azhar.
First, the regional government of Raja Ampat has occupied the land borrowed from the customary landowner for more than two years. It violated the two years agreement, namely from 2004 to 2006. The local government never returned the land to the customary landowner until today.
Second, the Raja Ampat government deprived the land by proposing the Land-use certificate to the National Land Agency (BPN) of Raja Ampat which issued in 2007 and 2008.
“The local government of Raja Ampat have done it secretly without any permission and consent from the customary landowner on the transfer of the customary tenure land. The government’s action is violating the Government’s Regulation No. 24 of 1997 on the Land Registration,” he explained.
Third, the Raja Ampat government has vowed to provide compensation on the land in the hearing on the Regional Budget Revision of Raja Ampat on 20 September 2018. The compensation has been budgeting in the revision 2018. However, the Government of Raja Ampat has never paid compensation to the customary landowner.
Therefore, the government has broken its promise or conduct a fraud towards the customary landowner.
Four, the customary landowner has taken some persuasive actions and demonstrated their goodwill by visiting the government’s office and asking the Raja Ampat Regent for a dialogue on this issue. However, the local government was not willing to show their goodwill such as not giving any confirmation or explanation on the reason why they did not pay any compensation over the land.
“Based on these mentioned facts, we urged the Government of Raja Ampat, in this case, represented by the Raja Ampat Regent, to respect the law and pay attention to the rights of the customary people whose land deprived arbitrarily by the local government. Secondly, the local government of Raja Ampat, in this case, represented by the regent, to immediately solve the dispute by installing the agreed payments to Hj. Salim’s family as approved in the Regional Budget Revision Meeting of Raja Ampat in 2018,” said Azhar.
Meanwhile, Musa, a member of Hj. Salim’s family said as the customary landowner, he hopes the local government of Raja Ampat shows its goodwill to solve this issue as possible as it could.
“In the mutual agreement, the government only borrowed our land. But now they (the local government) had claimed to have a certificate on the land which issued since 2007,” said Musa by phone in Sentani, Thursday (6/2/2020). (*)
Reporter: Engelbert Wally
Editor: Pipit Maizier
Raja Ampat’s government says to expel tourist ships for destroying coral reefs
Waisai, Jubi – The Government of Raja Ampat Regency would drive out tourist ships for not complying local shipping regulations. The Regional Secretary Yusuf Salim affirmed the government’s policy is to address the environmental effects caused by tourist boats that often hit and damage coral reefs.
“This policy is to protect the natural reserve of Raja Ampat. Many operating boats do not pay attention to the rules that destroy the coral reefs,” said Yusuf in a meeting with tourism administrators on Thursday (09/01/2020).
He emphasised that the local government would not tolerate those who cause environmental destruction. Their licence would immediately revoke and no longer allowed to operate in Raja Ampat.
“All tourist ships must obey the rule if they want to continue operating in Raja Ampat. Such particular cruise ships must report their arrival to the regional government and follow relevant local regulations,” said Yusuf in a meeting chaired by Regent Abdul Faris Umlati.
To prevent coral reefs from damage and destruction, managers of tourist ships required to involve certified local guides. If not, they are not allowed to enter and operate in Raja Ampat.
“It is for ensuring the convenience (and safety) during the tour. The coral reefs’ damages also can be avoided (prevented),” said the Head of Raja Ampat Tourism Office Yusdi Lamatenggo on the same occasion.
Further, Yusdi hopes that tourism operators and local people would report to the Tourism Office if they find any tourism services to not involving certified local guides. His office is ready for taking action on those who violate the rules.
Earlier, Lamima Surabaya, an Indonesian-flagged cruise ship, reportedly hit a coral reef surround Misool Island of Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province. Meanwhile, several Indonesian cruise ships carrying foreign tourists travelling in Misool Island also suspected of not paying tolls to the regional tourism office for entering local tourist destinations.
The Sub-district chief of Misool Selatan Samsul Rumasukun when contacted from Sorong on Tuesday (7/1/2020) confirmed that Lamima Surabaya was transporting foreign tourists before ran aground on the coral reefs surround Banos and Lenmakana waters in Misool Island on 3 January 2020. But the case was not widely known to the public.
He said the ship had continued its tour, but the incident already tackled by the Raja Ampat Police.
Meanwhile, Adrianus Kaiba, the Head of the Regional Public Service Agency for the Tourism Destination of Regional Tourism Office, separately said that every tourist visit Raja Ampat oblige to pay entrance fees in tourist destinations.
According to him, Lamima Surabaya cruise ship, which reportedly ran aground in the tourist destinations between the islands of Banos and Lemakana Misool, has so far not paid entrance fees to the regional tourism office.
At the end of December 2019, the Provincial Government of West Papua appealed for yachts entering its sea territories to involve local tour guides. This appeal issued following the incident of the cruise ship Aqua Blu landed on the coral reefs of Wayag Island.
The Head of Provincial Tourism and Culture Yusak Wabia in Manokwari on Monday (30/12/2019) stated the importance of using local guide services to avoid accidents such as crashing into coral reefs.
He said the local guides were more aware of the geographical condition of their territory, so it would prevent accidents. “Only local people know for certain the geographical conditions and the weather of their sea. They also maintain the coral reefs which are the source of their livelihood,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Indonesian Tour Guide Association (HPI) in Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua Province, Ranny Iriani Tumundo, regretted the incident of Aqua Blu cruise ship crashing on the coral reefs of Wayag Island.
She conveyed that according to the regulations, each cruise ship sailing around the sea of Raja Ampat oblige to notify the local government and meet the administrative requirement before visiting tourist destinations. Also, they require to pay retribution fee for entrance to the local government through the Office of Investment and Integrated Business Services.
“If a cruise ship has done it, then it is legal to travel in Raja Ampat. Also, the cruise ships must obey the shipping lane and involve local people as tour guides to avoid unexpected incidents happen, such as crashing into a coral reef,” she said. (*)
Editor: Pipit Maizier
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