The province of West Papua in Indonesia lies at the western-most point of the island of New Guinea or Papua. The province encompasses striking different areas: from mountain ranges such as the Arfak Mountains to biologically diverse coral reefs of the Raja Ampat islands. Forests still cover the vast majority of the land in West Papua. West Papua one of the poorest yet most highly forested provinces in Indonesia. Indigenous Papuans are the majority of the poor with many of their rights to resources not recognised formally in Indonesian law. Is there a way that poverty in West Papua can be alleviated in a way that recognises the rights of indigenous Papuans while preserving the natural environment?
INOBU, in conjunction with the European Forest Institute (EFI), have been working together since 2013 to find a solution to this challenge. They have sought to trial an innovative, new approach for sustainable development at the level of jurisdictions. The goal of the work is to ensure that there are policy instruments, regulations and monitoring systems in place at the level of jurisdictions to ensure that commodities are produced sustainably, equitably, and in a way that the rights of recognises and respects the rights of indigenous Papuans.
There is still much work to be done to achieve the vision of sustainable development in West Papua. Support is needed for the government of West Papua to design and implement a monitoring system, and ensure that relevant data is collected for the system. Dialogues between the private sector and government are needed to find ways to facilitate innovative ways to establish and expand sustainable business opportunities in the province.