The Government of Indonesia in addition to boosting development in the region of Papua, also pay attention to environmental sustainability in Papua. The Government of Indonesia’s concern on environmental issues and climate change could be seen through the ‘Desa Iklim’ (Village Climate) Program. In the ‘Desa Iklim’ Program, development is carried out continuously while keeping the environment sustained. This program can be a lesson for the South-Pacific countries, which also face the threat of climate change.
The Government of Indonesia in addition to boosting development in the region of Papua, also pay attention to environmental sustainability in Papua. The Government of Indonesia’s concern on environmental issues and climate change could be seen through the ‘Desa Iklim’ Program or Village Climate Program. In fact, Liki Island, Sarmi Regency, Papua Province became an exemplary village for ‘Desa Iklim’ Program. In the ‘Desa Iklim’ Program, development is carried out continuously while keeping the environmental sustained.
The ‘Desa Iklim’ Program is carried out in the hope of improving people’s understanding of climate change and its impacts, resulting in changes in people’s lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions and capacity building for communities facing climate change impacts tailored to local priorities, needs, understanding, and capacity. (Ministry of Environment and Forestry)
Liki Island has the potential for fisheries and tourism with various opportunities for the development of natural and cultural attractions. Thus, the ‘Desa Iklim’ Program is directed based on Liki Island’s potential.
The ‘Desa Iklim’ Program on Liki Island begins with the planting of a thousand and five hundreds trees undertaken to prevent coastal abrasion. In the follow-up plan for climate change mitigation and adaptation, forest protection and conservation campaigns and marine biota protection and inland islands, including coral reefs, seagrass, and mangroves. This campaign activity will be useful to maintain the balance of the ecosystem and have economic benefits as a tourist attraction.
Furthermore, to conserve the type of green turtle that is often hunted for consumption, the Sobey tribe who inhabit Liki Island undertake a green turtle release event to their habitat. The release of the green turtle is a statement of public attitudes in supporting and implementing efforts to conserve all types of endangered biota. This is in accordance with the Act. No.5 / 1990 and PP No.7 / 1999.
This program from Indonesian Government can then be an example for coastal countries in the South Pacific region. In general, the South Pacific country faces major challenges due to climate change. Therefore, cooperation with the Government of Indonesia on climate change mitigation is essential to prevent further climate change impacts.
Through Indonesia’s active role in Melanesia Spearhead Group (MSG) forum, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) or Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and Indonesia’s capability in preventing climate change impact, South Pacific countries should see Indonesia as an opportunity to solve common problems in economic, development and environmental issues.
But South Pacific countries such as Vanuatu do not take advantage of the opportunity. Vanuatu’s attitude to the Government of Indonesia demonstrates hostility through its support for Papuan separatist groups. Vanuatu formally supports rebel groups who want to separate West Papua from Indonesia through various statements of his attitude.
With his attitude, Vanuatu has wasted an opportunity in building a better country through cooperation with Indonesia. In fact, Vanuatu’s closeness to separatist insurgent groups in West Papua does not provide benefits to Vanuatu Citizen. With such proximity, no cooperation was created for development, economy, and the problems facing by Vanuatu.
Keyword: West Papua, Indonesia, sustainable development, climate change, South-Pacific country, Vanuatu, ULMWP, OPM
By: Syani Z. (Researcher, MaCDIS)
Editor: Nabilah Audah