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MIL OSI – Source: US Global Legal Monitor – Indonesia: West Papua to Be a Conservation Province

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(Apr 15, 2015) The local government in West Papua, an Indonesian province located on the western end of the island of New Guinea, is planning a bylaw that would make the area a conservation province. The Governor, Abraham Atururi, stated that West Papua should have that status in order to better protect its natural resources. According to Nataniel Mandacan, the administrative secretary of the province, legislation “is being worked out before being submitted to the West Papua Legislative Council for deliberation.” (Bylaw Being Drafted to Designate West Papua a Conservation Province, JAKARTA POST (Apr. 6, 2015).)

A bylaw will provide legal protection for provincial conservation initiatives. Three nongovernmental organizations, Conservation International, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Wildlife Fund have already been assisting in conservation efforts by financing activities in three regions within the province; the financial support will last through 2017. (Id.)

Being a conservation province is a status under the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry of Indonesia. According to Balthasar Kambuaya, who was the Minister in 2013, the possibility that West Papua would be designated a conservation province was already being discussed at that time. (Desi Purnamawati, Provinsi Konservasi Tidak Hambat Pembangunan [Conservation Status Not an Obstacle to Development], ANTARA NEWS (Oct. 18, 2013).)

West Papua has abundant natural resources, including copper, fisheries, gold, and natural gas. It is also rich in forest lands and coral reefs. There is concern about both of these natural environments. In the forested region there has been degradation due to logging and to clearing for enterprises such as palm oil plantations. (David Adam Stott, Indonesian Colonisation, Resource Plunder and West Papuan Grievances, 9 ASIA-PACIFIC JOURNAL (Mar. 21, 2011).)

Conservation International has focused on preservation of the reefs. The organization’s website states it is “working to create and strengthen marine protected areas (MPAs) throughout Indonesia. By protecting Indonesia’s seas and coasts, we can help to ensure they remain a sustainable source of food and tourism revenue.” (Indonesia, Conservation International website (last visited Apr. 6, 2015).)

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The Global Legal Monitor is an online publication from the Law Library of Congress covering legal news and developments worldwide. It is updated frequently and draws on information from the Global Legal Information Network, official national legal publications, and reliable press sources. You can find previous news by searching the GLM.