What Is Conservation Province?

Many of us may have known that the West Papuan Governor declared West Papua Province as a Conservation Province on 19 October 2015. More recently, the West Papua Local Government organized an event on 22 November 2016 to socialize the concept in national level.

What is a Conservation Province? Why Conservation Province? What are the benefits? How to achieve it? Let’s dive into the following Q&A.

What is Conservation Province?

A Conservation Province is an administrative area developed by the local government based on the following principles:

  • First, Environmental protection to sustain West Papuan customary communities and mankind in general;
  • Second, Biodiversity protection and conservation to ensure ecological balance and sustainable life processes for humans and other living beings as God’s creation;
  • Third, Prudent and sustainable natural resources management and utilization to ensure quality life for future generations; and
  • Fourth, Environmental restoration and management of degraded essential ecosystem.

Conservation province is a breakthrough policy initiative by the West Papua Provincial Government in a sustainable development. The policy will shape a governmental framework that supports economic and social development leading to improved welfare of customary communities, and at the same time, prevents environmental damage and conserves biodiversity.

What is the reason behind Conservation Province declaration?

Besides rich natural resources, West Papua Province is also blessed with extraordinary social and cultural wealth. As the region grows, the development in West Papua faces greater challenges. Mass capital flow and rapid industrialization from development pose an ominous threat to natural resources conservation, both on land and water, and even the rights of customary people. Fervent efforts are required to protect and preserve such natural resources and social and cultural wealth. It was a compelling enough reason for declaring a Conservation Province.

But why Conservation Province?

Conservation Province is not the only way, but a method and a chance to set out a sustainable development strategy that aims to balance economic, social, and environmental management altogether. The philosophy of conservation is to maintain the balance between human life and nature, where sustainable development accommodates all the aspects of life.

So, what are the benefits of Conservation Province?

Through conservation province, the local government, customary communities, and other stakeholders are expected to ensure biodiversity conservation and management in their area, both on land and water. With local wisdom, customary communities have proven themselves as a capable protector of nature, which is a guaranteed source of their wellbeing. West Papua’s natural resources will be managed prudently and sustainably for generations to come.

Are there any other greater benefits?

Conservation Province will also help the Indonesian government meet their commitment on a 29% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Moreover, Conservation Province will support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals – (SDG) set by the United Nations. Kaimana, one of the districts in West Papua, is home to a substantial stretch of mangrove forests that can help address the world’s climate change problem.

Victor Nikijuluw, Marine Director of CI Indonesia, explained, “The carbon stock assessment done by CI Indonesia at the Arguni Bay in 2016 recorded an average carbon storage of 717 Mg C per hectare, or equivalent to 2,631 Mg CO2 per hectare. The carbon stored in this area equals to consuming 1,120,671 liters of gasoline, 34.8 tank trucks of fuel, and combusting 1,281,849 kg of coal.”

How is the progress and what is the next step?

The West Papuan Local Government and the West Papuan Local House of Representatives are scheduling a consultation meeting to discuss a draft Special Local Regulation (Perdasus) to the central government. “The Perdasus is targeted as soon as possible to be used as a legal basis in early 2017,” Nataniel D. Mandacan, West Papuan Regional Secretary, said.

What are the challenges?

Some of the challenges which will be encountered when turning West Papua into a Conservation Province are:

  • How the policy can make sure that the customary people’s rights over natural resources and traditional wealth are recognized and protected.
  • How the policy makers can consistently apply the sustainable development principles.
  • How the implementation of conservation province can ensure improved welfare for customary communities.


Author : Nita Yohana, Published : http://www.conservation.org