3 Things West Papuans Can Do To Face Climate Change as Part of Their Environmental Development in West Papua

West Papua

Climate change has been a serious issue for decades. Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish activist, has started reminding and warning all government officials around the world to take it more seriously. She has gathered many students to cut school for a day for a street rally.

Many others have been doing plenty for climate change awareness. How about Indonesia? To be more precise, how is it going with the environmental development in West Papua, their youngest province?

The 2015 Paris Climate Change

West Papua

As part of the 2015 Paris Climate Change, one of Indonesia’s long-term commitment to the environment is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions up to 41%. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on climate change had addressed their concern. They elaborated that if the accession of global warming rose over 1.5 C, there would be greater risks, such as:

  • Extreme drought.
  • Massive floods.
  • Extreme heat.
  • Poverty.

These four major risks will affect hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Still, another warning has also occurred. Even though the whole committees are working together to lower the greenhouse gas emissions, the global temperature will still rise up to 3.1 C by 2100.

The Vast Green Areas In Papua and West Papua

West Papua

Obviously, Papua and West Papua still consist of vast green areas. Their mangrove forests are vital to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When the two provinces are joined together, their green areas – alias the forests – will be up to 33 million ha. This covers almost 80% of the whole island.

In 2018, the Manokwari Declaration was signed by both the Papuan and West Papuan governments. Based on the declaration, the two governments have committed to allocating about 70% of the land as a protected area. This will definitely meet the target of the 2015 Paris Climate Change.

Of course, this effort will also need a lot of active participation from every citizen.

3 Things

So, what are the three (3) things that people can do to face climate change as part of their environmental development?

  • Conducting ongoing, collaborative studies to bring a better perspective in the plan.

These collaborative studies must always involve local governments, academic institutions, private sectors, and also NGOs and CSOs. Everyone has to make sure that during the environmental development, nobody will get left behind or forgotten. That way, everyone will reap the benefits of this plan.

There are factors to consider too, regarding the analysis:

  1. Spatial aspect.
  2. Economic aspect.
  3. Sociocultural aspect.
  4. Ecological aspect.
  • Conducting a training series in order to strengthen the planning skills to develop the environment.

These planning skills should be for both the government and the people themselves. The training includes System Thinking and System Dynamics. The details of both are like this:

  • The system thinking.

The system thinking is how one looks at phenomena as a system. This system shows that an inter-relationship exists between the components.

  • The system dynamics.

The system dynamics is a method that one can use to understand that a system gets to change over time. This modeling lets us do an assessment regarding different policies outcomes. From here, we can figure out how to find the best scenario regarding the achievement for developing goals, like:

  1. Delivering a target on an emission reduction.
  2. Meeting the target for economic growth.

It is even better if the best scenario can help to achieve both targets above.

  • Enhancing data availability and accessibility.

These two can—and must—be done through a platform development. This will help to capture the necessary data that will work to develop an evidence-based development plan. The data must include all of these below:

  • Economic growth.
  • Population growth.
  • Human development index.
  • Deforestation.
  • Forest degradation.
  • The use of land.
  • Land cover.
  • The land-based concession.
  • Emission factor from sector to sector.

The Progress in the Environmental Development 

West Papua

As part of the long-term commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emission, West Papua has already signed the Low Carbon Development Initiative  (LCDI). With this initiative, there have been policies identified to balance:

  • Economic growth.
  • Human welfare.
  • Environmental sustainability.

If LCDI is working well and all parties involved are doing it right, Indonesia may reach an average GDP growth rate up to 6% per year until 2045. The greenhouse gas emission may be reduced down to nearly 43% by 2030. This will exceed Indonesia’s current national climate targets.

When it comes to environmental development, the role of the stakeholders is crucial. The national low carbon development must bring equal welfare to all Papuans and West Papuans – and also meet this country’s targets for climate action.

In short, people must work together to protect their green area on the island. That way, the environmental development in West Papua and Papua will work out, and the greenhouse gas emission can be reduced.