Economic Development Plan for West Papua: Achieving Sustainability

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The Government Tries To Find New Ways To Improve The Welfare Of People In West Papua. To Achieve The Desired Sustainable Economy, Evidence-Based Practice Is Necessary.

Slug: economic-development-plan-for-west-papua-achieving-sustainability

The outer regions of Indonesia always face challenges to achieve a desirable living standard, including West Papua. Developing economics becomes the main target to improve people’s well-being. However, it requires calculated planning that is evidence-based. 

The Government’s Current Five Agendas

The Indonesian government always thinks of ways to improve the welfare of people who live in the region. Despite its high resource quantity, most citizens are unable to obtain the desirable standard of living. Here are the current agendas implemented by the government:

  • Human resource development

It is a known fact that the quality of human resources in the province still requires a massive overhaul. The condition happens due to the lack of quality education in the region. The regional government has started to increase education funds so that educational institutes can thrive.

However, the development should also approach the locals’ social and cultural values. Due to the long history of tribal life in the region, modern education was not considered important. There needs to be a change in this mindset so that people in West Papua can adapt better to the new global demands.

  • Acceleration of infrastructure building

Infrastructure development in this province has always been a challenge. It is a vast region with unique topography. Thus, the most important thing is improving accessibility to public facilities in big cities and remote towns. That way, people in the region can improve their current living standards.

Building infrastructures is not as simple as it seems. It is notably pricier to build something in Papua compared to other regions in Indonesia due to its geography. The government also has a hard time maintaining the already built infrastructure due to the lack of resources.

  • Bureaucracy simplification

Indonesia has always struggled with complicated bureaucracy. In Papua provinces, this problem can intensify, particularly if authorization from the central government is needed. People may need weeks or even months to receive permits or take care of documents. They also need to travel far to reach the government office.

The local government is committed to making the bureaucracy process simpler for the citizens. There is increased use of technology in government offices. Additionally, the people must be informed about the standard bureaucracy process to prepare themselves better.

  • Utilization of natural resources

The abundance of natural resources in West Papua has not been fully explored yet. Currently, the government is more focused on the mining sector. Experts have recommended that there is a need to shift the focus into other potentials that the land of Papua can provide.

Mining sector is lucrative, but the risks it possesses are also plenty. The risks are not only related to environmental concerns but also the welfare of locals. There are other sectors to be tapped, such as agriculture and tourism.

  • Integrated development

These development agendas cannot work if they are implemented separately. Thus, the government’s fifth agenda is to implement integrated development. Each agenda should be able to support others in the planning.

To achieve the expected well-being standard for people in the region, these five agendas need more doable action plans. A good action plan is not only doable, though. There should also be supportive data that shows the high likelihood for the plan to be successfully implemented. 

The Importance of Evidence-Based Development Plan

West Papua needs to adopt evidence-based economic development action plans as soon as possible. This approach is very important because it ensures that the government’s resources will not be wasteful. The evidence-based action plan provides:

  • Accurate information about issues that need to be tackled
  • Alternative actions that have a higher chance of success to tackle those issues
  • Evaluation parameters for the actions that have been implemented

In the past, the development plan was not supported by adequate research about the lives of Papuans. Such development further aggravated the low well-being quality of the natives. It shows that the matter of development must be handled carefully and that hard data is needed.

Achieving Sustainable Economy in West Papua

Government should not only stop at kick-starting the economy of the region. The current global economic trend has shifted towards a sustainable economy. It means that the economic system in a region will be able to thrive in the long run amidst various challenges in human resources and volatile environmental conditions.

Local experts have identified three key steps to start the development of a sustainable economy in this region:

  • Conducting collaborative studies about the local economy that involves various institutions and native people
  • Providing a series of training for government and non-government people to increase their capacity in implementing the sustainable development plans
  • Improving the availability and accessibility of data so that the important actors in the development will have solid evidence to refer to

The economic development of West Papua has always become a concern of the government in Indonesia. However, not all of the past implemented plans achieved success. The government should tailor the development plan more carefully so that the region can have a sustainable economy.