Sustainable Livelihoods in West Papua’s Rural Areas

Get to know Sustainable Livelihoods in West Papua's Rural Areas

Sustainable development of natural and human resources in West Papua is optimally necessary to improve Papuan communities’ welfare, especially people in rural areas.

Since being declared a Conservation Province in 2015, West Papua has committed to developing sustainable livelihoods in the region through the Green Economy program. Read on to learn more about the development of sustainable livelihoods in West Papuas’s rural areas below.

Potential Resources in West Papua Province

Potential of Sustainable Livelihoods in West Papua's Rural Areas

Natural resources in West Papua are the basic capital for the Papuan people’s livelihoods. Not only that, but high biodiversity is also an important pillar for the people of Papua in building and improving the welfare of the regional economy.

Apart from being rich in natural resources, the West Papua region, which is located on the bird’s head when viewed from a map, is also rich in ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity. 

Therefore, developing the quality of human resources in West Papua, especially the younger generation, is also important to maximize the use of natural resources without deforestation. 

In other words, there is harmony between human and natural resources in the development the government wants to achieve. 

The Basics of Sustainable Livelihoods in West Papua

Basically, most Papuans live around forest areas. Therefore, their efforts to survive are through two categorizations[1]. First, they automatically survive by taking advantage of the nature around them, for example, by farming, gardening, raising livestock, and so on. 

Meanwhile, the second category is through non-natural resource activities (non-SDA). Examples include trade, services, manufacturing, etc.

Innovations of West Papua’s Sustainable Livelihoods Development

Innovation to Develop Sustainable Livelihoods in West Papua's Rural Areas

The government is trying to improve the welfare of people in rural areas of West Papua by launching the Green Economy (Ekonomi Hijau) program[2]. Efforts to increase the economy without destroying the environment in the Land of Papua are formulated in 4 development innovations, namely:

  • Encouraging Collaboration from Upstream to Downstream in the Supply Chain Flow
  • Initiating Village Owned Enterprises (BUMK) and Managing Commodities via e-commerce
  • Assisting and Developing Commodities According to Local Wisdom
  • Strengthening Indigenous People & the Environment through Ecological Fiscal Transfer (EFT)

As an additional note, upstream-to-downstream collaboration means that there is a long-term relationship between the parties involved to improve joint performance.

Meanwhile, the parties involved are suppliers and logistics support service providers (Third Party Logistics – 3PL). The relationship or interaction can be in planning, business modification, information sharing, etc. 

The Impacts Maintained by the Green Economy Program

As a result of the program, among others:

  1. Several superior commodities are produced without causing deforestation. Examples include vanilla, cocoa, nutmeg, citronella, taro, and aloes. 
  2. The exports of vanilla have reached the US and European markets. In addition, the cocoa commodity has an economic transaction value of more than 3.6 billion rupiahs.
  3. Currently, the government is not only fostering the plantation of cocoa in South Manokwari but also nutmeg farming in the Fakfak district and seaweed farming in the Teluk Wondama district[3].
  4. Meanwhile, regarding Papuan palm oil, the government has begun to revoke several permits for land clearing, which can cause deforestation.[4]
  5. Other development strategies that have also received the government’s attention include fisheries, ecotourism, and the creative economy industry by utilizing natural products[5].

Challenges during the Development Process

Government Efforts for Sustainable Livelihoods in West Papua's Rural Areas

Meanwhile, there are several challenges in carrying out the development efforts in this conservation province, namely:

  • The need to implement a business model that focuses on utilizing technology and empowering the younger generation as the foundation.
  • The need for entrepreneurship education and skills among the young generation. This way, development support for agribusiness systems is environmentally and culturally appropriate. 

These are homework for the government; to solve these problems, the government seeks intensive assistance and guidance and collaborates with many parties.

Finally, through various efforts to develop sustainable livelihoods in West Papua’s rural areas, the local community’s economy can achieve better welfare. Of course, it also maintains preserved biodiversity of West Papua.