Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1) Surprisingly, Indonesia’s most famous dive site is also a playground for whales and dolphins (commentary)

2) Sign the global petition for an Internationally Supervised Vote in West Papua


1) Surprisingly, Indonesia’s most famous dive site is also a playground for whales and dolphins (commentary)

27 June 2017 / Heike Iris Vester & Ricardo F. Tapilatu

Indonesia’s Raja Ampat is famous for its corals. Turns out, the dive site is also a major transit point for rare whales and dolphins — but we know very little about them. The views expressed are those of the author.

Bottlenose dolphins in Raja Ampat. Photo by Heike Iris Vester / Ocean Sounds.

Raja Ampat — an island chain in Indonesia’s West Papua province — is world renowned for its beautiful and unique marine biodiversity. But its marine mammals have not received as much attention. 
Half of the 31 whale and dolphin species found in all of Indonesia — 16 different types — have been regularly observed there. However, a designated long-term study of the behavior of whales and dolphins there has yet to be conducted. We don’t know much about them; more to the point, we don’t know how to effectively protect them. 
This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Raja Ampat — an island chain in Indonesia’s West Papua province — is world-renowned for its beautiful and unique marine biodiversity. But its marine mammals have not received much attention despite the fact that half of the 31 whale and dolphin species found in all of Indonesia — 16 different types — have been regularly observed there.
Raja Ampat, or “four kings,” consists of hundreds of islands, although the four largest dominate: Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool. The archipelago’s Dampier and Sagewin Straits host major oceanic and biomass exchanges between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, making Raja Ampat a major transit point for megafauna like whales and dolphins. Our preliminary research indicates that multiple species are feeding, mating, and calving in the area, making Raja Ampat a critical habitat for whales. However, a designated long-term study of the behavior of whales and dolphins there has yet to be conducted. We don’t know much about them; more to the point, we don’t know how to effectively protect them.

Whales play a key role in the health of marine ecosystems, from predator-prey interactions to fertilization through prodigious amounts of poop and upwelling of deep-sea nutrients. Across Raja Ampat, small dolphins are numerous; these predators influence fish populations, and at the same time they are preyed upon by large sharks and killer whales. Sperm, Baleen, and other large whales bring nutrients from their 3,000-meter-deep dives to the ocean’s surface, adding essential nutrients and supporting a healthy marine ecosystem. In Raja Ampat, both sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) and Bryde’s whales (Balaenoptera brydei) are seen regularly and in great numbers; their role in the health of the marine ecosystem in Raja Ampat is profound.
Usually marine mammals are found in cold, nutrient-rich waters near the poles. Although many whales and dolphins make long migrations between polar feeding grounds and breeding grounds closer to the equator, we did not expect the rich abundance of whales and dolphins in Raja Ampat.

In January 2015, equipped with a camera and hydrophone to record whale sounds, we went out into Raja Ampat’s Dampier Strait, and to our shock, found 15 different species of whales, dolphins, and dugong in the first week. On every boat trip out we encountered small Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus). More numerous were the oceanic dolphins, such as the acrobatic spinner dolphins and spotted dolphins which can travel in packs of over 1,000! We encountered large groups of short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) feeding on squid; they were often accompanied by bottlenose dolphins, Fraser’s dolphins (Lagenodelphis hosei), and even pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata). We found Bryde’s whales: filter-feeders of the Baleen family that consume plankton and small fish. We also saw pods of sperm whales: these huge mammals, as well as Bryde’s whales, were observed mating and calving in previously unknown feeding and breeding grounds, with peak activity between December and early March. We even encountered a large adult killer whale (Orcinus orca) in the Dampier: these are rare in tropical waters, but two pods have been spotted. In Raja Ampat they feed on manta rays, dolphins, and newborn Bryde’s whales.
Negative impacts on cetaceans were also observed. Whales are scarred from boat collisions; some dorsal fins were completely severed. Boat traffic, especially from large speed boats and ferries, are a major threat to cetaceans in the Dampier Strait; the daily Sorong–Waisai passenger ferry nearly collided with a sperm whale when we were on it. The need to educate people using the strait, and establish protocols for shipping traffic, is obvious, as is the need to introduce and regulate whale-watching tourism, so that locals can benefit from the giants in their neighborhood.

In order to assess the health of Raja Ampat’s biodiversity, and the Bird’s Head ecosystem — that off the northwestern coast of New Guinea island — more broadly, it is essential to both protect and study whales and dolphins. In the coming years, the University of Papua and Ocean Sounds, an international NGO, will be doing so, in order to better understand cetacean life cycles and behaviors, and ultimately, to create protection plans. We’ll be tracking individual whales through non-invasive photo identification and the building of databases that will ultimately show the routes by which whales travel throughout Indonesia.
We intend to establish a marine research station in Raja Ampat, not only to conduct research, but also to teach people about whales and dolphins.

About the authors:
Heike Iris Vester ( is the founder and director of Ocean Sounds, a group dedicated to marine research, education and conservation through engagement with local communities. Ocean Sounds focuses on the biology and vocal communication of cetaceans, and has projects in Chile and Norway; they will soon open an office in Indonesia. 
Ricardo F. Tapilatu ( is the director of the Research Center for Pacific Marine Resources at the University of Papua (UNIPA). The Center is dedicated to the research and conservation of Pacific Marine Resources across the Bird’s Head Seascape in the western Pacific region. The Centre is the only local organization engaged in Pacific Leatherback Turtle protection in the world’s largest remaining nesting beaches in West Papua.
Ocean Sounds and UNIPA both work closely with APEX Environmental, a group with extensive expertise in oceanic whale and dolphin surveys, cetacean ecology research, conservation, management, policy development, and training.

2) Sign the global petition for an Internationally Supervised Vote in West Papua

The people of West Papua are calling on YOU to sign the global petition for an Internationally Supervised Vote in West Papua!

n August 2017 six people will swim 69 kms across Lake Geneva, to hand deliver a global petition requesting the UN to urgently address the human rights situation in West Papua, directly to the UN headquarters. This is our campaign to Free West Papua, and we hope you will join us. #BackTheSwim & #LetWestPapuaVote

Monday, June 26, 2017


2) Papua governor takes birds-of-paradise off the market
By : Julian Howay (*)
Drone footage of the border between untouched land and the land cleared by Korindo on its Papua Agro Lestari concessions in Merauke –

THE island of New Guinea or Papua in the South Pacific has a largely unspoiled tropical forest (75%). These forests were formed over thousands of years ago and spread from the lowlands, valleys, hills to the towering mountains. For outsiders, the largely virgin tropical forest of Papua holds a number of mysteries.
Forest exoticism on the island has become the last bastion of life providers for biodiversity in Indonesia and internationally. Not surprisingly, the powerful ocean explorers from Europe, China, Arabia and India who first landed on this land dubbed the island of New Guinea (Papua) as a dazzling world paradise that just began to be explored in the 19th century. The high value of biodiversity makes many natural scientists know Papua as the Major Tropical Wilderness Area (TWA), beside Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The total area of ​​tropical forests of the island of New Guinea (Papua) is about 73.8 million hectares (80%) of the land area or 22 percent of the land area of ​​Indonesia. From this total area, neighboring state of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the east has 34 million hectares or 70 percent of the country’s territory. By this amount, approximately 25,211,000 hectares (55 percent) are primary forests and the rest are secondary forests.
Because of the important benefit of the forests, fundamentally the life of indigenous Papuans can not be separated from the natural environment such as land, water, oxygen and forests. For thousands of years, these forests have been the main provider of life for at least 1,187 indigenous tribes who inhabit the island of New Guinea (Papua). Divided between 312 indigenous tribes in western New Guinea (West Papua) which is now part of Indonesia and 875 tribes in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
In the view of the Papuans, the nature of which belongs to the land and the forest is like a “life-giving mother.” In the life of a traditional sub-system living, the forests function as “natural supermarkets” which provide various food needs, the place of ritual actualization culture, entertainment, and as place to give them inspiration about life. Therefore, when the land and its natural resources such as forests are expropriated or damaged, Papuans as part of world indigenous people will suffer and are deprived of their cultural identity.
Unfortunately, the existence of tropical forests in Papua continues to shrink as degradation and deforestation rates occur over time. In the life of a traditional sub-system living, illegal logging and improper forest management of local people have caused the destruction of forests in Papua getting worsening. It could even say that it has entered an “emergency status.” Deforestation began in the 1980s when general Soeharto, the Indonesian Government military dictatorship issued a political economy policies that supported development and investment. But these policies were not friendly to the environment and local people who live around the forest.
From the total 73.8 million hectares of Papua’s forest area recorded in 2005, it is now drastically reduced. West Papua as a region on the western part of New Guinea is now the largest contributor to deforestation compared to neighboring state of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in the east. In 2005-2009, Papua’s forest area ranged from 42.22 million hectares. But three years later in 2011, it has experienced degradation to the remaining 30.07 million hectares.
Average deforestation rate in Papua ranging from 300,000 hectares (25%) per year. From these facts, Greenpeace, the international environmental organization recorded that the loss of Papua’s forest in the period of 2000-2009 ranged from 8.19 million hectares or on average 910,000 hectares of forest lost each year. Even some environmental NGOs like Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) estimate, the average of deforestation in Papua reaches one million hectares annually.
Some major causes of deforestation in Papua (Indonesia) consist of forest conversion by illegal logging and oil palm plantations, forest burning, mining, construction of roads and new settlements. Illegal logging and expansion of large-scale oil palm plantations are two main factors that caused the largest deforestation in Papua.
Illegal logging cases are generally done by licensed timber companies, but are cutting forests outside of their concession area. Large-scale palm oil plantations so far have been proven to bring environmental problems and disasters to the local community from the social aspect. In two regions in Indonesia such as Sumatra and Kalimantan, the presence of large scale oil palm plantations has impacted the destruction of thousands of hectares of primary forest.
As a result, local people as landowners who had been able to live peacefully only by depending on forest products, changed their lifestyles due to being low-wage palm oil planters. Local people are also uprooted from the cultural roots associated with the existence of the forest as a provider of life. In general, deforestation in Papua gives negative impacts towards the function of the forest as climate regulator, CO2 and oxygen producer and forest is no longer a life support provider.
Therefore, to reduce deforestation in Papua (Indonesia), there are some important things that can be done. First, the Indonesian government needs to change its political economy policy to provide the preservation and protection of forest. Second, the government need to apply development policies oriented to sustainable development that does not destroy the forest.
Third, supervision and law enforcement against any perpetrator of environmental crime and destruction of forests. Fourth, the government need to empower the local communities (indigenous people), who live around the forest to engage in surveillance efforts, conservation and sustainable use of forests.
Fifth, the government must commit to implementing policies related to the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism in order to reduce carbon emissions by providing compensation to the parties (including local communities) in the prevention of deforestation and forest degradation. Sixth, replanting (reforestation) and rehabilitation of degraded forest with native plants that are beneficial to the local communities.
Advocacy efforts and the joint campaign of saving Papua’s forests have been ongoing since 2006. This campaign was formulated into a major theme: “Save the Forest and Papuan” or in bahasa (Indonesia language) “Selamatkan Hutan dan Manusia Papua.” The reason is that Papua’s forests and its indigenous people are so intertwined that the rescue effort is a heavy task and must be taken seriously.
Given the increasingly deteriorating condition of forests, it is necessary to engage customary institutions as active government partners in the preparation, establishment, socialization and implementation of forest management governance. Law implementation and strict sanction is required to stop illegal logging perpetrators.
In conclusion, Papua’s vast tropical forest riches are a God’s gift worthy of being grateful as well as protected. Do not let this valuable gift be a curse in the future. By saving the forests of Papua, it means saving the natural wealth of humans and the invaluable Papuan culture. We have to do something to save the people and the forest of Papua for the better future. Save the forest, save the future !
*) Julian Howay is a freelance journalist and environmental activist.

2) Papua governor takes birds-of-paradise off the market

26 June 2017 / Asrida Elisabeth Adapted by Basten Gokkon

Papua Governor Lukas Enembe declaring the new policy earlier this month. 
The birds are threatened by hunting as well as the ongoing destruction of their forest habitat as agribusiness expands in the region.
 Indigenous communities can still use bird parts in their traditional ceremonies.

JAYAPURA, Indonesia — In an attempt to conserve the birds-of-paradise for which the region is famous, Papua Governor Lukas Enembe has banned the use of their body parts in anything other than traditional ceremonies.

Hunting has helped push some paradise birds — members of the family Paradisaeidae — to the brink of extinction. Historically, indigenous groups on Indonesia’s half of New Guinea island have used the birds’ colorful feathers in their rituals and traditional dress. 
Meanwhile, others turn their parts into souvenirs, sold to tourists or handed out by local officials at events.
Last November, a college student in Papua sparked an outcry after she posted picturesof herself holding a dead bird-of-paradise, known locally as cendrawasih, and a hunting rifle.
Governor Enembe enshrined the ban in a circular letter, a mechanism typically used to support existing laws. The provincial administration plans to issue a regulation specifying the consequences for violating the ban, according to Papua Regional Secretary Hery Dosinaen. Until then, the government will use the circular to raid stores selling products made from real bird-of-paradise parts.

In addition to raising awareness about the animal’s protected status, the policy is expected to give Papua’s creative industries a nudge by turning craftspeople onto artificial bird parts.
Alex Waisimon, who runs birdwatching tours out of Jayapura, the provincial capital, welcomed the ban: Cendrawasih is a bird from paradise that God created for us to protect together,” he said.
But he recognized a greater threat than hunting: the destruction of the birds’ forest habitat.
Indonesia’s rapid deforestation has long been concentrated on Sumatra and Borneo islands in the archipelago country’s west. But forest loss in the Papua region appears to be on the rise.
Korean-Indonesian conglomerate Korindo is one firm expanding there. The oil palm planter was recently the subject of a NGO report that said it was responsible for 30,000 hectares of deforestation and nearly 900 fire hotspots since 2013. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has said it is investigating the company.
Banner image: A lesser bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea minor) in eastern Indonesia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.
This story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and was first published on our Indonesian site on June 20, 2017.

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    1) On jungle roads, Jokowi reboots with eye on 2019 Indonesia vote

    2) How an Architect Rebuilt a Papuan Village
    1) On jungle roads, Jokowi reboots with eye on 2019 Indonesia vote

    Karlis Salna and Untung Sumarwan Bloomberg
    Jakarta | Fri, June 23, 2017 | 09:30 am

    Sitting on a Kawasaki dirt bike with a camera fastened to his helmet, Indonesia President Joko Widodo led an entourage last month to inspect construction of the longest road in the eastern province of Papua.
    The fresh rainforest air provided a welcome respite for the president after months of political turmoil. Nearly 3,500 kilometers away in Jakarta, his ally Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama was spending his first full day in prison on blasphemy charges -- a case that also came as a blow to Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi.
    The road in Papua provided more than an escape for Jokowi: It offered a path to reboot and secure a second term in 2019. Many Indonesia watchers see Jokowi’s political future tied to his ability to implement a $350 billion infrastructure program and increase living standards for the poor in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.
    “If he can deliver most of the things he says he wants to do with infrastructure, that should hold him in good stead going into the contest for a second term,” said Greg Barton, a professor of global Islamic politics at Deakin University in Australia. “The attack on Ahok was very much an attack on Jokowi -- it was very much a preemptive strike ahead of the election cycle.”
    Purnama, widely known by the nickname Ahok, was put on trial for blasphemy late last year after he told voters they were being deceived by people attempting to use Koranic verses to undermine his candidacy in the Jakarta governor race. He was sentenced to two years in jail on May 9, weeks after he lost the vote.
    Religious Tensions
    The case against a Christian of Chinese descent brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets in protests, some of which turned violent, raising concerns that Muslim-majority Indonesia was losing its reputation for religious tolerance. Jokowi sought to quell tensions with a call for unity and public appearances with senior officials from the military, police and other party chiefs.
    The victor in Jakarta was an ally of Prabowo Subianto, who lost to Jokowi in the 2014 presidential race and is widely expected to challenge him again two years from now. The win put the opposition in control of a city that contributes nearly a fifth of Indonesia’s gross domestic product and the bulk of its finance.
    Still, Jokowi has appeared to weather the storm. His coalition in parliament remains solid, the economic outlook is bright and he remains popular with the public.
    Jokowi received the backing of twice as many respondents as Prabowo in a survey of 1,350 voters last month by Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting. Public satisfaction with his performance stood at 67 percent.
    ‘Super Happy’
    The World Bank forecasts the economy will grow 5.2 percent this year. While that’s short of Jokowi’s target of 7 percent, it’s high compared with other emerging markets.
    “Many countries in the world would be super happy to have 5.2 percent," said Rodrigo Chaves, the World Bank’s country director for Indonesia. “Indonesia is growing twice as fast as the global economy. That’s no mean feat.”
    Last month S&P Global Ratings raised Indonesia’s debt score to investment grade on the back of "a new focus on realistic budgeting" that reduced the risk of widening deficits. That stands to boost inflows even further while Indonesia’s foreign reserves have already climbed to a record, reaching $125 billion in May.
    In parliament, Jokowi controls about 70 percent of seats, and his coalition partners appear to be standing with him. Golkar, the country’s second-biggest political party, joined up with the president last year and credits Jokowi with improving the nation’s infrastructure.
    “We believe Jokowi will be able to consolidate his support from various parties and deliver in 2019," said Ace Hasan Syadzily, a lawmaker with Golkar.

    Highway, Subway
    Since the Jakarta election, Prabowo’s party has struggled to open up a line of attack against Jokowi. Arief Puyuwono, a deputy chairman of Gerindra, gave Jokowi a “thumbs up” for his management of the economy even while saying he could do more to increase wages for laborers who comprise the bulk of the nation’s 260 million people.
    Jokowi’s immediate agenda over the next few months is passing a revised budget, anti-terrorism laws and regulations that could increase the power of tax authorities after an amnesty raised $11 billion. Over the longer term, he’ll look to continue building infrastructure that impacts voters directly.
    In Papua, Jokowi is looking to finish the nearly 4,300 kilometer (2,700 mile) road stretching across the province by next year. More difficult may be a subway system in Jakarta, which is now in the hands of Prabowo’s allies.
    Either way, Jokowi has done much more already on infrastructure than the previous administration accomplished in 10 years, according to Rizal Ramli, a former minister in Jokowi’s cabinet who also served as finance minister in 2001. Focusing on economic issues will help him avoid the missteps that led to the defeat of his ally in Jakarta, he said.
    “Jokowi lost a lot of political capital because Ahok has dragged him down,” Ramli said. “If Jokowi doesn’t change, then he might have trouble getting re-elected in 2019.”


    2) How an Architect Rebuilt a Papuan Village

    Visionary architect Yori Antar believes that instead of copy-pasting modern architecture, people should put Indonesian vernacular architecture into account. His latest projet in rebuilding and archiving Suroba architecture in Papua is the first attempt in history to alter Papua’s oral lore to written record.

    Photo by Michael Sunders and Griselda Vania Chandra

    Yori Antar’s fervour in enjoying the Indonesian landscape has given birth
to a movement to restore Indonesia’s architectural heritage. In 2008, he named this movement ‘Rumah Asuh’. The initiative has restored and documented traditional houses in publications, and quickly gained recognition from UNESCO and Aga Khan for its attempt to save and preserve the local wisdom of the Indonesian architecture. In May 2017, Antar completed part of his ‘Rumah Asuh’ project called ‘Suroba Memanggil’, which translates to Suroba is calling. “This is not to romanticize traditional houses,” he says. “It is an attempt to reorient our views and to stop calling our traditional architecture as the heritage from the age of foolishness.”
    Suroba is known as the land of warriors. Located 30 minutes away from Wamena, Papua, Suroba was first seen by the world in 1961 in a documentary that filmed war tribes in the area, Dead Birds. Michael Rockafeller was the sound recordist before he disappeared. As hunting and cannibalism were common at the time, Rockeffeler was 
speculated to be eaten by the natives.
“Although the war has stopped, Suroba
looks like it’s been frozen in time since
1961,” Antar says.

    Ceremonies were important for the tribes. In 1973, one of the head tribes Obahorok of Dani tribe married an American anthropologist Wyn Sargent
as a ceremonial symbol to prevent wars between tribes that disliked the presence of foreign anthropologist in Baliem Valley. “It was similar when I was there,” Antar says. “The Dani tribe made a ceremony for me. They asked their dead ancestors to see what kind of intentions I had.” Antar was accepted. This means that anyone who came under his name will be accepted as well.
    The plan for Suroba calls for the reconstruction of traditional honai houses, two guard towers, two bridges, and a honai homestay compound consists of eight honai stays, a honai kitchen, and a honai toilet.
    In 2015, Antar started the project with building Kayou watch guard tower,
a 10-metre wooden tower located at the west border of Suroba village. “The Kayou tower used to be a watch guard tower
for wars,” he says, “but when we rebuilt the tower, it became a symbol of victory for the Surobans in preserving their own culture.”
    After finishing the first tower, Antar, whose full name is Gregorius Antar Awal, received donation to build the second tower in 2016. After the second tower was built, Antar initiated the idea to renovate the homestay facilities and was given the permission by the head
of the tribe. With the help of 20 people from Suroba and two university students from Tarumanegara University, Antar envisioned the homestay restoration project as an empowerment for Suroba community for their tourism.
    In 2017, the first to be built were the bridges and honai houses for Suroba people. Akikulakma bridge is a 39-metre- long bridge made from oak tree panels that passes over the Aiki river. The big bridge is an important facility for Suroba women, whose daily duty is to harvest food and bring livestock back to the village. To prevent flood and erotion in rainy season, an additional smaller bridge was also built close by.

    “All the materials used were collected from the jungle,” Antar says. “Suroba people also replanted the trees after they cut them.” The trees that were picked included 20-year-old oak and ironwoods and some local trees, such as wip and opuruk trees.
    Honai houses for Suroba people are set in one compound called a Silimo.
A honai house is a two-storey round- shape windowless house that measures 2.5 metre in height. It has a fireplace at the centre, and a void with a ladder for access to the second floor. Weed flooring is used for both floors, while the the domed-shaped ceiling is covered with thatched roof using dry vegetation, such as straw and weed, which offer significant insulation to withstand the cold mountain climate.
    Two honai houses were built this
year: a Pilamo, for the males; and an
Uma for the females and their children. Typically, a Pilamo is bigger than an
Uma, but the structure is the same. The main difference between a Pilamo and Uma is the functions of the ground floor. In Pilamo, the ground floor is a place to receive guests and to relax, while in Uma, it serves as a storage and a place to watch the kitchen straight from their entrance.
    Antar believes that the documentation will be useful as a model for people who live in a similar environment across 
the archipelago. He is aware that the implementation needs to have a strong environmental context behind it, which
 he notes as another major issue in Indonesian architecture.
    “Indonesian houses has one similarity across the archipelago,” he says, referring to the two-season house. A two-
season house is mainly used for resting, encouraging people to do activities outdoor. Antar believes that if architects omit to explore outdoor activities and build a house the serves all functions, such as a four-season house, people will eventually abandon the importance of community living.
    Nine years of ‘Rumah Asuh’ projects, Antar and his team have completed 15 traditional villages including in Suroba, Wairebo, Sumba, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Sumatera, in which there would be some university students involved to document the projects. “The main aim is to create a synergy and to transfer these oral lore into a book so we can take lessons or even implement it in the future,” Antar says. Some of the completed projects are recorded in the book titled ‘O Kika O Suroba’, which also documents the culture and traditional architecture of honai houses.
    Antar is certain that if the ‘Rumah Asuh’ movement can provide good records on traditional houses, young Indonesian architects would start idolizing vernacular architecture that would aspire them in creating cutting-edge innovations. “Eventually young architects will have new idols beyond Frank Lloyd Wright and Zaha Hadid buildings, and it will be Nusantara architecture,” Antar said. On top of the two honai houses, ‘Suroba Memanggil’ has completed one honai stay, while the rest is planned to be completed this year.

    Visiting Suroba
    Andre Liem
    Honai Stay Coordinator from Papua Tour Guides Community (PATGOM)
    What can we look forward to in Suroba?

    If you go in May, you can see pink reed all over the place. For all the other months in the year, the traditional houses, coffee plantation, beach, and mountain are still pristine. Our ‘Jungle Chef’, Charles Toto, use a foreging technique to serve
the guests. He would hunt and take ingredients from the woods and cook them that with international flavour. Celebrities who have had a taste includes Rolling Stone vocalist Mick Jagger, who visited in December 2008. This year, Charles Toto was invited to the Ubud Food Festival and the Indonesian Culinary Festival.
    How important is Honai Stay for Suroba people?
    Honai Stay is important for the Suroba community because tourism is one ofthe main income sources in Suroba. A few years ago, tourists only came to trek and see a culture that was already too commercialized. Now, since the ‘Suroba Memanggil’ project was launched, tourists are invited to learn a more detailed story about the local architecture, food and culture. For example, the honai philosophy and honai structures are big assets for our knowledge for us and for people who want to know our culture better.
    In most cases, who are your visitors?
    Until today, it’s 99% foreigners. For example, there were tourists from Japan visiting us recently. Mostly, they are here for a week to visit different areas, and spend five days camping. They usually come in pairs, or in larger groups of 10. Ten years ago it costs US$200 – US$500 for five people, but now there is a need increase the price to maintain everything and to empower people here.

    This story was published in Edition No. 80 Jun – July 2017 / Working Spaces.
    Banyubening Prieta Banyu has been a contributing writer to The Jakarta Post, Sorge Magazine and Metronome Indonesia after graduating from Parahyangan Catholic University with a degree in international relations. She is the owner and co-founder of the Jakarta-based organic restaurant and healthy catering business Burgreens and the co-founder of Suazad Media.

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    1) Financing spotlight: Blue Abadi, a $38-million trust fund to support MPAs in the Bird’s Head region of Indonesia

    2) Freeport Indonesia workers to extend strike for a month: union


    1) Financing spotlight: Blue Abadi, a $38-million trust fund to support MPAs in the Bird’s Head region of Indonesia

    Posted on June 22, 2017 - 12:36pm, by MPA News staff

    In September 2016, several institutions — Conservation International (CI), The Walton Family Foundation, the Global Environment Facility, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) — announced a joint effort to support long-term protection of Indonesia's Bird's Head region, a highly diverse marine area in West Papua, Indonesia. The centerpiece of the effort is a new trust fund called Blue Abadi, for the Indonesian word for “forever”.
    Once fully capitalized with a target of US $38 million, the fund will be among the largest dedicated marine conservation funds in the world. Its goal is to provide self-sustained financing for the region’s MPA network, which covers 36,000 km2 of locally managed sites. The first money is already arriving. In February of this year, CI, TNC, WWF, and the Indonesian government announced their initial capitalization of the fund with $23 million.
    For insights on how the fund is structured and what drove its development, MPA News speaks with Laure Katz, director of the Seascapes Program at CI. 
    MPA News: Some conservation funds are designed to provide financing in perpetuity, while others spend down their money (or capital) over time. Which model does the Blue Abadi Fund use?
    Laure Katz: The Blue Abadi Fund is a multi-account fund, with both a sinking component and an endowment component. The sinking portion will be spent during the initial 3-5 years of fund operation, allowing the endowment capital to grow. Revenues generated from investing the Blue Abadi endowment capital on a yearly basis will be disbursed to local grantees to ensure adequate protection of the Bird’s Head Seascape in perpetuity. 
    What drove the development of the fund, aside from wanting to sustain MPAs in the Bird’s Head region?
    Katz: For several years, the primary anchor donor for the Bird’s Head Seascape has been the Walton Family Foundation. After 12 years of extremely generous support for MPAs in the Bird’s Head Seascape, the foundation has embarked on an exciting new strategy for Indonesia that focuses on fisheries reform. The establishment of the Blue Abadi Fund was motivated in part by this anticipated transition and to incentivize other long-term sustainable funding sources for the seascape so as to not be reliant on international philanthropy forever.
    Who will be in charge of managing the Fund?
    Katz: The Blue Abadi Fund will be governed by a multi-stakeholder governance committee, with representation from local and national government, local indigenous communities, conservation NGOs, donors, the private sector, and the finance sector. In turn, the governance committee will be supported by three expert committees, including a science and conservation technical advisory committee, a Papua advisory committee, and a financial advisory committee.
    The day-to-day administration of the fund will be led by the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (KEHATI). KEHATI brings over 20 years of experience administering conservation trust funds in Indonesia and is excited to work on its first ocean project.
    Grants from the Fund will be available to Bird's Head communities and agencies to support local stewardship of protected areas. When will communities and agencies be able to apply for such grants, and how should they do that?
    Katz: The Blue Abadi Fund will have two granting tracks — a primary granting facility and INOVASI, a small grants facility — to support smaller local Papuan organizations actively participating in the conservation and sustainable development of the seascape. For the primary granting facility, KEHATI will issue requests for proposals on an annual basis to targeted local agencies and organizations filling core functions within the seascape, such as MPA management, monitoring and science, or environmental education. The first round of requests for proposals was in April 2017. For the INOVASI small grants facility, KEHATI will issue an open call on an annual basis. The first open call for proposals is expected to be in September 2017 for grants starting in January 2018. 
    For more information: 
    Kipp Lanham, communications, Conservation International, 


    2) Freeport Indonesia workers to extend strike for a month: union

    Reuters Fransiska Nangoy
    Jakarta | Thu, June 22, 2017 | 07:09 pm

    Thousands of Freeport Indonesia workers and contractors hold a rally in Timika, Papua, on May 1. (Antara/Wahyu Putro A)

    Thousands of mine workers at the Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc will extend their strike for another month to protest against layoffs, a union official said on Wednesday.
    Up to 6,000 workers will remain on strike, Freeport Indonesia union industrial relations officer Tri Puspital told Reuters, putting Freeport's plan to ramp up output at risk.
    Workers started a strike in May after Freeport laid off around 10 percent of its workforce, while the miner negotiates a new mining permit with the government. (ags)

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017


                                                  Ophir energy acreage in Indonesia – IST
    Wamena, Jubi – A police officer in Wamena, Jayawijaya allegedly mistreated a minor, Friday afternoon, June 16, 2017.
    As a result the victim named Albert Nawipa (15) had to be treated at Emergency Installation (IGD) RSUD Wamena.
    Yance Tenoye from Jayawijaya Institute for Law and Human Rights Studies and Advocacy said that Albert was beaten by police officers who served in Pasar Potikelek. After got beaten the victim was also told to clean up the post in the market.

    “When the family saw and took the child out of the post, saying that the police post was not his place of work and took him out, he was brought home. Arriving at home, the family saw the bleeding from victim’s nose and finally took him to Wamena hospitals,” he said.
    Tenoye regretted the actions of police officers, especially because the victim is under age. He and the families of victims did not understand what cause of the child persecution.
    Jayawijaya Police Chief, AKBP Yan Pieter Reba confirmed to have received a report related to the alleged persecution.
    “I have not been able to give response, since Friday I am preparing for the visit of Kapolda to Wamena,” said Kapolres.
    Separately, Chairman of Advocacy Network of Law and Human Rights of the Middle Mountains, Theo Hesegem asserted that the police was not professional. Moreover, the victims of abuse are minors and persecuted in Pasar Potikelek.
    According to him, the officer/police post should be a place to serve and protect the community. (*)

    Jayapura, Jubi – Member of House Commission I Papua, Laurenzus Kadepa hopes the Police Chief of Papua, Inspector General Boy Rafli Amar did not break his promise and would investigate the alleged violence case against Albert Nawipa (15) allegedly committed by police officer of  Jayawijaya, Papua, Friday (June 16).
    Kadepa claimed to have communicated with the Papua Police Chief and that he would prosecute his members if it were true.
    “The police chief regretted the incident, saying that the police officer is now being questioned by the police chief, hoping that the victim will recover immediately,” he said to Jubi on Tuesday (June 20).

    According to him, the settlement of this case is entirely on the Papua Police to sanction individual members who allegedly carried out violence if it was proven.
    “I deeply regret that a 15-year-old boy is allegedly beaten by a police officer, I get this information from the victim’s family and the victim’s parents want the perpetrator to be processed, I ask the Police to resolve the case,” he said.
    The promise must be kept in order for the victims and their kinship to get justice. “The police chief has promised so he has to keep it, to resolve the case thoroughly,” he said.
    Separately, Head of Public Relations of Papua Police, Senior Commissioner (Pol) AM. Kamal said the police did not remain silent. After getting the information, the Papua Police Chief directly ordered the Head of Propam to proceed to Wamena, Jayawijaya and conducting an investigation. If the information is true and the results of an investigation indicate there are unscrupulous police officers, will certainly be dealt with according to the rules.
    “We got the information last night and Kapolres did not know about it yet, but this morning (June 20), the Chief of Police ordered Head of Propam to proceed to Wamena for investigation,” said Kombes (Pol) AM. Kamal.
    According to him, the Papua Police has taken steps to find out the truth of the information. If it proves that a police officer conducted violence, there will be a step taken by the institution.
    “We do not tolerate our members who have committed violations, we have been informed by Kontras friends in Jakarta, DPR RI and others,” he said. (*)