Moving New Directions for Change in Papua – The post-amendment of Law No. 21/2001 on Papua’s Special Autonomy to Law No. 2/2021, implies the hope of accelerated development and a solution to Papua’s problems. Moreover, the revision of the law was followed by the releasing of derivative regulations, both PP and Presidential Regulation regarding the Steering Committee for the Acceleration of Special Autonomy Development for Papua (BP3OKP) and the Master Plan for the Acceleration of Papuan Development (RIPPP) or the 20-year Papua Development Master Plan (2022-2041).

The changes to the Special Autonomy Law and this policy package show that the central government is committed and making serious efforts to improve welfare and justice for the Papuan people, especially the local population (native Papuans/OAP).

The policy package is reflected in the program and fund mobilization, not only the Special Autonomy Fund of 2.25% (1.25 is a special grant to districts/cities, and 1% block grant to the province), but also the concentration of programs and sectoral funds from ministries and agencies so that they are right on target according to the needs of the community or OAP. It is also hoped that it will have an impact on the comprehensive resolution of the Papua issue.

The seven cultural areas approach (Tabi, Lapago, Meepago, Animha, Saireri, Domberai, and Bomberai) based on ecological zones, is the right choice targeting indigenous peoples, religions, and women. This policy package binds the government from the center to regencies/cities, as well as the Papuan DPR (DPRP) and regency/municipal DPRD as well as other stakeholders to solve Papua’s problems through accelerated development. Acceleration of development as a solution to the Papua problem does not only concern articles 45 and 46 of the Papua Special Autonomy Law, but also includes economic and social issues which for the past 20 years have not been optimally leveraged.

This policy package is a norm-matter full of concepts that need real action. The concrete actions were described, among others, by filling in the members of the DPRP and district/city DPRD who were appointed from OAP elements, in accordance with PP No. 106/2021 on the Authority and Institutional Implementation of the Special Autonomy Policy for the Province of Papua.

In addition, the use of performance-based Otsus and non-Otsus funds (PP No 107/2021) such as a 1% block grant aimed at the development, maintenance and implementation of public services, improving the welfare of OAP and strengthening traditional institutions, and other matters based on needs and regional priorities.

The last two things are regional policies that can be carried out by joint sharing between provinces and regencies/cities. Specific grant 1.25% which the use is based on performance at the district/city level with an allocation of 30% of education expenditure and 20% of health expenditure.

The substance of the Master Plan for the Acceleration of Development in Papua targets at least five things. The five are human resources development, economic development and community empowerment, basic infrastructure development and connectivity, sustainable environmental management, and strengthening the governance.

President Joko Widodo focused on three priority agendas, namely health (Healthy Papua), development and improvement of human resources through education (Smart Papua), and community and economic empowerment (Productive Papua).

The three leading Otsus sectors are supported by infrastructure and connectivity (Papua Tersambung), electricity (Papua Terang), sanitation, clean water and a sustainable environment including West Papua which has been declared a conservation province (Papua Lestari), preserving its culture and values, including the determination of Papua as a sports province (Papua Proud).

Papuan architecture is a big and complex challenge based on local wisdom that is oriented to the cultural area and based on the dimensions of the ecological zone that cannot be done only by the government. A comprehensive recovery involving indigenous peoples, religions (churches), women, and Papuan millennials is a series of actions that require coordination.

At this level, the existence of BP3OKP becomes an anchor as well as directs and guides so that each priority activity can be focused and on target, both programs and funds. Thus avoiding overlapping or sectoral egos in the development and empowerment of the Papuan people. In addition, it is ensured that the expenditure of Special Autonomy funds is in accordance with the priorities mandated in Law No. 2/2021.

The implementation of priority programs and supporting programs for Healthy Papua, Smart Papua, and Productive Papua along with their funding is crucial in the field. Therefore, in supervision and monitoring, it involves a supervisory component from central and regional government institutions including the legislature.

This is where the organization of indigenous peoples and women’s organizations is needed to help manage their organizations, as well as their institutional capacities. From religious organizations, such as churches, it doesn’t matter, because they have experience in managing programs and funds and even accountability. Thus avoiding the bureaucratization of programs and funds that are the rights and authorities of the community through traditional, religious, and women’s institutions.

Likewise, sectoral programs and funds are directed to support the Special Autonomy program. In a context like this, the experience of the Joint Development for Papua or JDF in the 1970s to 1990s can be adopted so that people can independently finance themselves according to the potential that exists in their environment (land, forest, sea).

Sectoral programs and funds are synergized with Special Autonomy programs and funds. For example, the building of a health center. The sectoral program of the Ministry of Health is responsible for building Puskesmas and their physical facilities, while the Special Autonomy funds for health are for the availability of drugs and medical personnel. This is to ensure that when people seek treatment, they receive excellent and complete service.

If the Special Autonomy funds cannot cover the needs of the Puskesmas, it can be taken from other sectoral funds. With a note that all of this must be programmed beforehand, so that there is no shortage of terms that result in services for the community.

Likewise in the education sector, including the availability of teachers and the large number of Papuan children who are not yet in school focusing of Agus Sumule from UNIPA. This requires technocratic, statistical, mathematical work based on data about needs. The most important thing is to determine how many OAP. This problem is one of the tasks of BP3OKP which will partner with BPS Papua and religious institutions to actualize OAP data.

This description gives a strong signal that reformation and the way governmental bureaucracy works is required to adapt and be sensitive to the needs and demands of progress in accordance with the changes in the direction of this policy. Bureaucracies that are responsive and sensitive to make structural changes that adapt to the climate and bureaucratic culture based on digital technology, no longer work in isolation. This is in accordance with the acronym PAPUA (Protection, Affirmation, Empowerment, Universal and Accountability).

The arrangement of the government bureaucracy will also be characterized by digitalization requiring all programs and funds and activities to be accessible to the public. The bureaucratic restructuring includes the improvement and quality of ASN, institutional capacity, and a more professional bureaucratic culture.

Experience has shown that over the past 20 years, the government bureaucratic machine is one of the obstacles that also affects the optimization of the achievement of Otsus objectives. What is most felt at the district level, for example, is the delay in accountability for the use of Otsus funds which is a problem every year, so that the provincial government must work hard to hold it accountable.

The widest possible disclosure of information is a demand that cannot be ignored by government agencies and other public institutions. Bureaucratic digitization requires open access to information from planning, implementation, to evaluation and reporting. This is to avoid misappropriation of programs and especially funds.

One thing that should be appreciated is that the central government opens the door for economic cooperation and the development of Melanesian culture with allied countries and communities in the Pacific. Papua is a gateway for trade and economic transactions with the Pacific Region and a center for research and development of Melanesian culture.

Author: Frans Maniagasi (Member of the Papua Working Group, Jakarta Community Association Cares for Papua in Jakarta).

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