Papua’s Natural Forests, the Last Door of Indonesia’s Green Ecosystem – The Land of Papua is a home for one-third of Indonesia’s remaining rainforest, a home to biodiversity and a source of livelihood for indigenous peoples. For this reason, an effort for protection of the forest must be focused on the Land of Papua.

Realizing this, the Governments of Papua and West Papua agreed to unite the common vision of the Land of Papua, namely the Peaceful, Sustainable, Preserved and Dignified Land of Papua.

The agreement was stated in the Manokwari Declaration, which contains the main basis and direction for sustainable development in the Land of Papua. There are four commitments contained in the Manokwari Declaration which are part of climate action and sustainable development (Sustainable Development Goals / SDGs), namely efforts to stop deforestation are the goals of the SDGs in 2020.

The four commitments include, first, the rearrangement of the Papua and West Papua Provincial Spatial Planning in accordance with sustainable development. Second, commitment for protecting rights and strengthening the position of indigenous peoples. Third, commitment to the law enforcement in natural resource management that is incompatible with sustainable development. Fourth, commitment to natural resource management with an incentive mechanism.

So far, the central government has focused on rehabilitating of forests, but it must also be realized the importance of protecting the existing natural forests like in the Papua Land. And indigenous peoples are the main elements in protecting natural forests. This is in line with Indonesia’s efforts to achieve the national contribution target (NDC) based on the Paris Agreement (Paris Agreement).

Forests are expected to be able to contribute more than half of Indonesia’s NDC target so that steps to achieve contributions of the forest for  emission reduction, namely increasing the application of sustainable management principles both in natural production forests (reducing degradation) and production forests.

For the sake of protection of Papua’s forests from investment threats, the central government needs to support the provincial government’s efforts to realize a sustainable development in the Land of Papua. The government must strive to prevent deforestation of Papua’s forests by ceasing business permits that have entered Papua, law enforcement, improving of governance and social forestry.

In addition, global support is needed at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland to jointly contribute in preventing the global warming by protecting the remaining forests, including forests in Papua Land.

Apart from the government, the role of Papuan youth in protecting the forest is also needed very much. From the forest, he said, they get food, raw materials for houses, and medicines that can be found in the forest. Because for them, the forest is like a mother. This expression describes how the forests and nature of the Land of Papua can provide all the needs and protection like a mother.

Protecting and taking care of forests in the Land of Papua not only contributes greatly for achieving Indonesia’s NDC targets, more than that by protecting and preserving forests means respecting and protecting the rights and living space of indigenous Papuans.

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