West Papua Province needs incentives from various parties to support the initiated conservation program.
This is to support local communities as the main conservation actors to be able to protect their forests without having to sell them to meet their daily needs. The issue was one of the topics on the second day of 2018 International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecotourism, and Creative Economy (ICBE) in Manokwari, West Papua.
“If we think that conservation is about prohibiting people from cutting down trees in forests, then what will they eat? But, on the other hand, if they continue to cut down trees to get an income, then the forests and all the biodiversity in them will disappear. The income will only be enjoyed for now but nature and the biodiversity will not be there for our children and grandchildren in the next 50-100 years. It will be difficult to restore the forests that we have destroyed,” said West Papua Province Regional Secretary Nataniel D. Mandacan.
The challenge is how the central government and other environmentalists to collaborate in creating an appropriate funding scheme so that the indigenous people working to protect forests and other conservation areas in Papua are in good financial shape. The West Papua Provincial Government itself targets 70 percent of the area for conservation areas in the Regional Spatial Plan (RTRW). It will be reviewed in line with the regional legislation that will be issued regarding the RTRW revision in West Papua Province.
West Papua also expects the Central Government to support its determination as a conservation area by issuing policies regarding incentives for the regions in the form of Ecological Fiscal Transfers.
The University of Indonesia’s Research Center for Climate Change researcher Sonny Mumbunan said that the funding from the Central Government was possible to be carried out through the General Allocation Fund mechanism. The formula uses the land cover indicator as a reference in allocating funds from the State Budget.
“So, for regions that have certain forest land cover and an increase in area cover, incentives will be given. I have discussed this mechanism with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Home Affairs and received different responses,” explained Sonny Mumbunan, adding that this mechanism had been successful in Brazil and India.
University of Papua academic Ludia Wambrauw requested that funds included in the conservation frame should not be given directly to the community without assistance. There have been cases that the use of funds was only temporary and failed.
“Funding is important, but the most important thing is providing assistance in order to remain sustainable. In the long-term, there must be assistance to the community so that the built economy is also sustainable, “Ludia said.
For this reason, the local government can utilize development partners who have been providing direct assistance to the community, both from NGOs and academics.