Author: Liam Taylor
Late last month the West Papuan government approved legislation that establishes the eastern Indonesian province as the country’s first ever conservation province. This legal framework will ensure that sustainable development and conservation are placed at the forefront of any economic activity or development.
West Papua is one of the last bastions of unexplored wilderness on the planet. The 120,000 square kilometre province is one of the most biodiverse regions of the globe, both on the land and below water, and as such has been considered an area of global priority for conservation.
The province is also home to the Raja Ampat islands in the Coral Triangle, which is home to the most biodiverse marine ecosystems on the planet and regarded as the epicentre of global marine life. The area is home to more than 1,300 species of coral reef fish, 600 species of hard coral,700 species of mollusc, five endangered sea turtle species and much more.
The establishment of West Papua as a conservation province aims to ensure marine and terrestrial ecosystems remain intact, the development of sustainable livelihoods is promoted, and the rights of indigenous peoples are recognised. It was drafted with input from local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organisations and academics.
With a high percentage of the population living in poverty, those involved hope that West Papua can provide an example to the world of how development and conservation can be achieved simultaneously.
“In vital biodiverse places like West Papua, the stakes are high and the margin for error slim, so reconciling development and conservation is something we must get right,” said Pieter Kodjol, Chairperson of the West Papua Regional Representative Council, in a statement.
“This legislation helps demonstrate that protecting Earth’s ecosystems unlocks value for sustainable development and livelihoods.”
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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.
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