Biodiversity and cultural diversity richness for creative economy in Papua

Freddy Pattiselanno (School of Animal Science, University of Papua, Manokwari)

Publication about New Guinea

Publication about New Guinea

Scientific scholars have extensively written and acknowledged three foremost richness of Papua. They are biodiversity, cultural diversity and natural resources that play important role in the current modern Papua development.

In terms of biodiversity, Papua is currently considered an area of global priority for biodiversity conservation because, in part, of the species-rich forest environment of Australopapuan fauna, as well as of many uniquely New Guinean species. Anthropological studies indicate that hot spots of high biodiversity are associated with regions where traditional societies are frequently found. Papua had approximately 255 ethnic groups and 275 languages.Papua has also huge reserves of natural resources in the mining and oil and gas sectors and continues to retain some 80 percent forest cover, including large reserves of commercially valuable lowland rain forests.

Housing condition along the coast

Housing condition along the coast

Despite its biodiversity, cultural and natural resources richness, Papua and West Papua are among the eight provinces with the highest level of poverty in the country. West Papua was the second province with highest poverty rate (26.67 percent), after neighboring Papua (31.13 percent). Further to fight poverty and reaching targets set for regional own-source revenue (PAD) of the province, other purposes are competing for the use of land, including for extractive industries such mining and logging and for booming commercial plantations like for the palm oil industry. That’s the fundamental reasons why governments depend on extractive industries such as mining, logging and modern agricultural plantation to generate revenues.

The reliance on extractive initiatives is commonly overlaps with the weakness of local government control and lack of economic alternatives create negative impact on the environment and local livelihoods. In the course of the development processes, the rich natural resource’s potentials are facing pressures due to environmental degradation and extinction of biodiversity and its ecosystem.

Aware of the threats on that richness, the right policy is deemed very imperative for the development of Papua to avoid harmful mistakes in the course of development in the future. The potentials of biodiversity and ecosystem services in Papua are the basis for the development to increase the welfare of indigenous Papuans. These potentials need to be assessed, managed, packaged and to be introduced and promoted through creative economic development and ecotourism in order to maintain the dignity and quality of life of the indigenous Papuans and to eradicate poverty, ignorance, underdevelopment, isolation, backwardness, injustice and death .



Therefore, scientific approaches are required to have relevance information to further establish the right policies in order to support the sustainable development in Papua. The International Conference on Biodiversity, Eco-tourism and Papua Creative Economy (ICBE) was conducted on 7-10 September 2016 in Jayapura to provide the required information for future Papua sustainable development.

Outcomes of the conference is to provide the information on potentials of biodiversity and ecotourism in Papua, to promote the ecosystem services and cultures as an asset for ecotourism, boosting and accelerating the creative economies based on biodiversity and ecotourism to improve the welfare of Indigenous Papuans. The most important objective is to make Papua the front-line in sustainable economic development. In total eight hundred participants from Indonesia and abroad such as United States, Europe, UK, Brazil, Spain, Australia, Japan, China, Korea and Papua New Guinea are involved. They comprise of national government, provincial government, district/ municipalities authorities, national and international non-government organizations, scientists from different background and indigenous Papuans that seriously discussed the actions need to be taken.

Opening Ceremony of ICBE 2016

Opening Ceremony of ICBE 2016

Representatives of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, Fishery and Marine and Tourism presented the government policies in supporting biodiversity for ecotourism and creative economy. The representative of the Ministry of Research and Technology and Higher Education acknowledged the importance of research to establish data base of the relevance information for sustainable development. At the provincial level, the governor and relevance local government working unit (SKPD) explained the program for the future development of Papua. While lesson learned of ecotourism development have been presented by the tourism practitioner from Ghana, Brazil, Spain, Japan, China and Papua New Guinea.

In the scientific sessions, representatives from international NGOs, local scientists from UNIPA and UNCEN together with foreign scientists from the US, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand presented their works for the development of biodiversity based of ecotourism in Papua. Affirmative actions have been recommended to support the conference goals. The most proposed action is to provide relevance regulations on biodiversity, ecotourism and creative economy to accommodate the importance of the native Papuans. Urgent action need to be followed up for the patent rights acknowledgement of molecular aspects on biodiversity and cultural creations of local communities.

The conference also suggests the importance of establishing a scientific authority agency in Papua that function as a Research Ethics Committee, source of scientific information data base, collaboration research unit that play important role as a frontline guard in protecting Papua’s biodiversity for the future gold generation. Thus, it is urgent to build Papua Botanical Garden and Natural Museum as the source of Papua’s biodiversity information in Papua.

Traditional ceremony

Traditional ceremony

Furthermore, record and store all the traditional wisdom including, dance, song, folklore and the diverse of ethnic creations is urgent to utilize the potency of socio-cultural aspects of Papua as part of ecotourism promotions. These potential products can also be utilized to empower local communities for creative economy purposes.

Having its natural beauty from the forests, mountains, lakes, rivers as well as marine ecosystems should also be considered for options by combining them with biodiversity richness together with the cultural aspects in promoting ecotourism and creative economy. Therefore protecting the natural ecosystems from degradation is important to maintain the source of revenue from the ecosystem services sustainable.

Cenderawasih Bay National Marine Park

Cenderawasih Bay National Marine Park

Proposing the marine ecosystem of Raja Ampat as a part of Coral Triangle, the Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park, Biak and Padaido Nature Reserve and the glacier ecosystems of Lorentz National Park for cultural heritage from UNESCO is important to promote the biodiversity richness for ecotourism purpose that fully support creative economy for local community benefits.

"Noken" a traditional multifunctions bag

“Noken” a traditional multifunctions bag

To follow up, serious study is proposing by Papua Institute of Art and Culture (ISBI Papua) to have legal and scientific bases in promoting “noken” and Bird of Paradise as Papua’s icon.

Finally, being richness in biodiversity and cultural diversity might benefit ecotourism in Papua in particular to promote Wonderful Indonesia and accommodating creative economy for native Papuans.

Notes: Figures were taken from relevant websites

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