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Papuans as Pioneer of Sustainable Tourism Development

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Head of the West Papua Province Regional Research and Development Agency, Charlie Dany Heatubun, said the importance of the attention and empowerment of indigenous Papuans.

The platform for national dialogue on development or the 2019 Indonesia Development Forum (IDF) was held on 22-23 July 2019 at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC). Organized by the Ministry of National Development Planning, IDF brings together leaders from government, civil society, academia and the private sector to discuss solutions to the main development challenges in Indonesia.

In IDF activities, the EcoNusa Foundation participated in a special session (22/7) with the Food and Land Use (FOLU) heading in West Papua. The FOLU study discussed at the occasion was related to job creation for indigenous Papuans (OAP). The invited speakers were Prof. Dr. Charlie Dany Heatubun, Shut, MSi, FLS as Head of the West Papua Province Research and Development Agency, Dr. Keliopas Krey as a member of the West Papua Province FOLU study team and Kristian Sauyai as the Raja Ampat Homestay Association.

As is known, that 50% of Indonesia’s biodiversity is in the Land of Papua. So that preserving the existence of Papua’s forests is the same as preserving biodiversity, as well as the survival of OAP that depends on natural resources and forest ecosystems.

Raja Ampat Homestay Association, Kristian Sauyai said ecotourism activities became a potential for sustainable tourism in West Papua precisely in Raja Ampat, which is managed by local indigenous people. “70% of homestays in Raja Ampat are managed by native Raja Ampat communities. This must be maintained because if we talk about sustainable tourism we must encourage local communities to develop ecotourism, “said Kristian.

Kristian continued that the homestay made by the local Raja Ampat community is an environmentally friendly building or called a green homestay. The existence of this homestay also helps efforts to conserve fauna, for example bird populations. “Green homestay development is the main attraction and at the same time a conservation effort,” he said.

“When talking about sustainable tourism here, the community is the solution. This is what the government must pay attention to so that the government will no longer provide a large investor opportunity, but how to encourage local communities to develop their business development, “explained Kristian.

In line with Kristian, Head of the West Papua Province Regional Research and Development Agency, Charlie Dany Heatubun, said that OAP requires recognition, because OAP is part of the Indonesian nation. “OAP must be empowered so that they can take a more significant role as the country’s colors to develop Indonesia together,” Charlie said.

At the end of the program Charlie praised the IDF concept as a good place to bring together all stakeholders, so as to increase capacity, both local government organizations and existing human resources.

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