West Papua Provincial Government has issued Governor Regulation No. 25/2021 on the Designation Procedure of Indigenous People and Customary Land in November 2021. The regulation will give significant acceleration to the process of designation and recognition of customary land and indigenous people.
“The regulation cut down the bureaucratic process because of the elimination of regency/mayoralty regulation on designation and recognition and it simplifies the process of identification and verification of indigenous people and customary land,” said Reymond Richard Hendrik, the West Papua Province Secretariate’s Assistant for General Administration reading the speech addressed by West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan on the socialization of West Papua Governor Regulation No. 25/2021 in Aimas, Sorong Regency, 28 March 2022.
The regulation was issued as one of the West Papua Provincial government endeavors to create a customary land-based sustainable development. The process of recognition and protection of customary land and indigenous people has so far been endorsed by various parties such as provincial government, regency, indigenous people, and development partners consisting of some nongovernmental organizations, including EcoNusa. The 2018 Declaration of Manokwari with a commitment of defending at least 70 percent of mainland as the protected areas is among others.
The government has issued Special Regional Regulation (Perdasus) No. 9/2019 on the Manual of Recognition, Protection, Empowerment of Indigenous People and Customary Land in West Papua Province as the derivative law from the Papua Special Autonomy Law. Besides, the government has conducted a review process of palm oil license and revoked more than 350,000 hectares of concessions.
“We will prioritize the former concession areas to be returned to the indigenous people for a sustainable management,” said Reymond. Currently, the West Papua Provincial Government has processed the document on provincial spatial planning which accommodates areas for sustainable development under the indigenous people’s management.
Some regency governments have also drafted regional bylaws related to the validation of customary land and indigenous people while establishing a committee on indigenous people as it is the case with that of in Sorong Regency. Meanwhile, the indigenous people in some regencies have also conducted customary land mapping with NGO assistance.
Based on the Customary Land Registration Agency (BRWA) in October 2021, the already registered map in West Papua Province covers 32 customary lands expanding on 3.9 million hectares of areas. Econusa had assisted the indigenous people to map 6 customary lands in Sorong and South Sorong Regencies covering around 100,000 hectares. The issuance of Governor Regulation No. 25/2021 could optimize and organize the mapping process done by many parties so as to make them centralized and standardized into one customary land map.
The Governor Regulation mandated the Secretariate of West Papua Province as the data guardian of customary land map while making coordination of acceleration process of customary land mapping in West Papua Province. The data guardian will be responsible for the management of customary land map and data of both spatial and social customary land mapping.
“The designation acceleration of indigenous people and customary land is our shared responsibility which should be done continuously,” said West Papua’s Legal Bureau Head, Roberth Hammar, reading the speech addressed by Nataniel Mandacan, the Chairman of Joint Secretariate for Acceleration of Recognition and Designation of Indigenous People and Customary Land.
The Governor Regulation No. 25/2021 socialization event here was officially opened by the West Papua Province Secretariate’s Assistant for General Administration which attended by West Papua Peoples Assembly, House of Representatives’ West Papua Special Autonomy Fraction, West Papua Provincial Secretariat, Regents, and Mayors of West Papua, Secretariates and Legal Divisions of West Papua, and indigenous people representatives of West Papua. The Decree of Joint Secretariate Team Work on the Acceleration of Recognition and Designation of Indigenous People and Customary Land in West Papua Province. was stated in the event.
The Governor Regulation here is deemed the West Papua Province’s commitment manifestation focusing on a sustainable development based on customary land. The customary rights owned collectively by the indigenous people in West Papua are deemed part of the indigenous people identities that should be managed in sustainable manner for the welfare of native Papuans, both for today and next generations.
Editor: Leo Wahyudi