West Papua Forest Frontier
With declining forest cover in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Papua is the last frontier of intact forest in Indonesia. Indonesian Papua—which occupies the western half of New Guinea, the world’s second-largest island, and includes the provinces of Papua and West Papua—held 38 percent of Indonesia’s remaining primary forest in 2012. Home to one of the most biodiverse forests on Earth, as many as 20,000 plant species, 602 birds, 125 mammals and 223 reptiles live in Indonesian Papua. The forest also supports local people who rely on it for traditional sources of livelihood.
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Located on the western half of the island of New Guinea and long racked by a simmering violent separatist insurgency, Papua encompasses Indonesia’s two easternmost provinces.
A former Dutch colony, West Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia in 1969, after an undisputed vote of about 1,025 representative tribal leaders. The result of the plebiscite was overseen and endorsed by the United Nations.
Since the democratization in 1998, especially since 2007, democracy by mean of elections has been introduced to increase political participation in the two provinces. The fact that the leaders of Papua and West Papua provinces are democratically elected by the people has strengthened the legality of the region as a province of Indonesia.
During the Abdurrahman Wahid administration in 2000, aside from changing the province name from “Irian Jaya” to “Papua”, Papua gained a “Special Autonomy” status, a political compromise between Papuans and the central government.
The political will of politicians in Jakarta to proceed with the implementation of the Special Autonomy was formalized in 2001 with the special autonomy law.
This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.