Conservation Village Management

Villages in Papua and Development

  • Project Reports
  • 2020
  • [my-books-attachments]


Villages in and around Papua’s forests are generally still traditional. The characteristics of a traditional village include a population of under 1,000 people, strong customs, a healthy environment, a life depending on forest products, and a sharing economic system. In general, the social, ecological, and economic systems of the villages in Papua are still conservative. This means that the forest is still sufficient as a source of livelihood. The community’s dependence on the forest as evidenced by the variety of jobs in the village. For mountain people, the main livelihood is farming and hunting. As for coastal communities in mangrove areas, their livelihoods are fishermen and farming.

Forests are owned collectively (ulayat), not individually. This makes the social bond very strong because they are bound by the place to look for. The linkages and attachments to land for seeking to affect the economic system of the villagers. Economic relationships are not always profit and loss but sharing. The principle of sharing is one way they save fortune and food for their families and relatives. Villagers in Papua will not starve, because there are still relatives and relatives who can share food, share space to live and live. This socio-economic-ecological system is well established and has been institutionalized in the form of customary institutions. They have unwritten rules that are strictly adhered to. In this case, traditional elders have a strategic role in keeping village life in harmony.

The development program, the presence of the company, and the opening of access to global markets have changed the lives of the villages in Papua. Traditional livelihoods have begun to be abandoned and even replaced with subsidies or compensation from companies, programs from agencies, Village Fund Allocations, Village Funds, special autonomy, and so on. Many feel that this subsidy will erode the social cohesion and economic resilience of the community. In responding to these external factors, villages in Papua must be prepared, both in terms of government and human resources. In practice, strong customary institutions are not fully compatible with government governance in village development. Papua’s special autonomy can actually be a door for adjusting government and customary governance in building villages so that they are in accordance with the Papuan context.

We hope that Kampung Lestari can become the basis for making changes to the village for the better through programs and activities that are in accordance with the socio-economic-ecological conditions of the village towards a sustainable life. Social sustainability is achieved when social relations are stable, society is cohesive (unified whole), there no inequalities (gender, social class). Economic sustainability is achieved if the basic needs of household units and villages are met on a regular basis for the long term. Environmental/ecological sustainability is achieved when the productivity of natural resources that sustain life is protected and utilized in a balanced way. Kampung Lestari is the vehicle for the Papuan people to move towards the vision of 2100, namely the happiness of the quality of life for all people at the highest level, fairly and equitably.

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