Improving Indigenous Land Management through Economic Valuation in Papua, Indonesia

Jayapura Regency, Papua Province, Indonesia
Region & Country

Indonesian policy makers have significant influence over natural resources management, but often do not fully appreciate and understand the value of those resources in Indigenous people’s management space. Without this knowledge, they often turn to corporate investment and cite Indigenous peoples as an obstacle to economic development, threatening these resources. Efforts to provide rights to Indigenous peoples, such as the Recognition and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PPHMHA) Bill, have also been stalled. Filling gaps in policy makers knowledge of these groups is crucial to ensure protections for Indigenous peoples and their natural resources.

Indigenous groups have also struggled to interpret the existence of natural resources, the spatial orientation of these assets, and their economic and sociocultural value. Improving natural resource literacy among these groups can increase awareness of their management space’s value and leverage it when threatened by external corporate investment.

To address these issues, Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) Indonesia hosted a training for Cenderawasih University’s Faculty of Economics, the WWF-Indonesia Papua regional team, and Indigenous representatives on environmental valuation. This training aimed to increase the capacity of these groups to conduct valuation studies of their own assets across Papua Province. Additionally, CSF Indonesia conducted valuation studies on five Papuan Indigenous communities. These analyses confirmed that each Indigenous community contained more than a hundred natural resource products within their territories, with their total value of direct benefits ranging from IDR 4.29 billion/year to IDR 9.50 billion/year. Meanwhile, the value of environmental services ranges from IDR 11.81 million/year to IDR 2.211 billion/year.

These findings were presented at the National Congress of Indonesian Indigenous People Alliance in Jayapura. CSF also helped WWF Indonesia and AMAN share these results with key stakeholders across Papua. AMAN and WWF plan to transform the results of this study into advocacy materials for the five villages evaluated and develop a broader outreach strategy for accelerating the legal recognition of indigenous peoples in Indonesia, including adding pressure to pass the Indigenous Peoples bill.

This study was funded by WWF Indonesia in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples' Alliance of Nusantara (AMAN) and Lecturers at the Faculty of Economics, Cenderawasih University.

Photo: Discussion on farming patterns of Indigenous peoples

Photo credit: Nuraini