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Environment

Fish aggregating devices damages Papua’s marine ecosystem

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Illustration of a beach in Papua. – Jubi/Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – John Gobay, a member of Papua House of Representatives from Meepago customary area, said fish aggregating devices (FADs) are possibly damaging the marine ecosystem in Papua.

These FADs neglect the local wisdom of indigenous Papua,” Gobai told Jubi on Monday (4/6/2018). Therefore, he proposes regulation and agreement on the prohibition of FADs in the Papua’s coastal areas.

“Moreover, the tools used by non-Papuan fishermen who give a monthly payment to someone rather than paying a contribution to indigenous tribes as well as to the customary landowner,” he explained.

It often raises a conflict between the local and migrant fishermen, like what happened in Pomako, Mimika, on 1 August 2017. “Consequently, indigenous fishermen often exclude from the fishing spaces that are already occupied by non-Papuan fishermen,” he said.

A Papua fisherman Musye Weror appreciates Gobai’s idea to seek an establishment of the regulation for native fishermen. “We’ve been having a lot of drawbacks over the years because we still use the traditional fishing tools,” said Weror. (*)

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

Analysis

Activists fear Indian proposal for coal reserves in Indonesian-ruled Papua

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Forest clearance and plantation development in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (PT MJR) palm oil concession in Papua. The region is home to the world’s third-largest rainforest, but is facing intense pressure due to the logging, palm oil and mining industries. Image: Ulet Infansasti/Greenpeace

By Febriana Firdaus in Jakarta

As it seeks to diversify its sources of fuel, India is looking to get in on the ground floor of coal mining in previously unexploited deposits in Indonesian-ruled Papua.

In exchange for technical support and financing for geological surveys, officials say India is pushing for special privileges, including no-bid contracts on any resulting concessions a prospect that could run foul of Indonesia’s anti-corruption laws.

The details of an Indian mining project in Papua are still being negotiated, but Indonesia’s energy ministry welcomes the prospect as part of a greater drive to explore energy resources in the country’s easternmost provinces.

In future, the ministry hopes mining for coking coal will support the domestic steel industry, while also bringing economic benefits to locals.

Rights activists, however, fear the launch of a new mining industry could deepen tensions in a region where existing extractive projects have damaged the environment and inflamed a long-running armed conflict.

Indonesia’s new coal frontier

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Jakarta last month, joint efforts to extract and process Indonesia’s fossil fuels, including coal, were on the agenda.

India’s interest in investing in a new coking coal mining concession in Papua can be traced to 2017, when officials from the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), both Indian government institutes, met with Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in Jakarta.

The bilateral plan was announced by then-ministry spokesman Sujatmiko after the first India Indonesia Energy Forum held in Jakarta in April 2017. “The focus is on new territories in Papua,” he said.

To follow up, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources sent a team to India in early May. The current energy ministry spokesman, Agung Pribadi, who was part of the delegation, told Mongabay that officials from state-owned energy giant Pertamina, major coal miner PT Adaro Energy, and state-owned electricity firm PLN also joined the meeting.

The Indonesian team presented research outlining the potential for mining high-caloric content coal in West Papua province, and lower-caloric coal in Papua province.

According to the team’s report, only 9.3 million tons of reserves have so far been identified. By contrast, Indonesia as a whole expects to export 371 million tons of coal this year. However, the true extent of coal deposits could be larger, said Rita Susilawati, who prepared the report presented during the meeting and is head of coal at the ministry’s Mineral, Coal and Geothermal Resources Centre. “Some areas in Papua are hard to reach due to the lack of infrastructure. We were unable to continue the research,” she explained.

During the visit, Indian and Indonesian officials discussed conducting a geological survey in Papua, Agung said. India would finance the survey using its national budget. With Indonesian President Joko Widodo prioritising infrastructure investment, the energy ministry has few resources to conduct such surveys.

Expected privileges

Indonesia also anticipates benefiting and learning from India’s experience in processing coking coal.

In exchange, India expected privileges from the Indonesian government, including the right to secure the project without a bidding process, Agung said.

Indonesia denied the request, and the talks were put on hold. Approving it would have been too risky, Agung said, since the bidding process is regulated in Indonesia. “We recommend they follow the bidding process or cooperate with a state-owned enterprise,” Agung said.

India’s ministry of coal did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Energy and mining law expert Bisman Bakhtiar said there was still a chance India could get the rights to develop any resulting coal concessions without having to go through an open bidding process. “It can proceed under the G-to-G (government-to-government) scheme by signing a bilateral agreement,” he said.

This form of agreement would supersede the ministerial regulations requiring competitive bidding, Bisman explained, although he said any such agreements should emphasise that any projects must be carried out according to local laws.

There is precedent in Indonesia for G-to-G schemes bypassing the open bidding process, Bisman said. For example, multiple projects have been carried out on the basis of cooperation agreements with the World Bank and Australia. In another instance, Indonesian media mogul Surya Paloh imported crude oil from Angola via a bilateral cooperation agreement with Angola’s state-owned oil company Sonangol.

Draft law

A draft law currently being discussed in the House of Representatives could also smooth the path for India. It says that if there is agreement between Indonesia and a foreign government to conduct geological studies, the country involved will get priority for the contract.

However, this would still require the country to meet market prices. “We called it ‘right to match.’ If there are other parties who offer lower prices, then they should follow that price,” Bisman said.

Another option would be for India to appoint one of its local companies to work with Indonesian private sector giant Adaro or state-owned coal miner PT Bukit Asam. Such a deal could be conducted as a business-to-business (B-to-B) agreement, and would be legal according to Indonesia’s Energy Law.

Or, Indonesia could assign a state-owned firm like Bukit Asam to work with India based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both countries.

“But all these options have a potential risk,” Agung said. “They can be categorised as collusion by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).” He said a conventional bidding process should be prioritised.

Bisman said India needed to consider other risks, such as the social and political situation in Papua. The region is home to an armed pro-independence movement and has faced decades of conflict around the world’s largest and most profitable gold and copper mine, Grasberg, owned by US-based Freeport McMoRan.

‘Land grab’

Despite the presence of the mine, Papua remains Indonesia’s poorest province, with some of the worst literacy and infant mortality rates in Asia. Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), a state-funded body, has characterised Freeport’s concession as a “land grab,” for which the original stewards of the land, the Amungme and Kamoro indigenous people, were never properly consulted or compensated.

The Indonesian energy ministry’s own research says that any project must take into account the impact on Papua’s indigenous peoples, and must factor in specific local concepts of land ownership, leadership and livelihood.

Franky Samperante, executive director of rights advocacy group Yayasan Pusaka, said he was worried about the plan. “It is way too risky,” he said, pointing to the social and environmental fallout of the Grasberg mine.

“There should be communication between the mining company and indigenous Papuans,” he said, warning Jakarta to carefully calculate the social, environmental and national security impacts.

Local indigenous people need to be meaningfully involved in the decision-making process, he said, especially since the mining would occur in and near forests where indigenous people live and gather and hunt their food. (*)

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

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Economy

Papua House of Representatives will promote Ambaidiru coffee

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Secretary of the Papua House of Representatives, Juliana J Waromi (standing) with several members of the House of Representatives during a meeting with the community, coffee farmers, and officials of Ambaidiru – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – The Secretary of the Papua House of Representatives Juliana J Waromi said the house is ready to help the community of Ambaidiru Village, Kosiwo Sub-district, Yapen Islands District to promote their coffee.

She said she and several legislators visited the 60 hectares Ambaidiru coffee plantation area a few days ago in response to the aspiration of the local community. “I want to see it directly. If it’s good, I will help them to find a market. Based on my experience working with the Investment Coordination Board Papua for three years, I could promote the coffee to abroad,” said Waromi on (5/6/2018).

A coffee farmer Yulianus Maniamboy recently told Jubi that the coffee plantation in Ambaidiru firstly introduced in the Dutch era. The Dutch tried to plant it and worked. Ambaidiru coffee is now over 50 years old.

“Instead of in groups, we manage our commodity individually. Farmers dry their coffee by their own. There is no control, not centralised and consequently, the quality of coffee is still very varied. However, in the past years, we could produce a ton of coffee per month. That’s because there was no disruption and the management of the cooperative was good,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Environment

Nine fish species found in Fakfak coastal areas

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Nine fish species found in the coastal areas of Berau Bay dan Nusalasi-Van Den Bosch Bay, Fakfak District. – Jubi/Doc CI Indonesia, Fakfak

Manokwari, Jubi – The Conservation International (CI) Indonesia in Fakfak has identified nine species of coral fish as new species because it has not scientifically included in Pisces taxonomy.

The Program Manager of CI Indonesia for Fakfak Nur Ismu Hidayat said this finding made during the survey on the potential of coastal areas in Fakfak in two-week diving at the Berau Bay, Kokas sub-district and Nusalasi-Van Den Bosch Bay, Karas sub-district.

“From two weeks of diving at the northern Fakfak (the coastal area of Berau Bay), we can identify six new species. Then three species were identified in the western Fakfak, namely the coastal areas of Nusalasi-Van Den Bosch Bay located at Karas sub-district,” Hidayat told Jubi on Friday (1/6/2018) in Manokwari. Further, he said the habitats of the nine fish are quite varied, from the depth of 1-2 metres with average wave condition, muddy sediment to the coral area.

“One of the newfound fish, 6-centimetre black fish with the light-coloured mouth like wearing lipstick, is classified in Pomacentrus Family based on its morphology. This species cannot find in other places. Based on this fact, the researchers strongly assume the species is the endemic fish of Fakfak coastal sea,” said Hidayat. Moreover, he said the nine new fish species are not possible to consume because of their size, but they potentially become decorative fish that people can enjoy their beauty in their natural habitats, so, it’s potential for ecotourism development.

Furthermore, he said the coral and marine biota in Fakfak are extraordinary. Fakfak coastal area is also a safe habitat for rare fish species that rarely found in other sea areas.  “For instance, the gong-liked black parrot fish (large coral fish species which a bulge front head looked like a gong), known as Chlorurus Oedema, was successfully captured during the survey in the estuary of the Nusalasi-Van Den Bosch Bay,” added Hidayat.

Meanwhile, a lecturer from Universitas Papua (Unipa) Manokwari Keylopas Krey said the potential of local species in West Papua Province is quite high, but it has not well documented. For the new finding, the researcher certainly will take a systematic and scientific procedure. “In the process to identify the taxonomy, morphology and genetic analysis would be applied to confirm and validate whether these nine species are new species that evolve or have a relationship with other species in that area,” said Krey.

The finding of these alleged new fish species is a good prospect for science. Therefore the reserve management of this area couldn’t be separated from science. It means science will be applied to improve the application system and national and international records about regional potencies.

“Unipa will not only continue to encourage the smart steps of many parties in protecting the environment in the entire of the land of Papua as the centre of biodiversity; but also keep to push all the parties for taking positive steps toward the sustainable development management,” he said.

Moreover, he added,” there are high conservation values that need to maintain. Therefore, the development in Papua, especially in West Papua Province, can always prioritise the values that respect to the future of local wisdom for our future generation.” (*)

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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