EU ambassador visits ParCiMon project sites in Papua
His Excellency Olof Skoog, Ambassador of the European Union to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN, visited Papua province, Indonesia, to encourage forest protection and sustainable development through the ParCiMon project
Ambassador Skoog visited Jayapura and Jayawijaya districts to see firsthand one of the projects to assist local people develop a ‘green’—or low-carbon emissions—economy to help mitigate climate change and grow sustainably, which is one of the European Union’s (EU) major commitments to Indonesia.
Through investing in the project called ‘Participatory monitoring by civil society of land-use planning for low-emissions development strategies’ (ParCiMon), the EU is demonstrating its faith in the nation’s pledge to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 41% in total, partly from their own effort and partly with external help.
‘Papua is very important because of its astoundingly rich and biodiverse forests’, said Ambassador Skoog at an audience at the Governor of Papua’s office in Jayapura City. ‘Europe has a fascination with Papua that we are matching with financial and technical support’. He also visited the Jayapura district head’s office and stressed the same message.
To help the special-autonomy province maintain its carbon-rich natural forests while also improving the livelihoods of its 2 million inhabitants, the four-year ParCiMon project, which began in 2013, strengthens the capacity of local governments, non-governmental organizations and communities to plan and monitor land use. Particular attention is paid to the consequences of any changes in land use on ecological functions and services and the corresponding effect on agriculture. Sustainable development is promoted through land-use planning that balances the need for economic growth with the need for maintaining the services provided by healthy ecosystems. ParCiMon helps communities and governments measure the carbon in their landscapes and feed the information into the national carbon accounting system for verification and reporting to the international community. It is co-funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
‘These activities are considered integral to robust and transparent national and international systems to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the land-based sector’, said Dr Sonya Dewi, the project leader, ‘particularly those caused by changes to land uses or land cover, particularly deforestation. Through ParCiMon, we are helping the people of Papua produce their own green economy through a method we have developed called “Land-use planning for low-emissions development strategies” or LUWES, which is already in the guidelines produced by the National Development Planning Agency for use throughout the nation. Our work here will not only help Papua but also the rest of Indonesia by testing and adapting the method to be most effective in planning a green economy’.
Visiting the village of Wambena in Jayapura district that abuts the Cyclops Nature Reserve to witness firsthand how the villagers maintained their forests, biodiversity and livelihoods and their involvement with ParCiMon, the ambassador stated that, ‘I am very impressed with the protection of the natural resources here and how enthusiastically you have embraced the need to monitor your forests’.
As well as learning techniques to measure river flow, water quality and carbon, the community also was closely involved in the development of a biodiversity monitoring technique that uses simple but scientifically robust indicators. Ambassador Skoog noted the attention to detail and commitment of the community and their desire to expand their activities throughout the district.
‘The work you have been doing is a model for everyone’, he said. ‘The Government of Indonesia and, indeed, the whole world, owes you a lot. I will carry this message not only to Jakarta but also to Europe’.
In the remote highland town of Wamena in Jayawijaya district, Ambassador Skoog attended a public consultation of the Low Carbon Development Working Group, which is made up of representatives of government agencies, NGOs and local communities.
‘The natural resources and people of Jayawijaya together constitute a treasure that should be cherished’, he said. ‘The working group can help foster economic development that doesn’t harm these two most valuable of all resources. With more and more people in Wamena supporting your work, the district is becoming a model of solid planning for a green future’.
Ambassador Skoog emphasized to the working group that he would encourage the Government of Indonesia to provide more support to the Government of Papua province to ensure that the national commitment to reducing emissions can be met while also helping the people of Papua achieve their full potential as active citizens.
This work is supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry