Papua Province covers 31 million hectares of land and forests, most of which local communities depend directly upon for their environmental services. At the same time, Papua requires investment, job opportunities, and economic development in order to improve the standard of living of Papuan communities. Effective spatial planning development and implementation can help the local government to rationalize land use to accommodate both conservation and development objectives.
Therefore USAID LESTARI supports the development of Papua’s Spatial Planning Information Management System (Sistem Informasi Manajemen Tata Ruang or SIMTARU), a web GIS-based platform to publicly share and coordinate provincial and district-level spatial planning. SIMTARU supports the local government to issue licenses in line with the spatial plan and to monitor land use development.
Recently, Mimika District submitted a proposal to convert 32,000 hectares of forested land for the construction of an industrial estate, including land for a PT Freeport Indonesia smelter. This unnecessarily large expansion would have resulted in the conversion of vast, highly valued protected forest, including carbon-rich mangroves, sacred cultural areas, and other state forest areas to private land status (APL). Utilizing SIMTARU, the Papua Provincial government rejected this proposal, citing it was not in line with the spatial plan’s commitment to keep 90% of Papua as forest. The governor stipulated that only about 4% (about 1,200 hectares) of the land area requested for conversion would actually be needed for the industrial estate and smelter construction. SIMTARU was used to spatially estimate the much-reduced and more feasible area for the proposed industrial estate.
LESTARI aims to continue supporting the Papuan government to issue land use licenses in a transparent and effective manner, protecting high conservation value areas while at the same time ensuring that the private sector invests in Papua and supports its growth and sustainable development.