At the end of April 2019 the government of the West Papua province, on the island of New Guinea passed legislation that the Eastern Indonesian province would establish as the country’s first ever conservation region. The legalities would ensure that sustainable development and conservation are at the frontline of any economic activity or development.
The 120,000 square kilometre province of West Papua is one of the last protected areas of unexplored wilderness and most biodiverse regions on earth, above and below sea level. Considered high global priority for conservation and preservation.
Thomas Taatjes of Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS) and a proud member of SeaLegacy notes “SeaLegacy and the individuals and network organisations mentioned in the announcement following have been working hard to bring about this ratification that will give West Papuans’ autonomy and self-determinable access to their resources,” reported Thomas. “We all feel that this is a very important development to ensure that arguably the most beautiful and marine biodiverse area on the planet gets the attention, recognition and protection that it rightly deserves, I am so pleased to have been part of this process and look forward to monitoring and supporting additional developments moving forward”.
“Today, history was made”, Cristina Mittermeier, Co-Founder of SeaLegacy, wrote in a statement. “Against an influx of seemingly insurmountable odds, the local leaders and communities of West Papua of more than 38,000 people came together to stand in defence of the natural treasures that make this incredible Indonesian province one of the most pristine and biodiverse places on earth — and on March 21, 2019, West Papua officially became the world’s first Conservation Province.”
This new environmental law will not only ensure sustainable industries and establish crucial protected areas, but it will also guarantee that West Papua’s Indigenous Peoples have access to their own resources. “Words can’t describe how I’m feeling right now.” continued Cristina Mittermeier, “but one thing I do know is that I am so proud of the work we are doing together as a network of passionate people and organisations, like Blue Sphere Foundation, Conservation International, and Indonesian Ocean Pride, to make sure that the power of people prevails when it comes to protecting our environment. We also wouldn’t be at this historic moment in time without the tireless efforts carried out by individuals like John Weller and Shawn Heinrichs, creators of the Provinsi Konservasi film and outreach campaign that you all supported at the end of 2018.”
Included in the exclusive cruising programs which the team at APS Indonesia plans for vessels visiting Indonesia. West Papua is mapped for those seeking authentic and real cruising adventures with a healthy mix of cultural, underwater and land based experiences. In addition to Bali, APS Indonesia has a dedicated base in Raja Ampat to offer the same exceptional service to APS clients in the vast and remote Raja Ampat region.