Category Archives: Development

The Dutch Return, This Time as Friends

Cornelis de Houtman, the first Dutch traveler to arrive in Indonesia and generations of other Dutch officials, traders and investors that came later, knew well how Indonesia could provide a lifeline for the Netherlands for hundreds of years, while making themselves very rich in the process.

And now, with Europe still struggling to cope with an economic downturn, Indonesia’s significance is back on the table, offering massive opportunities for the Dutch economy.

The Netherlands is sending its largest delegation since the independence of its former colony in 1945, a visit that has been dubbed by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as “the most serious effort to synergize the two countries that have deep historical ties for the sake of present and future mutual benefits.”

Dutch PM Mark RutteRutte, who leads 200 businesspeople representing more than 100 companies and research institutes on a three-day visit, will meet today with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as the Netherlands aims to build a new chapter of deeper cooperations with Indonesia, while trying to offset incidents that have damaged relations with its former colony in recent years.

“We have a long and difficult history together. But we must focus on the future, not only on the past, for the mutual benefits of the two countries,” Rutte told the Jakarta Globe in an interview in his office last week.

New era of relations

To show that the visit is historic and crucial, Rutte and Yudhoyono will sign an unprecedented joint declaration on comprehensive partnership between the two countries to take the relations to a new high.

The declaration will become an umbrella agreement for both countries to boost their cooperation further.

“The declaration marks the new era of our relations and cooperation. The partnership will focus on water management, logistics, infrastructure, food security and agriculture and education,” said Rutte, who will be accompanied by several key ministers and officials, including Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen and Minister for Agriculture Sharon Dijksma.

Rutte stressed that what is important for both the Netherlands and Indonesia is how the countries can benefit each other in the future.

Bernard Bot, an influential Dutch senior diplomat and former foreign minister, who declared in 2005 that the Netherlands acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1945, agreed that it’s time for both countries to come to terms with past and move ahead. “There’s so much we can do together for the sake of our future,” he said.

“It’s for real now,” Retno LP Marsudi, the Indonesian ambassador to the Netherlands, said in a separate interview.

Concrete offers

On water management, the Netherlands has funded a master plan for a massive sea wall in Jakarta Bay to prevent tidal flooding and to manage the flow of water within the capital.

The area behind the 35-kilometer long, 15-kilometer wide wall will be turned into office complexes, malls and other commercial buildings. There is even a plan to relocate all government offices to the area once it is completed by 2025.

“The master plan will be finished by early next year and groundbreaking will begin later in the year,” Retno said.

The Netherlands, Rutte said, has always had to deal with high water and sea waves in order to survive, considering that the country is partly below sea level. He added that his country would bring state-of-the-art technology for Indonesia to use.

“It’s time for the Netherlands to empower Indonesians by equipping them to fish, not by merely providing the fish,” said Jesse Kuijper, a businessman who will join Rutte to Jakarta and who heads the Netherlands-based Indonesia-Nederland Society.

On logistics, Dutch companies could help Indonesia build world-class seaports across the country while in agriculture several Dutch firms have offered their Indonesian counterparts investment and technology to enable the country’s farmers to produce food with the latest technology at a time when prices are rising and the nation is struggling to feed its people.

“The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products, and we have many areas we can work together,” said Rutte.

In education, Indonesia has asked the Netherlands to treat Indonesian students as local students, so that they pay lower tuition fees. “It would be an excellent gesture from the Dutch government if the Indonesian students are treated as locals,” said Kuijper.

Difficult time in Europe

Rutte acknowledged that Europe and the Netherlands are facing tough times. “We have a difficult period at the moment. I do believe that we have made good strides but there is still a long way to go,” he said.

He said he admired Indonesia’s high economic growth of 6 percent annually. “We are jealous,” he said, smiling.

The latest figures from the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) show the Netherlands economy grew by just0,1 percent in the last quarter compared to the previous.

The CBS also reported that there were 46,000 fewer jobs in the third quarter.

“Indonesia can offer Dutch businesspeople a place for investment with a huge market of 240 million people and a growing middle class of over 100 million, as well as entry gate to the bigger market of Asean,” said Aleksius Jemadu, dean of Pelita Harapan University’s School of Social and Political Sciences.

He said the Netherlands now sees Indonesia as a successful democracy with long-term stability. “Relations between Indonesia and the Dutch should be more special — more than other ties — because we have a long history together. We can synergize, with Indonesia providing natural resources and markets and the Dutch providing capital, knowledge and technology,” Aleksius said.

He added that the Netherlands can offer Indonesia the opportunity to become a producer and not just a consumer. “It is now depending on Indonesia to realize the goals,” Aleksius said.

The Netherlands already is Indonesia’s second-biggest trading partner in Europe. In 2012, trade between the two countries was worth $4.7 billion.

Blast form the past

Relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands have experienced ups and downs, with two incidents proving particularly embarrassing for leaders of both countries in the last few years.

President Yudhoyono was forced to cancel his trip to the Netherlands in 2010 after a group of Moluccan independence activists filed a motion in the Dutch courts to arrest the president for gross human rights violations in Maluku and Papua.

Relations became tense after the trip was canceled, with many in Indonesia blaming the Dutch for insulting Yudhoyono.

The relations plunged into a new low when the Dutch government had to cancel the sale of Leopard tanks to Indonesia last year after the parliament voted to reject the deal. Indonesia then angrily turned to Germany to buy the same tanks.

Rutte, who loves Indonesian food like nasi goreng and sate and whose parents lived for some time in Indonesia, gave assurances such incidents would not happen again under his administration. “In fact, we are expecting President Yudhoyono to visit us next year,” he said.

About the Moluccan activists, Retno said everybody has the right to keep on dreaming. “But the question is whether or not it is realistic.”

She said relations between the two countries are getting better, with both sides understanding and trusting each other.

Retno also said the close connections between the people of the two countries meant Indonesia and the Netherlands could not afford to let relations cool.

Currently, 10 percent of the Netherlands’ 17 million population has direct or indirect links to Indonesia. And every year, Retno said, thousands of Indonesians travel to the Netherlands as tourists or for business, with the Dutch doing likewise.

Aleksius said fewer and fewer people in Indonesia see the Netherlands as a former colonial power.

“I don’t think it matters much now. People are becoming pragmatic, seeking concrete benefits and looking forward instead of being bothered by the past,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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Papua to build four reference hospitals

The regional government of Papua Province will build four major national reference hospitals respectively in Biak, Nabire, Wamena and Merauke districts in 2014.

Head of the Regional Development Planning Board (Bapedda) of Papua Muhammad Abud Musaad said here on Thursday that the four hospitals would be build in the four districts based on regional customary divisions.

The placement of the hospitals in the regional customary divisions is expected to reach local people with fast, quality and modern facilities in providing them with health services.

“The district governments only provided land for the construction of the hospitals while the funds will be provided by the provincial government,” Musaad said.

He said that so far the people of Papua who suffered from certain diseases should be referred to hospitals outside Papua province.

With the presence of the hospital, patients who suffered from certain diseases could be handled immediately, he said.

“In order to provide the hospitals with health equipment, the provincial government will ask assistance from the central government through the ministry of health,” he said.

In the meantime, the National Family Planning and Population Board (BKKBN) said last week the maternal mortality rate in Papua Province was still high.

“The local government should give serious attention to the high maternal mortality rate. It should protect Papuan women and maintain the healthiness of their reproduction,” Julianto Witjaksono, BKKBN deputy for family planning and reproduction health, said.

The organization of cabinet ministers wives (SIKIB) has also visited the Wulukubun village, Keerom District, Papua to observe public facilities and family planning services there.

Julianto Witjaksono said that about 500 mothers died of bleeding during labor every year in the district. It was also difficult for officials to provide family planning services for native Papuan women.

“Of the many family planning service options, they prefer to use the pills, injection and implant methods,” he said.

BKKBN Head for Papua Nerius Auparay said meanwhile a new strategy was needed to introduce the family planning program to Papuan natives.

Source: ANTARA News

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Rationale given for NZ community policing assistance to Indonesia

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully

The New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully

The New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, has defended a US$5 million commitment to a three-year community policing programme in eastern Indonesia, including Papua and West Papua.

The programme, which follows a pilot in 2009/10, is to be funded by the New Zealand aid programme and implemented by New Zealand police.

Murray McCully says his government wants to encourage police and others in authority in the Papua region of Indonesia to understand good commmunity policing initiatives.

“The whole basis of community policing is training people to be able to use their authority in a way that is going to engender respect from the locals. It is precisely the expertise that New Zealand imparts through the community policing project,” he said.

“It’s simply an area that New Zealand has had a long-term interest in providing assistance in. We believe that to the extent that there have been difficulties in relation to Papua, those are best dealt with by encouraging police and others in authority to understand good community policing initiatives. And that’s a capability that we’re providing through the Indonesian government at the moment.”

“It’s one of the great aspects of New Zealand police that we are world-class at community policing and that’s something we’re doing in West Papua,” he explained.

Though the program has been criticized with the Green Party saying New Zealand should instead put resources into facilitating dialogue between the West Papuans and Jakarta, McCully says that he is more broadly aware of a lot of work that is going on in Indonesia at the moment to improve that overall environment and to improve communication in relation to West Papua.

He thinks that the Green Party and others who want to go pointing fingers at difficulties in West Papua need to get themselves updated on the significant amount of work that is being done by parties in Indonesia, in West Papua and Papua to achieve better understanding and to try and improve overall relationships.

“There’s a lot of good work being done, and I want to see the New Zealand government play its part in reinforcing that work, rather than simply standing back, as the critics do, and trying to identify problems,” he said.

Source: Radio New Zealand International

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Indonesia serious about advancing prosperity in Papua

The Government of Indonesia is fully aware of the problems existing in its easternmost province of Papua and has taken steps to reduce the gap and eliminate the feelings of injustice felt by the residents of the province.

The scarcely populated regions in the province do not seem to be at par with the rest of the country in terms of economic and social development, but the government is serious about advancing prosperity there.

During a joint press conference held with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the Merdeka Palace on Monday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stated that the government was sincere and serious about advancing prosperity in Papua.

“To the Australian Prime Minister, I say that the Indonesian policy to manage Papua is very clear, for we take the approach of welfare, justice and democracy,” the President said.

The head of state further pointed out that Papua was the region to which the highest development funds had been allocated in Indonesia, although there were local and structural problems that had to be managed well.

“Indonesia is a democratic country, and the problems in Papua are part of democracy because the region is an integral part of Indonesia. Indonesia`s sovereignty covers Papua as well,” Yudhoyono noted.

On the occasion, Yudhoyono also extended his gratitude for the Australian government`s statement regarding the country`s respect for Indonesia`s sovereignty.

“One thing is clear that Indonesia will take full responsibility to overcome the problems in Papua properly and wisely,” he went on.

Meanwhile, the Australian Prime Minister also appeased Indonesian sensitivities by taking an unusually tough line against protesters in Australia agitating for independence of the Indonesian territory of Papua.

“The government of Australia takes a very dim view… of anyone seeking to use our country as a platform for grandstanding against Indonesia. We will do everything that we possibly can to discourage this and prevent this,” Abbott said.

He also the admired Indonesian Government`s efforts to improve the autonomy and life of the people of West Papua.

The Australian Prime Minister stated that he believed that the people in West Papua could lead a better life and have a better future as an integral part of Indonesian nation.

The people of Papua were yet to enjoy the fruits of development and therefore felt isolated, Velix Wanggai, President Yudhoyono`s special aide for regional development and autonomy had said in August.

He added that the feeling of injustice with regards to economic and social gaps had been further exploited by the outlawed Free Papua Organisation (OPM), which had incited a fight for independence.

According to Wanggai, backwardness, disappointment, and dissatisfaction of the people of Papua had served as ammunition to incite resistance against the government.

However, Marinus Yaung, an international law and political observer at the Cenderawasih University (Uncen) opined that a peaceful dialogue between Papua and Jakarta was the best possible solution for the problems of Papua.

“We agree that Papua-Jakarta Dialogue will help solve the problem in Papua,” Yaung said in Jayapura recently.

He noted that the problem in Papua was not limited to economic and social development; but was a political problem that had to be solved through peaceful dialogue with Jakarta.

Meanwhile, a hearing of the People`s Assemblies of Papua`s two provinces–Papua and West Papua–at the end of July had indicated that the majority of people in Papua were in favor of a dialogue.

Therefore, the Director of the Democracy Alliance for Papua (ALDP) Latifah Anum Siregar said that all stakeholders in the region should support the Papua People`s Assembly (MRP) in recommending a Papua-Jakarta dialogue immediately.

“The regional administrations of Papua and West Papua, the regional legislative assemblies, and people of the two provinces should support MRP`s recommendations,” added Siregar.

Meanwhile, Manokwari-based Institute of Research, Analysis and Development for Legal Aid (LP3BH) Director Yan Christian Warinussy had noted in August that the Papuan people had repeatedly urged Jakarta to open a peaceful, neutral and transparent dialog, facilitated by a third party in a neutral place.

Such a dialog had long been called for, but the Papua People`s Council (MRP) and West Papua People`s Council (MRPB) had only shown appreciation for the call and given their recommendations now, he said.

“Therefore, LP3BH of Manokwari, which serves as an advocate for human rights in Papua, had urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono not to close the door for a proposed Papua-Jakarta dialog in 2013,” Warinussy stated.

He said the proposed dialog should be held immediately, adding there was no reason for a delay.

Warinussy further stated that so far no response or appreciation had been shown despite the offer to facilitate a dialog with a system universally acceptable by the Papua Peace Networks.

As a result of the hearings held by official institutions, such as the MRP and MRPB, Jakarta was expected to react favorably to a proposed Papua-Jakarta dialog before the general elections in 2014, he added.

“A Papua-Jakarta dialog should be held to honor the aspirations of the 99 percent majority of the Papuan people,” he pointed out.

The MRP-MRPB hearing, which evaluated the implementation of the Law on Special Autonomy in the two provinces, had issued a number of recommendations including the holding of a Papua-Jakarta Dialog.

Supporters of the move are being drawn from youth organizations in Papua for immediate implementation of the proposed dialog.

Source: ANTARA News

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A Remote Education Plan in Papua

The Lippo Group has established a partnership with JSAT, Japan’s largest telecommunication satellite company, to build telecommunication networks in Papua in hopes of giving residents in the province’s remote areas better access to Internet and educational television programs.

Lippo Group chief executive James T. Riady said that education was the core solution to the various issues faced by the people of Papua and that the telecommunication network built by the partnership would provide basic infrastructure needed to boost access to education in the region.

“Indonesia has been independent for more than 65 years, yet there remains plenty of places that have yet to be touched by our national development efforts. As we can see, regions in Papua, especially remote areas such as Mamit and others, need infrastructure and attention in education,” James said during a visit to the Sekolah Lentera Harapan (SLH) in Sentani, Papua, last Tuesday.

JSAT has 16 satellites in Asia and has been in partnership with the Lippo Group previously. Lippo Star is the product of this partnership.

“They are willing to help in Papua, especially in the installation of VSAT [very small aperture terminals] in schools in remote areas, so that they would become connected. They provide Internet as well as the best educational programs in the world for students here to watch,” James said.

Three schools in Papua have been selected to be part of the pilot project in the partnership, namely SLH in Kampung Harapan, Kecamatan Sentani, Sekolah Papua Harapan (SPH) in the Doyo Baru village of Jayapura, as well as the SLH in Mamit Village in the Tolikara district.

In the future, the program will be aimed at other schools in remote areas, mainly those located in mountainous regions.

“The VSAT will be installed in one or two months, not just in Sentani but also in Mamit. The models will be found in two school in Sentani and one in Mamit, if the concept goes well,” James said.

Shinji Takada, chief executive of JSAT, said that they had put initial efforts to improve the quality of education and the school’s facility prior to constructing the connectivity network.

“We have sent teachers with a new concept, where education is not only offered through knowledge but also the learning process. Our teachers here are graduates of UPH [Universitas Pelita Harapan], and they have come from different parts of Indonesia to teach, with the support of local government,” Takada said.

Paul Wetipo, principal of SPH said the installation of a telecommunication network would be useful to teachers.

“This [VSAT] will open up access to the outside world, especially because education is something that continuously evolves. Accessing the internet will offer teachers more knowledge and they will also be able to guide students more effectively,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Globe

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Papua: Working Together for Prosperity

By Hyginus Hardoyo === In Ogenetan, a tiny village located in Iniyandit, one of the more remote districts of Boven Digoel regency in Papua, residents recently donned their best traditional attire to welcome several guests from Jakarta.

Some, including several children, had painted their bodies black and white with makeup and danced to songs and chants as soon as the guests exited their cars. A group of women also started to dance at the other end, in front of the main building of the kampung, which is located deep in the rainforest near Indonesia’s border with Papua New Guinea.

As a group of young men started to play music using guitars and a plastic water drums, girls sashaying in grass skirts invited the guests to pass through.

“This is our way to give guests a warm welcome,” Yan Karowa, the local district head, said. “The dances and songs show our hospitality to anybody who is willing to come here.” Everybody was happy whenever guests visited the kampung, he said.

Processing: The cooperative sold about 1.5 tons of good-quality rubber sheets for about Rp 15,000 (US$1.33) a kilogram, described as a fair price given current conditions.

Processing: The cooperative sold about 1.5 tons of good-quality rubber sheets for about Rp 15,000 (US$1.33) a kilogram, described as a fair price given current conditions.

Ogenetan is inhabited by 57 families comprising 306 people, who rely principally on rubber farming, introduced to Papua in the early 1970s by Christian missionaries, as their main source of income.

Nearly every resident of the kampong was on hand at the hall, which houses the Nonggup Cooperative that they established.

People wanted to watch as the cooperative’s representatives stake a deal with PT Montelo, a private company. About one-and-a-half tons of good-quality rubber sheets were bought by the company for about
Rp 15,000 (US$1.33) a kilogram, described as a fair price given current conditions.

Living in isolation about 350 kilometers south of Jayapura, those who live in Ogenetan find that economic development comes very slowly.

Basic foodstuffs were previously exorbitantly expensive. Residents had to venture to places such as Tanah Merah, the capital of Boven Digoel, about five hours away. The journey had to be made by foot; the roads were almost impassable.

The hardships drove Yan Karowa and Riswanto from the NGO Wahana Visi Indonesia to establish the Nonggup Cooperative. “How can local people enjoy the fruits of their labor if they are burdened with huge debts and are unfavorably dependent on middlemen?” Riswanto said.

The local residents were at first reluctant to found a cooperative, due to previous failures, when money collected from the members was misused or taken away. However, through the work of the NGO, local residents became aware of how a well-organized and transparent cooperative could help the community.

The cooperative was established in 2009 with just 29 people who pitched in Rp 8 million for its operating capital. Through the cooperative, the local residents reached an agreement with PT Montelo to sell the rubber sheets.

Realizing that a cooperative could work and generate profits, members of the kampung joined the cooperative in increasing numbers. Currently, more than 130 people from Ogenetan have signed up and representative offices have been opened in the neighboring districts of Mindiptana and Arimop.

“The establishment of the cooperative enables us to easily communicate on the need to improve quality of rubber production from here,” Widia from PT Montelo said.

With total annual turnover of over Rp 300 million, a shop was opened under the supervision of the cooperative, providing affordable basic necessities and other agricultural produce to members. The shop is managed by Maria Wometa.

The mother of six says that business has been so good that she has been able to send one of her kids to study at a university in Merauke.

Bruno Etmop, the head of the cooperative, said that the cooperative booked a net profit of about Rp 23 million in its first year. By the third year, members were able to share a annual dividend of Rp 7 million.

Aloysius Bayub, a cooperative member, said he earned an average of Rp 1.5 million a month from the sheets made from sap from his 1.5-hectare rubber plantation. “It is enough to support my daily expenses, including paying the tuition fees for my youngest child at elementary school,” said Bayub, the father of three, whose wife has just died due to illnesses.

Bruno said that the cooperative’s rapid growth could not be separated from the discipline of its members in playing by the established rules. ”Each member of the cooperative who has debts has understood that the debt must be repaid in installments, together with interest.”

The money collected from the members was deposited in a BPR rural bank, whose officers came to Ogenetan once a month.

Backed by skilled assistants with a basic knowledge of management, Bruno said that he was confident that the cooperative could expand even further.

However small, this joint effort has contributed greatly to the local residents. A spirit for advancement has arisen from province of Papua in Indonesia.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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Govt urged to engage Papua community in implementing policy

The central government and the parliament should actively engage every community elements in Papua and West Papua provinces in implementing every policy, including the special autonomy plus, a former minister said.

“Every central government policy that will be applied to Papua must be based on the aspirations of local communities as well as experts. The central government should not forget the important role played by community,” Former State Minister of Regional Autonomy Ryaas Rasyid said here on Thursday (01/08).

He said if special autonomy plus would be implemented at Papua province and West Papua, the central government certainly needs a new legal basis or has to amend the law on special autonomy to Papua No.21/2001 and West Papua No.35/2008.

“It has to be assured that the House should invite leaders and also representatives of community in Papua to formulate the policy, which is aimed at giving welfare to people,” he said.

Reflecting on previous special autonomy that has been implemented in Papua province since 2001 and West Papua since 2008, he said the central government has to improve many things, including evaluation of the transparency in the use of regional budget by regional administrations.

“And you also have to question the Papua and West Papua province administrations on how they used the huge amount of budget given by central government ,” he said

However, Rasyid said he has seen chances for the development of Papua and West Papua with the special autonomy plus.

He explained that in the special autonomy plus the government needs to strengthen authority at provincial administrations and rises budget allocated in the region while conducting proper monitoring on its implementation.

Rasyid said through increasing powers at province levels, the local administration could be stimulated to seek initiatives in making programs to boost development and prosperity in both provinces.

“In the context of government, creativity could be created after authority is given,” he said.

For instance, he said Papua and West Papua provinces were hampered by lack of authority to conduct a program to invite foreign investment because the central government is influencing the policy dominantly.

“As we know, the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) still rules the policy of investment in Papua,” he said.

In addition to that, other important aspects that should be prioritized after special autonomy plus is implemented is education.

Source: ANTARA News

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