To protect, recognize, and strengthen Customary Law Communities (MHA) in coastal areas and small islands, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) is holding the 2023 National Indigenous Forum on 15-16 December 2023 in Yogyakarta. This activity, supported by Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), has the theme "Synergy and Optimizing the Role of Traditional Law Communities and Stakeholders in the Management of Coastal Areas and Small Islands."
"MHA who live in coastal areas and small islands are communities vulnerable to various changes in environmental conditions. This region has a high potential for marine and fisheries resources. This National Indigenous Forum is expected to become a forum and means of communication between institutions and MHA to support government policies in managing coastal areas and small islands. MHA supports the KKP's priority agenda, especially monitoring and controlling coastal areas and small islands. "The MHA management area is a form of other effective area-based conservation measures (OECM) and is encouraged to support the target of expanding conservation areas by 30% by 2045," explained the Director General of Maritime and Marine Spatial Management, Victor Gustaf Manoppo.
Victor added that support and strengthening for MHA who live in coastal areas and small islands is necessary so that MHA has competitiveness with other communities, can manage their territory well, and can become an essential part of global issues that continue to develop.
Mutually supportive cooperation between stakeholders from government, NGOs, academics, and the MHA community is necessary for the progress of MHA development. "Several forms of strengthening MHA that have been carried out by the government together with partners include strengthening MHA institutions, one of which is through the formation of an MHA management unit that focuses on all forms of resource management in MHA management areas, training and technical guidance on resource and management management. Alternative livelihoods and economic development, facilitating partnerships and networks," explained the Director of Coastal and Small Island Utilization (P4K) KKP Muhammad Yusuf.
The National Indigenous Forum is also used to share learning between stakeholders to strengthen MHA. "YKAN, as a development partner, continues to support the effectiveness and optimization of the involvement and empowerment of MHA in managing coastal areas and small islands. "Management of potential marine resources and coastal areas needs to be optimized by applying the principles of local wisdom, customs, and conservation," explained YKAN Bird's Head Seascape Senior Manager Lukas Rumetna in an interactive discussion session.
Lukas then gave an example of the collaboration between local wisdom and science in sasi management carried out by YKAN and MHA partners in Southwest Papua Province, providing ecological, social, and economic benefits.
Hopefully, this National Indigenous Forum can have a broad and sustainable impact. "This activity is expected to be a means of education, outreach, awareness, and publication regarding the existence of Indonesian MHA at the national and global levels and the strategic position of the MHA community about supporting government policies and responding to various global issues that are developing in the field of management of coastal areas and small islands. ," said the MHA KKP Working Team Head, Mohammad Ismail.
The Chairman of MHA Werur Junus Rumansara also conveyed a similar thing. "With this forum, we, as MHA representatives, can convey information, aspirations, and challenges experienced by MHA in coastal areas and small islands. "We hope that the government and stakeholders will continue to accompany MHA to support sustainable nature management," concluded Yunus.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.